Scenic Wonderland Nightclub

SCENIC WONDERLAND

We are not sure when it was built, but Scenic Wonderland was a popular nightclub and entertainment venue in the early 1950s. It was out LaSalle Avenue, across the Brazos River at the Marlin Highway. It was built by the Gorham Brothers-Tracy, John and Mack. Our group member Deborah Gorham is the daughter of Tracy Gorham. They sold it to Judson Baker, and he sold it to Cecil Epps, who owned several other clubs in Waco. Group member Paula Owen is Cecil Epps’ daughter. Scenic Wonderland was billed as “The Largest Nightclub West of the Mississippi” and hosted popular bands and entertainers of the day…comedians, magicians, and big-name bands including Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Spivak, Gene Krupa, and Hal McIntire. Local musicians and bands like Doodle Owens and Omar McKim also played there. In later years, Scenic Wonderland hosted wrestling matches. The Scenic Wonderland exploded burned on Tuesday, October 4, 1955.

Scenic Wonderlsnd. Photo contributed by Deborah Gorham.
The Waco News Tribune, October 27, 1951.
The Waco News Tribune, September 7, 1952.
The Waco Tribune Herald, April 30, 1950.
The Waco News Tribune, March 7, 1953.
The Waco News Tribune, December 19, 1951.
The Waco News Tribune, January 21, 1951.
The Waco News Tribune, October 27, 1950.
The Waco News Tribune, July 6, 1953.
The Waco News Tribune, May 31, 1952.

The Waco Tribune Herald, November 9, 1952.

3 thoughts on “Scenic Wonderland Nightclub

  1. My Dad’s band played there after the war circa 1947. Waco was a jazz and dance band town. They played there and the Casablanca which I believe was out North 19th. I guess both venues burned down.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dad was a legend in Waco as sax man from the 40’s to the 2000’s. His name was Aubra Graves. You can find him on YouTube in his later years under the name jazzsaxtenor. He has a large worldwide following there. His early Waco bands included: Joe Johnson on trumpet (later a judge), Nick Klaras on drums, Preston Miles on trombone. They played several times a week in those days. In the later years it was usually a weekend or holiday gig with local musicians. He did play with Doc Stewart’s band and he had a great band with Mike Nase that played at Sull Ross center too. He took over Harold Strand’s polka band and turned it into a jazz dance band with his own arrangements.

        Liked by 1 person

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