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810 South Fourth Street
Waco, TX 76706

(254) 753-5166

A foundation that preserves and showcases four historic house museums and hosts multiple educational opportunities throughout the year.


Celebrate the Fall Equinox with Some Pumpkin

Historic Waco

pumpkin ice cream pie.jpg

Today marks the fall equinox or the official start of autumn. You can now legally drink your pumpkin spice latte with abandon. Americans have long had a love affair with the orange squash. One of the first pumpkin recipes was printed in the early 1670s. The recipe was similar to today’s mashed sweet potatoes. Diced pumpkin was cooked in a pot for a day and then mashed with butter and spices. Colonial women continued to find new ways to prepare pumpkin when in the 1800s sweet pumpkin dishes began to appear.

“Kitchen Delights from Then and Now,” a collection of recipes that was published by Historic Waco Foundation in 2001, contains a number of pumpkin recipes, including this one for pumpkin ice cream pie.


½ gallon vanilla ice cream

1 16oz. can of pumpkin

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups crushed gingersnaps

Soften ice cream. Mix pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix with ice cream. Line pan with crushed gingersnaps and top with ice cream mixture. Garnish with more crumbs and freeze. Add a dollop of whipped cream before eating.

The Hollywood Glamour of the 1930s can be Seen in Today's Evening Wear

Historic Waco

September means fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan. This is the time of year when designers release their new looks for the upcoming season, in this case spring 2018. But very little in fashion design is truly innovative. Looks are borrowed from past decades. For example, look at the evening dresses worn at most formal affairs and you will notice that swooping backless dresses are very much in vogue. What might surprise you is that the backless look was all the rage in the 1930s.

This 1931 Chanel gown, which was worn by Gloria Swanson, would not be out of place at a formal event today. (photo from Musée du Costume et de la Dentelle).

This 1931 Chanel gown, which was worn by Gloria Swanson, would not be out of place at a formal event today. (photo from Musée du Costume et de la Dentelle).

After flapper look of the 1920s, which celebrated a straight, boyish figure, the clothing styles of the 30s once again were designed for curves. Although Paris designers, such as Chanel, still wielded great influence in U.S. design, the fabulous fashions of Hollywood and such stars as Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers and Carole Lombard were even more instrumental in determining the styles of the decade. The backless gown became a signature of the era.

The start of World War II saw another change in women's fashion, including innovative designs from American fashion houses and rationing which reduced the amount of clothes purchased. 

Football Season is Here! How well do you know the history of the game?

Historic Waco

Football season is here! We love this time of year, especially cheering for our favorite college teams. But do you know much about the history of American football? I consulted to find these tidbits about the game. 

Throwing the football first occurred in 1895 and the forward pass was formally adopted as a legal play in 1906.

In 1905, more than 432 U.S. cities had some form of an American football team.

The halftime show emerged in 1907 in Champaign, Illinois.

In 1909, a touchdown worth 6 points and a field goal worth 3 points was adopted.

Some 350 schools suspended football entirely for the duration of World War II. These included Harvard, Princeton, Oregon, Stanford, Florida, and Mississippi State.

Jack Lummus, who played for Baylor, received the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for valor during WWII. Photo courtesy of TSHA.

Jack Lummus, who played for Baylor, received the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for valor during WWII. Photo courtesy of TSHA.

Twenty-three NFL players would lose their lives during World War II. Two professional football players—Maurice Britt and Jack Lummus (of Baylor)—both earned the Medal of Honor.

John Hill Westbrook was first African American student to play varsity football in the Southwest Conference when he entered the fourth quarter during the Baylor vs. Syracuse game on September 10, 1966.

Alabama has won the most national championships since 1935, with 10. Notre Dame is second with 8.

Baylor's Bob Darden to Discuss Black Gospel Music at Fall Lecture Aug. 24

Historic Waco

Baylor’s Bob Darden is renowned throughout the U.S. for his work on the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. A digital collection of the genre, which can be found at Baylor’s Moody Library, was part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Bob will share his expertise on this fascinating topic at “Music That Matters: The Enduring Power of Freedom Songs,” at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum. The free lecture is hosted by the Historic Waco Foundation.

