This hand-colored early map of Texas pinpoints the location of “Waco Village” on the Brazos River in 1845, right about the time Neil McLennan and his family settled on the nearby Bosque River. McLennan is considered the first Western European settler of Waco. Note that Waco Village is still locatedin Milam County and that the county stretches several hundred miles north and beyond the Red River.
This inset of an 1869 Waco City map depicts the first streets, blocks, and lots of Waco Village as surveyed by Erath and De Cordova 1849-1850. West is the direction at the top of the map and north is on the right, with the Brazos River as the boundary. Main Street (later renamed Austin Avenue) runsinto the Public Square and is situated north to south. The streets are laid out running east to west as River Avenue (later renamed River Street), First, Second, Third, Fourth Streets and Prince Street (later renamed Fifth). The Streets running north to south are Columbus, Washington, Main, Franklin, and Mary. The population of the village was approximately 72 people.
De Cordova’s map of Texas illustrates expansion and change in the area from the earlier 1845 map. McLennan County has been carved out of Milam County and named for Neil McLennan. “Waco Village” is listed on the map as the county seat and Torrey’s Trading Post is located on Tehuacana Creek. Several new counties were established since the earlier map, including Bell and Falls to the south, Hill to the north, and Limestone County to the east. Look carefully at McLennan’s northwestern boundar ;, it is not defined and pushes far north into what would later become Bosque County. By the endof the 1850s the population of Waco was estimated at 749.
Waco continued to develop after the Civil War. The population grew at a steady rate to 3,008, nearly three times its size from a decade earlier. Construction began on the Waco Suspension Bridge in 1868 and is depicted on this map. The bridge spans the Brazos at 475 feet and opens January 7, 1870. Look at the legend on the right-hand side of the map, and note EC-Episcopal Church located on block 26 and FM-Flour Mill located on the River Block next to the Brazos River. At the south end of First Street, outside of the downtown area are three cemeteries, the Odd Fellows, the Masonic, and the City Cemetery.
This black and white detailed map of the City of Waco provides a fascinating two-dimensional perspective compared to the flat map of four years earlier. The city is beautifully represented and landmarks such as the courthouse, churches, Waco Suspension Bridge, and Waco University are visible. There is a list of 15 references at the bottom of the map. The map’s view is from the north looking across the Brazos River to the south. You can see people, animals, wagons, gardens, and trees, as well as streams and bridges. At the printing of this map, cattle would have been herded north on the Chisholm Trail across the Waco Suspension Bridge and on to Fort Worth. In 1871, 600,000-700,000 head of cattle used the Chisholm Trail.
C.H. Leland’s hand-drawn map is oriented with the top of the map facing north. The streets are clearly listed with names of trees such as Myrtle, Locust, Peach, and Plum. When surveyed, the streets should have been 75 feet wide and the alleys 20 feet wide. This is the first map of East Waco that isknown to exist. The depot for Northwestern Railroad was located at the bottom of the map right off Bridge Street. East Waco officially becomes part of Waco in 1871. By 1880, the population of the city had nearly doubled to 7,295.
Compare this bird's eye map with the earlier 1873 map. The growth of the city was remarkable. The population was listed as 16,000. In 1870, just 13 years earlier it was listed at 3,008. The core of the city - Washington, Austin, Franklin, Mary, and Jackson Streets and First through Sixth Streets -depicts a bustling urban center with schools, churches, retail, and manufacturing businesses. At the corner of Fifth and Webster is Waco University. There are even 18 private residences listed in the legend at the bottom right of the map. Over the Brazos River there were three bridges, two railroadbridges and the Waco Suspension Bridge for pedestrian and commercial traffic. The perspective is from the north looking to the south.
This is a detailed map of a growing, vibrant city. The perspective is from the east looking west, with north on your right. The direction is not true west but on an angle of south west, with the Brazos River on the right. This map has exceptional detail with 1 inch equal to 600 feet. Existing namedneighborhoods and newly established neighborhoods are both listed, with the new neighborhoods shaded in green. Railroads, major businesses, government buildings, and educational institutions are provided. On the corner of Fifth and Speight Streets is newly relocated Baylor University. This was also the first map to list the Artesian wells in the city. The map identifies farmland in the areas surrounding the city. It is worth noting that the 1886 Bird’s Eye map lists the population of Waco at 16,000 and the 1890 U.S. Population Census lists the population at just 14,445
This is an example of a detailed map of a new neighborhood in west Waco. The date is likely 1889-1890. The lots are colored in green and the Waco Female College is located in the center square. A larger picture of the college is provided in the lower left-hand corner. This is a working map used in the field as evidenced by the hand-written notes. In the lower right-hand corner is the phrase “proposed electric streetcar line up Herring Ave.” Look for the Farwell Addition on the 1891 Map of Waco. See exhibit #8.
Located on the east side of Waco was this compact neighborhood of a few blocks. It can be found on the 1891 Map of Waco, number 66. The map is in poor condition from heavy use. Compare this map and the Farwell Heights Map from a marketing perspective. The Farwell Heights map was clearlyused to sell blocks of land.
This fold-out, pocket-style map of Waco was printed twenty-two years after the last major map of Waco in 1891. The city changed dramatically during those two decades. Cameron Park was deeded to the City of Waco in 1910 by the Cameron Family. It appears on the map near the Brazos River. PaulQuinn College is shown directly on Elm Street in East Waco. The Cotton Palace is located between Clay and Dutton Streets and 13th and 15th Streets. Transportation within the city was convenient using the local streetcar. There was also an interurban connection with Dallas that is shown headingnorth out of the city. The Huaco Club and Golf Links were at the edge of the Arlington neighborhood on the left-hand side of the map. Note the expansion of neighborhoods along both sides of the Brazos River. By 1910, Waco’s population had grown to 26,425. This is the last map in the exhibit. The other Waco maps owned by The Texas Collection begin after 1923.