The N. 18th-19th Street Switchover

By the late 1950s, Waco was looking for a way to connect more streets to create more thoroughfares through the city. One of the projects was redesigning 17th, 18th, and 19th Streets to be a thoroughfare that would connect South Waco to North Waco. In North Waco, 18th Street and 19th Streets would need to merge to create a continuous flow of traffic. In those days, 18th Street dead-ended at Wilson Avenue. North 19th Street came up from South Waco, but did not exist between Lyle and Alexander, because that was the grounds of the old Texas Christian University. At Alexander, North 19th resumed and was the street out to the Bosque River and, in fact, had been called “Bosqueville Road” up until at least the early 1950s.

The initial plan, published in the Waco Tribune Herald on September 2, 1957, called for North 18th to veer west at Mitchell Avenue, cutting across the old TCU grounds and connect to North 19th at Alexander. For some reason, that plan was changed by at least May 9, 1961, when a Waco News Tribune article tells us that “The project will cost an estimated $ 217,000 and is included in Waco’s five-year, $ 12.3 million improvements program….the contract will be divided into two parts to reduce inconvenience to motorists and business that will be affected. First construction will include a switchover to reconnect recently rebuilt Eighteenth Street with Nineteenth Street just north of McFerrin and extend to Park Lake Drive. The second increment will provide for reconstruction of North Nineteenth Street from Park Lake Drive to Gregory Lane, where Nineteenth changes into the state-maintained farm road to China Spring and Erath…estimates the entire project will take seven to eight months to complete. The project will be lengthy because a complete system of curbs and gutters must be built and a large amount of storm drainage must be provided. The street will be 44 feet wide and contain four lanes.” (“City to Ask Street Bids on Nineteenth”, The Waco News Tribune, May 9, 1961.)

I can find no documentation for the completion date of this project, but it is what exists today. (Randall Scott)

The Waco Tribune Herald, September 2, 1957

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