“Black gospel music is significant in Waco for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that Jules Bledsoe, the noted African-American opera singer, was born in Waco and returned to his hometown regularly,” Bob said. “Bledsoe, though best known as the original singer of “Old Man River’ from ‘Showboat’ on Broadway, was a ground-breaking performer and was the first black man to sing with a host of major symphonies and operas in the United States.

“He was also instrumental in that he continued to perform the old ‘protest spirituals’ throughout the 1940s and sang them regularly on national radio programs at a time when that just wasn't done.”

Bob also points to the fact that Waco was the home of Word Records Inc., at one time the largest religious music label in the world. Word had a number of the best-known gospel artists on its rosters, who visited town regularly, including the legendary Shirley Caesar. Additionally, even before Word, Waco was a regular stop on the Gospel Highway, with major artists singing at St. James United Methodist Church and New Hope Baptist Church, he said.

“Growing up in the Air Force -- which was integrated with its founding -- I was surrounded by the gospel music of my friends and their families,” Bob said. “It became the soundtrack of my life. I was gospel music editor for Billboard Magazine for nearly 15 years, and I've been writing about it for a long time.”

The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project is the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, catalogue, scan, digitize and someday make available America’s fast-vanishing legacy of vinyl from gospel’s golden age.

Bob’s recent books include “Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume II: From the Sit-Ins to Resurrection City” and “Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume I: The Influence of Black Sacred Music on the Civil Rights Movement.” He also is the author of “People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music.”

A dynamic teacher, Bob has won numerous awards at Baylor, including the 2016 Outstanding Professor for College of Arts & Sciences for Teaching, the 2016 Diversity Award (with the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project) and the 2011 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year honor.

What About Waco Documentary Premieres July 6-7

Historic Waco

Waco has gotten hip with visitors streaming in to shop, dine and tour various landmarks. But how many folks, even current residents, know the fascinating history of the city. A new documentary, What About Waco, will explore well-known topics from a new light. The documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6, and Friday, July 7, at the Masonic Grand Lodge at 715 Columbus Ave. A reception with cash bar will begin at 6:15 p.m. The evening is presented by the Historic Waco Foundation and KWTX-TV.

What About Waco was written and directed by Chris Charles Scott, a Baylor alumnus who was awarded the 2016 Documentary of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. The documentary has four separate episodes that focus on particular aspects of Waco’s history. 

“I was nervous about not finding topics but anxious about if they would be interesting to Wacoans,” Chris said. “I was worried that some of the topics we selected, like the Bridge and the 1953 tornado, were played out in the city. But digging through the history, I found that most residents knew surface-level facts about the city’s most notorious and infamous events but there were these beautifully intriguing stories that wove themselves through these topics.” 

“A Bridge over Troubled Water” is the dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Waco Suspension Bridge. This episode will begin with the story of Waco’s founding along the Brazos, investigate the city’s decades long “lover’s quarrel” with that river, and celebrate and indict the Waco heroes and villains who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the bridge.

Part 1 and 2 of “About Three Years in Waco,” looks at the end of the Gilded Era that marked some of Waco’s greatest and most horrific times.  Between 1916 and 1918, the community witnessed the construction of a massive army base, the end of legalized prostitution, the public extra-legal lynching of a teenager, and a sky full of revolutionary Jenny biplanes. This intriguing episode will spotlight, sex, murder and war, three things looming over Waco during a pivotal time.

The documentary concludes with “A Mighty Wind.” The story of the devastating 1953 Waco that killed many and ravaged the city of Waco is not unfamiliar to the town’s residents. But if you think you know all about the tornado, think again. A Mighty Wind will the hidden stories found in the rubble of the storm’s destruction.

“Each episode has controversy and tension,” Chris said. “This was deliberate in that we did not literally white wash this town’s darkest incidents. This is not to shine Waco in an unpleasant light, but to actually shine a light for Wacoans to address some of these tensions that still linger in the city today. My hope is that this series, like the suspension bridge attempted to do, will bring the two sides of Waco closer to understanding one another.”

