Houses and Collections
Preserve. Educate. Inspire.
The mission of Historic Waco Foundation is to preserve the heritage of Waco and McLennan County, Texas for future generations and to present enriching diverse historical experiences for audiences of all ages.
Our mission is fulfilled through educational programs, community lectures, diverse exhibits, and through our four interpreted house museums that are open to the public: Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, East Terrace House, Fort House, and McCulloch House.
Historic Waco Foundation is a volunteer organization dedicated to historic preservation in the city. The foundation was formed in 1967 through the merger and incorporation of three common interest groups: the Heritage Society, the Society for Historic Preservation, and the Duncan Foundation. Today, our four historic houses serve as our opportunity to preserve Waco's heritage and history, educate the public, and inspire the community. We offer house tours, as well as, educational opportunities, programs, events, and special exhibits throughout the year. Want to learn more? Feel free to stop by our Hoffmann office any time 8:30-5:00 Monday-Friday or call us at (254)753-5166.
House Tour Rates:
General Admission: $5.00 Senior/Students: $4.00 Military and children 6 years old and younger: free
See home page for current house tour hours.
1. Earle-Napier-Kinnard House 814 South 4th 2. Hoffmann House (HWF Office) 810 South 4th 3. Fort House 503 South 4th 4. McCulloch House 407 Columbus 5. East Terrace House MLK Blvd at Mill Street.
Earle-Napier-Kinnard House (1858 - 1869)
814 S. 4th St. Waco, TX 76706
In 1855, John Baylis Earle moved to Waco from Alabama and began construction on one of the earliest brick homes of Waco. Mr. Earle briefly served in the Confederate Army, but had to leave due to his poor eyesight. In 1866, Earle moved his family to East Waco. In 1868, after the Civil War, Dr. John Smith Napier, Sr. sold his plantation in Alabama and moved to Waco. Dr. Napier's daughter, Sarah, who often times went by Sallie, married Reverend David C. Kinnard, Jr. and the two moved into the home subsequently inheriting it. The Reverend and Mrs. Kinnard continued to reside in the house with their three children. The last two residents in the house were Miss Mary Kinnard and Miss Kate Kinnard. Miss Kate worked as a secretary and Miss Mary tended the house. The two sisters claimed separate paths out the front gate; one to the right and one to the left. When Miss Kate died, they started to take her out by the way of Miss Mary's path. Miss Mary stopped them and said, "Oh no! The other path is Miss Kate's." This house is in Greek Revival Style and reflects the typical style residence of a successful business man in the early days of Waco. Many pieces in the home are original including the original ceiling lamp in the entrance hall and the Lincoln rocking chair in the South Parlor.
East Terrace House (1874 - 1884)
100 Mill St. Waco, TX 76706
Every princess needs a castle! After moving from Tennessee in 1858, industrialist J. W. Mann built this beautiful house for his bride, Cemira. In 1874, J. W. Mann, his wife, and their two young boys, Howard and J. W. Jr., moved into East Terrace. Mr. Mann was involved in several businesses, including the brick company that furnished the bricks used in constructing the Waco Suspension Bridge serving as a pivotal economical, cultural, and overall landmark for Waco. The architectural style of this house is Italianate Villa. One of the character defining architectural components of this style of architecture is the tower room. Here, Mr. Mann could survey his acreage. He later built an "Entertainment Wing" which included a ballroom. Parties in the East Terrace ballroom were a grand event. As an adult, Howard Mann recalled the beautifully dressed women and their handsome escorts dancing at the Summer Balls. Extra stable boys had to be hired to take care of the 50+ carriages and their horses. Many objects and furnishings within this home are original to the Mann family including the cast iron bathtub in the bathroom.
Fort House (1868 - 1876)
503 S. 4th St. Waco, TX 76706
William Aldridge Fort settled in Waco in 1854 by a wagon train with 500 others from Alabama. Two years later, he married Dionitia Elizabeth Wilson. Together they had four children: three boys and one girl, Mr. Fort’s beloved Mary, also called May. In 1868, Mr. Fort moved the family from the outskirts of Waco and built Fort House at 503 South Fourth Street. In addition to becoming president of a bank, Mr. Fort also began the first transit system in Waco; a mule drawn open surrey with seats on each side. Sadly, Mr. Fort’s only daughter, Mary, died at the age of 20 from typhoid fever. Grief-stricken over the death of his beloved May, Mr. Fort passed away the following month at the age of 52. His wife, Dionitia, lived in the house until her death in 1910 at the age of 80. They are all buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
McCulloch House (1866 - 1872)
407 Columbus Ave. Waco, TX 76706
The original two room structure was built by Dr. Josiah H. Caldwell as a home for his wife and five children. In 1870, the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Champe Carter McCulloch who expanded the structure to its present size. The house was occupied by family members of the McCulloch family until 1971. Along with many family heirlooms, the house showcases fine examples of early Texas artists, as well as, a large painting of Ann Pamela Cunningham; frequently credited as the person responsible for the restoration of Mount Vernon.
More on our collections
Historic Waco Foundation owns, curates, preserves and exhibits over 6,000 pieces of decorative art, artifacts, archival material, and textiles. The permanent collection is owned by the HWF Board of Directors, held in trust for the public, and is overseen and maintained by professional museum staff. The permanent collection consists of items to be used whenever possible to augment the interpretation of the history of Waco and McLennan County, and Texas from 1795 – 1945.
The Heritage Collection was created by prominent Waco historian Lavonia Jenkins Barnes, showcasing a sub-collection within the permanent collection. The collection spans over a century, ranging from early Texas settlement through WWII. Many pieces belonged to early Wacoans, and consists of over 3500 garments, flat textiles and accessories.