We are glad you are here! Please visit our Galleries, photo albums that record the rich history of Waco. Click the main photo to see the contents of each gallery, then click the individual photo to enlarge and read the photo credit. And feel free to SHARE via your social media. Each gallery will grow, and new galleries will be added regularly, so check back often. To stay up-to-date, please follow our Waco Blog.
Our cover photo showing the historic Waco Suspension Bridge and our hometown is by Waco photographer Mark Randolph, and appears courtesy of Mark Randolph/City of Waco.
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From “Waco Heritage and History” Winter/Spring 1988 Published by The Historic Waco Foundation For more information, or to join, please contact: http://www.historicwaco.org/
Although Spring Lake Country Club existed for only a few years, the glowing memories of the happy times there are bright within those who knew it. The club was located on 125 acres of rolling hills, trees and lakes just north of town and was considered to be the most beautiful country club site in Texas. From 1903 to 1917, the area was owned by Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Day and was a recreational area known as Day’s Spring Lake. Newspaper accounts from that time recall it as a favorite Fourth of July spot for Wacoans escaping the city’s heat where political orations, lemonade, swimming, boating and fishing brought people by buggy, surry, and horseback.
In 1917, a corporation was formed to organize Spring Lake Country Club and the scenic land was purchased from the Days. With the intervention of WWI, construction of the clubhouse was delayed until 1920.
The 18-hole golf course soon became known throughout the State as one of its most challenging and beautiful courses. With narrow fairways, rolling hills, and lakes, Spring Lake was the site of many championships and State Invitational tournaments.
Social life also gravitated to Spring Lake with many families having summer cottages by the Lakes on the club grounds. Many a Sunday afternoon was spent on family picnicking by the lake. By the early 1930s however, the depression had caught Spring Lake in its net, and the Club began struggling for survival.
Mr. Tom f. Bush, one of the State’s leading cotton men, bought the club property in 1931 to try to save it by operating the golf course and club. Attempts were made at reorganization, but none were successful. Spring Lake closed with Mr. Bush’s death in 1939.
The U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr Pepper was served. Right here in Waco, Texas! All of these photos are from our group album “Waco Bottling Companies”, and photo credits are given there.
The history of Dr Pepper dates back to the late 1880s. In 1885, in Waco, Texas, a young pharmacist called Charles Alderton invented the soft drink “Dr Pepper,” a carbonated soft drink marketed as having a unique flavor.
Alderton worked at a place called Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store and carbonated drinks were served at the soda fountain. Alderton invented his own recipes for soft drinks and found one of his drinks was becoming very popular. His customers originally asked for the drink by asking Alderton to shoot them a “Waco”.
Morrison, owner of the drug store, is credited with naming the drink “Dr Pepper” after a friend of his, Dr. Charles Pepper. Later in the 1950s, the period was removed from the “Dr Pepper” name.
As demand grew Alderton and Morrison had trouble manufacturing enough “Dr Pepper” for their customers. Then in stepped, Robert S. Lazenby, Lazenby owned The Circle “A” Ginger Ale Company in Waco and was impressed with “Dr Pepper”. Alderton did not want to pursue the business and manufacturing end of soft drinks and agreed that Morrison and Lazenby should take over and become partners.
The Dr Pepper Company The U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr Pepper was served.
In 1891, Morrison and Lazenby formed the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became the Dr Pepper Company.
We have extra copies of old yearbooks and a few panoramic school photos available for purchase from Baylor University Bosqueville School Lakeview Midway High School and Jr. High Richfield High School Texas A&M University Waco High School West Jr. High (in Waco).
These yearbooks are $ 25.00 each unless otherwise indicated. Price is for local pick-up. 15.00 additional to ship.
For info or to order, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Gildersleeve (1880-1958) was “Waco’s Photographer.” He is buried at Waco Memorial Park. The photo of his grave marker is by Ann Westbrook, and the photo of him is a part of the Gildersleeve-Conger Collection at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
“Cornerstone from the main building of the Texas Cotton Palace, moved in 1940 and mounted on a seven-foot slab of gray Georgian granite. It stood at the apex of Lovers Leap in Cameron Park until 1995.”- The Helen Marie Taylor Museum.
Note: According to surrounding info cards at the museum, Albert T. Clifton had the cornerstone moved to Cameron Park in 1940. He had been the President of the Cotton Palace 1910-1911. Henry Dietz of Dietz Memorial repaired the cornerstone and had it moved to the museum in 1995. — at Helen Marie Taylor Museum.
In 1917, renowned Waco photographer Fred Gildersleeve published a collection of ten photo postcards that were bound into a small booklet. The booklet was 3.5” x 6”, and printed on card stock. Each card was perforated for easy removal. The back of each card was divided, with the left side dedicated for a personalized message and the right side for the address. There is a note on the dividing line that says “Post Cards of Quality—Gildersleeve”. We were able to acquire this booklet in August of 2022. It is in almost pristine condition, with no post cards missing. All of these photos are by Fred Gildersleeve, and are a part of the Gildersleeve-Conger Collection at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
The Tragic Deaths of Fay Clanton and George B. Smith Cameron Park Bridge December 19, 1915
(Fay Clanton and his friend George Smith were killed at the bridge that crosses Wilson Creek in Cameron Park, just north of the present-day Herring Avenue Bridge. This is a photo of the bridge that was upstream at Lindsey Hollow, but a similar “rustic bridge” existed before the more solid concrete bridge was built, and it must have looked a lot like this one. This photo is from the 2010 book by Mark Firmin “William Cameron Park: A Centennidl History 1910-2010.”)