Chris relied on several folks well-versed in either local history or film making. MCC professor Bradley Turner, an MCC professor, served as head consulting historian on this project. 

“I chose to join this project because I believe that it provides a fresh insight into both popular and unpopular historical topics, through a highly interactive medium, which connects to our city and helps its people experience its colorful past in order to further appreciate its current renaissance,” he said.

What About Waco was produced by local businessmen Hobby Howell and Matthew McLeod.

"Waco's diverse culture and rich history have always fascinated me. Like many Wacoans, I've been saddened by recent media coverage which largely ignores what makes Waco so great. When the opportunity presented itself, I was happy to support a project which cast a positive light on Waco and sought to tell the interesting stories that made Waco what it is today," Matthew said.

Hobby echoed this sentiment. "Waco's history is rich and has been told in different ways. As a fourth-generation Wacoan, I could not pass up the opportunity to help tell stories of our past with such a talented documentary film maker who brings a fresh perspective and new information that his research has revealed," he said.

Tickets to the documentary premiere are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Downtown Waco in the 1940s was a vibrant place. (photo courtesy of the Texas Collection).

Downtown Waco in the 1940s was a vibrant place. (photo courtesy of the Texas Collection).

Texas during World War I

Historic Waco

Uncover hidden truths about Texan’s lives during WW1 in our blog post, “Texas during WWI.” Then, join us on August 25th,  2016 at 6:30 pm to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1 with our free fall lecture presented by Steven Sielaff. He will present a multitude of first hand, recorded accounts from Waco citizens who lived through the Great War that detail the many changes and challenges the conflict brought to our area. 

How to Make a Piggy Bank

Historic Waco

After a fun and successful week of Summer Camp, we wanted to share one of our favorite crafts with you! The campers loved using their imagination and creativity to create their own piggy banks! Thursday our campers explored  Economics and Agriculture. They enjoyed a petting zoo, made their own money, and created duct tape wallets. By integrating these themes together, our campers learned how agriculture and economics go together like peanut butter and jelly! We thought a piggy bank would address both topics in a cute and fun way for the campers and by the end they learned about saving money and facts about pigs!  Below are the instructions on how to create your  very own piggy bank with your kiddos out of a water bottle! A perfect activity for the summer!! 

(Note: For this craft we used Craft Smart Satin Acrylic Paint in the color Pink Chiffon..We found Acrylic paint worked the best when applying the paint to the water bottle)

Fixing Up Waco One Landmark at a Time: The Silos

Historic Waco

    If you don’t know who Chip and Joanna Gaines are then you must live under a rock or have no connection to the outside world. Chip and Joanna Gaines are the hosts of HGTV’s television show Fixer Upper. Over the past few years they have charmed their way into the hearts and homes of America with their amazing, head turning house transformations. Their comedic and heart-warming personalities each week make you feel like you have gained two new best friends and give you the feeling like they are visiting you for an hour in your own living room. 

    In their process of transforming one home at a time, they have also managed to transform the city of Waco during this process. With Magnolia Market being a major Waco tourist attraction, in addition to the other components of their brand drawing people in from all over the world (and yes I mean world); the Gaines continue to bring new life, imagination, and inspiration to the community. In the spring of 2015, Chip and Joanna undertook one of their biggest fixer uppers known to date; the renovation of the Silos, located at the corner of Webster and 8th Street, as their new location of Magnolia Market. With this new business venture that ranges from their store front, food trucks, open lawn and games concept, and their soon to be bakery, Flour, opening this spring; the Silos have become one of the most recognizable structures and locations to not only the community of Waco, but everyone who passes through. 

    When people visit the Silos, what they might not know is that Magnolia is not the beginning for the Silos; but a mere continuation of its own long-lasting history in Waco. Behind the rust and the chipping paint lies the story of what is often times referred to as the “white gold” of the South and how the buildings the Gaines Family have incorporated into their story, have their own historic tale dating back to before the 20th century, allowing the stories of our past to be in our present. 

