Waco, Texas, has never gotten its just due. The larger metropolises in the state are always on people’s minds. Houston has its space center. Austin is the capital and home of the main branch of the University of Texas. Dallas even has its own television series.
Nobody seems to care much about Waco. Yet, this city of 130,000, people has much to offer.
Waco is a beautiful city with an interesting history and bright future.
Thomas M. Duke was the first non-Native American to visit the area along the Brazos River that would become known as the city of Waco. In 1824, he explored the area and ran into a tribe of Native Americans, known as the Wacos.
After seeing the green trees and fertile land along the river bank, Duke sent a message to Stephen F. Austin informing him of the richness of the area. Austin, the leading Texas colonizer, planned to attack the Wacos in 1825 but decided instead to initiate a treaty with them, allowing settlers to enter the region.
Ever concerned about education, city leaders brought Baylor University, founded in 1845, to Waco from Independence in 1866. To this day, Baylor remains a central part of the community, bringing noted academics to the area and driving economic growth through an influx of student dollars.
Also in 1866, the American settlers realized their vision of building a bridge across the Brazos River. The Waco Bridge Company planned a 475-foot suspension bridge. In 1870, the town celebrated the completion of this engineering feat that conquered the mighty Brazos.
To a degree, Waco remained out of the minds of most people until 1993. Then, on February 28, of that year, a local religious group, known as the Branch Davidians, engaged in a shootout with federal agents. After fifty days of failed negotiations, seventy-four people, including the religious leader David Koresh, died in a fire that ended the siege.
A Bright Future
Waco is poised for positive growth. Baylor should continue to fund public policy research that will help leaders administer the metropolitan area. Also, high-technology firms may increasingly relocate to the area; especially if residents continue to purchase Waco Texas Internet Service from leading providers.