TWO LIVES CLAIMED WHEN HURTLING CAR JUMPS OVER BRIDGE December 20, 1915, The Waco Morning News
Fay Clanton and George B. Smith, Waco young men, instantly killed when auto shoots twenty feet into ravine.
TRAGEDY IN CAMERON PARK George Nettles, Driving High-Powered Roadster, Escapes With Painful Injuries-Turns Too Sharply At Foot Of Steep Hill-Clanton Funeral Today, Ship Smith’s Body To Arkansas.
Fast speed, a long incline, a high bridge and a powerful roadster proved too much of a combination for George Nettles, driving two friends for a joy spin in Cameron Park yesterday at 1:10pm and as a result Fay Clanton and George B. Smith, prominent young men of Waco, were instantly killed and Nettles was seriously injured but will recover. After a Trojan attempt to right his car after getting at the base of the long but sharp hill leading from the Country club over the rustic bridge into the heart of the park, the momentum of the big eight-cylinder roadster was too much for the driver’s strength and it shot through two heavy balustrades for a sheer twenty feet to the bottom of the ravine below. A speeding car in front of the Nettles machine seemed to cause the first swerve before reaching the bridge and the speed and sliding made the situation unmanageable.
Hurtling from the edge of the bridge, the car seemed to nose its radiator into the root-covered bank and then fall bottom upwards, pinning the three occupants underneath. The heavy machine had to be turned completely over in order to extricate the three bodies. Smith’s head was crushed by the car as it hit the bank, and Clanton’s neck was broken by the crash. Nettles was in a way protected by the two bodies and escaped miraculously with a shattered arm and a deep bruise on his forehead. He is in the Provident sanitarium.
The big car, which was a gift to Nettles from his mother, was practically a complete wreck and when turned over sank deeply into the soft bed of the little creek. Hundreds of visitors crowded to the scene after the news of the accident spread over the city. Sunday pleasure motorists flocked to the spot all during the afternoon.
Park Employe Hears Crash Two employes of the park were the first to the scene of the accident. One of the men was driving a sprinkler at the top of the hill and hearing the crash after two cars whizzed by by, ran down to the bridge. He could do nothing but kick open one of the doors of the car, which gave fresh air to Nettles in the almost air-tight compartment which the bank had made with the tonneou. He then ran to the corner of Herring Avenue and Fifth Street, over two blocks, to a telephone. Chief of Police Guy McNamara rushed to the scene in his private roadster, and after getting some reinforcements from the Casino, was able to turn the car over and release Nettles and extricate the two bodies. Chief McNamara said the motor of the overturned car was still running when he got to the machine. The casings of the machine showed that the driver had made a heroic attempt to prevent the accident by using the emergency brake. Heavy wheel tracks in hard gutter of the driveway and the burned casing rubbed into the bridge timbers told their own tale of the accident.
In accounting for the swerve from the right railings, B. C. Nettles, well-known automobile dealer of Waco and brother to the driver, said that George had been used to an older machine with considerable play in the steering gear, and that he probably turned the steering wheel too far unconsciously under the stress of the situation.
Clanton Funeral Today The funeral of Fay Clanton will be held at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Clanton, 1009 South Seventh Street, at 3 o’clock this afternoon. The body of George Smith will be shipped to Wilmer, Arkansas for burial and the father will arrive this afternoon to accompany the body.
Clanton was a young Waco boy, of a prominent family and one of the favorites in the younger set. He was 22 years old. After receiving his high school education in the city schools, young Clanton began working for the Rotan Candy factory, of which his father is the manager. He was a salesman for the company, and a member of Waco Traveling Men’s Association.
Smith was local manager of the Oriental Oil Company and had many friends here in the city. He was considered to be a young man with a promising future before him in connection with his company.
Rev. John A. Morris, pastor of the Fifth Street Methodist church, and Rev. J.A. Whitehurst, presiding elder of this district, will conduct the funeral services at the Clanton residence this afternoon. Interment will follow in the Oakwood Cemetery.
The active pall bearers are: Frank Wood, Carlie Ettleson, T. H. Boyd, Edwind Drake, Jr, Bob Montgomery, Leonard Stone: Honorary: H. H. Shear, M. M. Catton, J. E. Ivey, Charles B. Ivey, J. S. McClintock, C. W. Wilson, Winfrey Barnes, O. H. Weisinger, Will St. Clair, J. W. Barnett, W. N. Morand.
It is estimated that more than a thousand visitors viewed the two bodies in the L. C. Puckett undertaking parlors yesterday afternoon.