Texas Collection

    During the 1900’s, in the state of Texas, cottonseed was the second cash crop in comparison to lumber. The benefits of cotton not only helped the state of Texas but allowed Waco to flourish after some difficult times in recent past years. Before the Great Depression, Waco was known as the “King of Cotton.” It not only raised the economy but it also provided employment and at the time put Waco on the map.    In 1910, J.T. Davis took an empty lot of land and established the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company. This complex went from being dirt and gravel and transformed into an economic explosion. The location for a company like this was ideal. This open area of land allowed an entire complex to be constructed along with having the railroad adjacent to the property bringing in even more shipments of cotton from local gins; increasing production, money, and business for Waco. 

 The Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company employed over 75 men and purchased thousands of tons of cottonseed from local farmers providing opportunities for the community. The complex and business continued to flourish until the Great Depression which began the decline of the cotton industry. From an open lot in 1893 to an entire complex consisting of two 120 ft. metal seed storage tanks, an office, warehouses, and all the other necessary structures seen in 1926; the Silos transformed the Waco landscape. Between a fire in the 1940’s and a flood which lead to damage; the business changed ownership during the 1960’s. During the 1990’s, the Silos remained vacant until the Gaines purchased it as part of their own business vision. 

    With the help of Sanborn maps, which are Fire Insurance Maps used during the late 19th and early 20th century, we can see how the area has transitioned over time.  Sanborn maps are like a giant puzzle. It takes a bird’s eye view approach of a town or city showing the footprints of structures and the layout of a city in a particular year. There are symbols on each structure which can tell you materials the structure was built out of, its use of space, and other important components used by fire insurance companies at the time. Now, during the present day, it allows you to examine the same area over a span of time indicating how the structures and areas have changed. By using these symbols, it helps to examine the overall building footprint of each structure and its transformation overtime. It enables you to play detective for a day and put the puzzle pieces together which can teach you the history of not only a particular structure but your community as well. 

     For the Silos, we have three maps that were examined; 1893, 1899, and 1926. Based on the maps (shown below) it shows that between 1893 and 1899 the structure on the corner lot (which today is being used as the upcoming location for Magnolia’s bakery Flour), was actually built in the 1890’s. The symbols on the map indicate that the structure's original use was a store built of brick with a shingle roof. If you have drove by this building recently, you might notice that construction has already begun on this building.  Joanna has brought the structure back to it’s original roofing material, the shingle roof. This allows the structure to be updated to today’s standards but still maintains the character defining features of the original structure.  The structure was one story high and constructed with reinforced concrete frame, columns, and beams; based on the 1899 Sanborn map. It also appears that part of the current Magnolia Market adjacent to S. 7th St. was also partially constructed during that time as well. It’s original use was a Planing Mill and Wood Working Machinery with the name The Burr-Lake Wood Manufacturing Company, as indicated on the map. When you jump to the 1926 map it is evident that a lot of construction and change has occurred since 1899 up until 1926. 

    What we can gather is that the two 120 ft. Silos were constructed during this time span of 1899 to 1926. The current Magnolia Market structure was built to the footprint we are familiar with today and was used as a “house” designated as a warehouse. It is listed as being a tile building with concrete pilasters. The front part of the complex where the store front is was 2-3 stories high at the time and the back part of the market was 1-2 stories. Where the games lawn, food trucks, and garden area are now located, originally had two other structures as part of the complex but have been torn down since the 1926 Sanborn map. Magnolia “Flour” during this time had a drive or passage way located on the left side of the structure (which has since been torn down) and was designated as an office with some other additions added on the back.  

    With the help of resources such as Sanborn maps, it allows us to see how these Waco landmarks have evolved but, at the same time, have not really changed that much over time. The beauty behind it is when people from the community and outside visitors, come to Magnolia Market and go inside to marvel at Chip and Joanna’s store and bakery; they can know that they are sitting within a piece of Waco history. And with the help of the Gaines, they have taken these historic buildings and brought them back to life again allowing people to enjoy it in a new found light. 


My House is Historic...Now What?

Historic Waco

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Do you live in an historic house? Well, if you answered yes to this question you will understand that it is always fun and exciting to learn about the history of your house and the people who lived in it prior to you. Often times when homeowners have an historic property, it is important for it to receive recognition regarding it's historical authenticity. When you are at this point, most likely you will hear the term "National Register of Historic Places." That sounds good right? To have your house on that list.  Sign me up! But wait! It's not that simple. What is it and what does it entail? Here are some guidelines and tips to see if your property belongs on the National Register!

The National Register of Historic Places was created in 1966 under the National Historic Preservation Act which identifies historically significant houses that are worthy of preservation. Today, there are more than 90,000 properties on this list and this list continues to grow. However the process to get a property on this list is a long and engaging process. One of the major components of getting your property listed is reviewing the significance of the structure and where it is located. Significance can be measured in 3 different ways: 1. Architectural Significance 2. Person (Did an historical figure live or visit the property) 3. Historical Event (Did a historical event happen here or near the location of the house) Each state has a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) that reviews all the information within a nomination. Each SHPO reviews the nominations of the property based on the information provided by the community or individual whom submits the nomination. Depending on the significance of your property sometimes its the other features associated with the property such as surrounding structures and landscape that can be appropriate for the National Register too! Don't focus on the small..Think of the BIG PICTURE! 

Where to Start: Guidelines in Creating Your Own Nomination

  • Start at your SHPO. Often times these offices have previously collected information about your property which might provide a jumping off point to start your own research. 
  • Get the guidelines for creating a National Register nomination but speak to your SHPO, they might have additional requirements or be able to give you some helpful assistance. 
  • Go to your town hall to dig up some information about the property and land your house is on. 
  • Look at Sanborn maps! Sanborn maps are such a useful tool that most people are unaware of. Sanborn Maps are Fire Insurance maps that show the property outline along with the structure. They were often times upgraded overtime which allows you to not only see how your structure has changed but the area around it too! This can also be a great tool to know certain materials that were used, if the structure was always a house or even a store, and how the house's footprint developed. 
  • Consult with a preservation consultant who will be able to tell you what type of information you need for your nomination. This will help spearhead the type of information you will be searching for. 
  • Find historic images! These are often times tricky to find but can be gold if you do come across them! They are great to add in your nomination and can often times give a lot of clues for the description part of the nomination for what might be original or added at a later date.
  • Look at other nominations that have been done to see the language used as well as what type of information was included. This will help guide you during the process! 



It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Historic Waco

It's that time of year again when everyone is getting their houses decorated and festive just in time for Christmas. Although decorations have changed since the Victorian era partly due to style, technology, and overall expenses however, there are some elements that remain the same from the Victorian Era. Decorations during this time were limited due to restrictions such as electricity eliminating the element of lights. However, people were still interested in having their trees sparkle so real tapered candles were used. Decorations for the tree were typically things that people had in their house that could be used as decorations. In earlier Victorian times, often times the tree could have been decorated with gifts that the children were receiving for Christmas. They also would decorate with items such as popcorn garland, cranberries, gingerbread cookies, paper ornaments, trinkets, dried fruit, and other types of small toys. Although the ornaments were not covered in glitter like today and were more on the simpler side,  a Victorian tree was festive and rang in the holiday season! 

Apples and Pumpkins and Pies...Oh My!

Historic Waco

Fall is here in Waco! It's a time of the year when people get festive with their decorations they use, the scents they surround themselves with, and what they are eating! Baking is one area that has not changed even since the Victorian times! Some staple fall ingredients that are found everywhere in today's society, women were also using during the 19th century in order to create delicious meals for their families. Today's blog post is going to focus on one of big ingredients for the fall and usually a crowd favorite....Apples!!! When baking with apples, the top 4 recommended  types of apples to use by Bon Appetite Magazine are Granny smith, Honeycrisp, Mutsu, and Pink Lady. We have found 3 recipes that all include some aspect of the apple in honor of this fall season. Although the recipes are not specific to which kind of apple to use, it comes down to personal choice. The three recipes mentioned here were found in Godey's Lady's Book, a popular women's magazine of the Victorian time. So grab an apple, start peeling, and create some of these classic apple dishes! 

Cider Cake

1 1/2 lb flour    1/2 lb. sugar    1/4 lb. butter 1/2 pint cider    1 tsp. baking powder    Spices as desired  

Cider cake is very good, to be baked small loaves. One pound and a half of flour, half a pound of sugar, quarter of a pound of butter, half a pint of cider, one teaspoon of pearlash; spice to your taste. Bake till it turns easily in the pans. I should think about half an hour.

Apple Snow Balls

Take a half a dozen fresh apples, cut them into quarters and carefully remove the cores from them: then put them together, having introduced into the cavity caused by the removal of the cores, two cloves and a thin slice of lemon-rind into each apple.  Have at hand half a dozen damp cloths, upon each dispose of a liberal layer of clean, picked rice; place each apple in an upright position in the middle of the grain, and draw the sides of the cloths containing the rice over the same, tying them at the top only sufficiently tight to admit of its swelling whilst under the operation of boiling-three quarters of an hour will suffice.  When released from the cloths they will resemble snow-balls.  Open, add sugar, butter, and nutmeg to the fruit, and serve them up to table.  The above will be found very wholesome and satisfactory food for children.

Fruit Cake

Two and a half cups dried apples, stewed until soft; add one cup of sugar, stew a while longer, and chop the mixture, to which add onehalf cup of cold coffee, one of sugar, two eggs, a half cup of butter, one nutmeg, one teaspoonful of soda, and cinnamon and spices to taste.  Sift in 2 cups flour to hold it together.

Past Fashion Styles on Today's Runways

Historic Waco

It is often said that fashion trends come back in style. With fashion designers in the process of introducing what is "in vogue" for the Fall 2015 season, it is always interesting to see what trends are coming back around. This year, a trend to watch is the "Poncho." A poncho is an exterior piece of clothing designed to keep the body warm, which is perfect for the fall weather. Looking back at Victorian style clothing, women of this era wore a similar style garment however it was not known as a poncho, but was known as a "Cape" or "Cloak." These stylish and essential fashion pieces were made from a wide assortment of fabrics depending on where you lived and your social class including wool, satin, silk, velvet, lace, and taffeta to name of few. They would often times be trimmed with fur, beading, ribbon, lace, Soutache cord, or braid and other type of cutwork. Designs typically were ornate and ranged from short to long styles depending on the time period. 

The image on the left, is from an 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue. The cape is listed at costing $9.50. The picture on the right is a modern style cape, today known as a poncho, however in this case it is referred to as a blazer from Urban Outfitters. It is apparent with the two images side by side, the overall shape hasn't changed much. Fabrics and decoration has been altered according to fashions trends and modern technologies in the world of fashion, however the concept is still similar. Keep your eyes out for more of Fall fashions and see if any other Victorian era fashion elements make it on today's runways.  

5 Reasons to Get Excited About Fall Lecture

Historic Waco

1. The Lecturer: Dr. Michael Parrish is a Bowers Professor of American history at Baylor University.  At Baylor he teaches courses on Texas History, the Civil War, and Religion & War in U.S. History. Dr. Parrish earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin where he also worked as a Research Archivist at the LBJ Library and Museum, as well as, teaching in their history department. He is also the author and editor of several books on the Civil War and Southern History. 

2. The Topic: Turbulent Times, Tremendous Growth: Waco's Remarkable Rise after the Civil War. Come hear about how Waco grew after the Civil War in the 19th century and those factors transformed Waco into one of the 20th century leading cities. What you hear may surprise you! 

3. The Location: Lee Lockwood Library and Museum. Built in 1967, this beautiful building is the home to three floors of exhibits focusing around Freemasonry in Europe, North America, and Texas. The beautiful building alone is a reason to come to this lecture. 

4. The Price: FREE. Yes, that is correct. The price for this amazing, can't miss lecture is Free! Zilch, Nothing, Zip, Zero!!

5. It's better than anything on television: Put down those remotes and hit record. There is nothing but re-runs on the television nowadays so don't be a couch potato and come out for the night. You will not only be learning something but also be surrounded by others who share a similar interest. The conversation will be one to remember! 

Ice Cream: A Traditional Summer Treat

Historic Waco

Ice cream has been a summer treat for people of all ages for generations. Commercial ice cream first became available in the United States around 1780 but it wasn't until 1846 with the invention of the ice cream freezer, did this tasty treat become a popular household item. Women of the Victorian era, used magazines such as "Godey's Lady's Book" to submit and share recipes to make for their families. Take your taste buds on a trip back in time and make this dessert recipe for your family, which was originally published in 1862. While making this you can imagine you are Emma McCulloch, who was the woman of the house at McCulloch House, making this dessert for her 10 children!  Check out this recipe and other recipes from the Victorian Era at Bon appetite y'all!

  • 1 quart rich milk
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 6 ounces white sugar
  • 3 tsp. arrowroot (a West Indian herbaceous plant which can be found in a powder form)
  1. Beat eggs and sugar together.
  2. Bring milk to the point of boiling but do not let it boil.
  3. Stir in the arrowroot.
  4. Remove from the fire, adding the eggs and sugar.
  5. Stir briskly to prevent eggs from cooking and set aside to cool.
  6. If flavored with extracts, it should be done just before it is put in the freezer.


7 Reasons to Attend the Hippodrome Anniversay Celebration

Historic Waco

The Hippodrome is opening it's doors in SEVEN days, and Historic Waco Foundation is excited to be the first organization to host an event in the 100 year old theatre.  We are also excited to announce that this event will be a celebration of the theatre's centennial anniversary! The evening will be a special one for many reasons.  Since it's a week out, we thought we'd give you 7 great reasons to hop in on this special moment in Waco history and celebrate one of the most iconic gems of downtown.


1. Sneak Peak Tours
Attendees will participate in docent-led tours throughout the newly renovated theatre, and be able to learn about what parts of the theatre are true to its history, and what parts are exciting new additions.  This will be the first chance for the public to explore the much anticipated theatre!

2. Get Your History Fix
The walls of the Waco Hippodrome have seen a lot throughout the last 100 years, from crowds traveling to Austin Avenue to catch a glimpse of John Wayne, to Elvis trying to discretely enjoy a film with the regulars.  HWF Executive Director Don Davis will paint magical pictures of Waco History surrounding the Hippodrome that will make you appreciate the potential grandeur of downtown Waco even more.

3. Join the Buzz of Downtown Waco
Melissa Green, The Hippodrome's Program Director, will be speaking on the theatre's future.  In case you haven't heard, downtown is filling up with movers and shakers who are bringing a lot of excitement downtown.  You can't seem to get away from people talking about the growth of downtown these days! This event will help you put a face to the name of one of the biggest movers and shakers on Austin.

4. A Second (and Last) Chance to see Les Miserables!
Okay.  So, out of my personal bias for my favorite musical ever, I wanted to save this for last, but I just couldn't wait that long.  The Waco Civic Theatre will be performing selections from their sold-out Les Miserables on stage at the Hippodrome! This means you will be able to see the first performance on the brand new stage, which is special in itself.  It's also important to mention that this musical hasn't only sold out for the entire month of October, but the waiting lists even filled completely up before a lot of people (like me) were able to even think about it! Come hear some of your favorite selections from Les Mis, from love songs to war anthems, and get lost in the timelessness of the theatre.

5. Treat Your Tastebuds
The event will have appetizers, beer, and wine served throughout the evening.  The appetizers will be prepared by the Hippodrome Restaurant, so now is the time to listen to the curiosity in your head nagging you to try all the newest places in town!

6. Special Downtown Promotions Just for You!
Speaking of trying out new places, your Hippodrome Ticket will act as a coupon to go out for dinner or more drinks after the Hippodrome event! You can walk into Muddle, Portofinos, Klassy Glass, Ninfas, Kuma, and a couple other places downtown, and receive an exclusive deal just for Hippodrome attendees - Free queso, free cocktails, $5 off a bottle of wine... This is so worth it! The only hard part will be deciding where to go! HWF and the Hippodrome are excited to use this event as a platform to brag about all of the good things coming to downtown and to encourage you to join in!

7. Support Local Non-Profits
This event will be benefiting HWF (surprise!). This is exciting, though! By coming to this event, you help us preserve the fascinating history of downtown and continue to celebrate other core preservers, such as Shane and Cody Turner.  You help us hold community events, family education programs, and summer camps.  Finally, you help us unite McLennan County in its pride and identity and invest in its future. Explore our site to learn more about what all HWF does!


Call (254) 753 - 5166 if you would like to buy tickets and/or be an event sponsor.
We look forward to seeing you on the 4th!

Victorian Funeral Cakes

Historic Waco

As far back as the Paleolithic era, funerals have had an intimate relationship with food. Early funeral services may have included using a corpse as a table to eat off of. The Victorians had their own version of funeral feasting -- funeral biscuits. Wrapped in wax paper, these cakes were given to friends & family who attended a deceased person’s funeral service. The paper often had a note attached to it with the deceased’s name, age, and a mourning poem.

If you would like to gain some hands on experience learning about Victorian funeral customs, we suggest making your very own funeral biscuits at home! Below is an 1860s recipe that was published in the New York Times. We highly recommend you use aluminum foil cups to bake these in, as the sugar makes the cakes stick to the pan.  If you want to go more period authentic, squares of parchment paper would be appropriate for baking them. 

Victorian Funeral Cakes - As published in the New York Times
Total time: 35 minutes        Yield: 18 cakes

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar              1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour              1/4 cup butter, melted, cooled
1 tablespoon baking powder             1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten            1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
aluminum cup papers, or parchment paper for lining


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium-size bowl, mix sugar, flour and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until mixed.

3. Fill cups halfway. Bake on the middle level of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Immediately remove the cakes from the pan, and let cool on racks for 15 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar over each cake.


5 Reasons To Get Excited For The Fall Lecture

Historic Waco

As you may or may not know, every year, Historic Waco Foundation has two lectures on the history of Waco.  The most recent one was on "The Dark Side of Waco History," and as you can imagine- It was a hit! Waco's history is full of twists and turns, and up's and downs.  It truly never gets old browsing through pictures and stories of Waco's past.  Well, now it is time for HWF's fall lecture.  Dr. Patricia Ward Wallace will be returning to speak, and her topic this time around will be, "The 1950's: Happy Days in Waco?" We're getting excited for tomorrow, and so should you.  Here's five reasons why:

  1. The Lecturer: Dr. Patricia Ward Wallace is back again, and she is phenomenal.  Countless people are still talking about how much they enjoyed the Spring lecture, because of how fiery, interesting, and entertaining Dr. Wallace is.  Hearing her deliver a lecture is a special for many reasons.  Though she did complete her Masters of Arts and Ph.D. at UT, she went on to teach at Baylor University (Sic 'em!) where she served in many capacities and received many honors as a professor.  She is the author of numerous books, such as "Waco: A Sesquicentennial History" and "Centennial: An Illustrated History of The Methodist Home."  Additionally, she has been extremely involved with the city of Waco over the years and has served the community through many avenues, boards, and committees.  We have no doubt she has something great up her sleeve for tomorrow. 
  2. The Topic: What comes to your mind when you think of Waco in the 1950's? Waco rose to its cultural, economic, and just all around "cool" peak in the early 50's and was then slammed by the '53 Tornado.  The 1950's was one of the most complex, shaping decades in Waco history.  It was filled with fun, horror, dancing, and trauma.  You have to admit you want to hear more.
  3. The Refreshments: There will be coke floats provided.  All that needs to be said there.
  4. The Location:  The lecture will be held at Lee Lockwood Library and Museum - Yes.  That beautiful building on Waco Drive that you cruise past frequently and always wish you could have time to go inside.  Well here is your chance to soak up the building and see all of the beautiful parts inside.  
  5. The Price: It's free.  See you there!