Mrs. Maggie Little House

“Mrs. Maggie Little house, Sixth and Washington, northeast corner. Sold to McLennan County about 1899 for $9,000.00 as site for the present Courthouse.”

Photo by Fred Gildersleeve.

From the book “A Pictorial History of Waco” (1964) by Roger N. Conger. From the Gildersleeve-Conger Collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Photo by Fred Gildersleeve.
Photo from Google Earth.

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

25th Street Theater

The 25th Street Theater.

“Confidential Agent”, with Charles Boyer and Lauren Bacall, was released in 1945. In the 1940s, they were having a hard time obtaining the lot behind the theater, because that side of the block was zoned residential. Of course, they eventually did, and it became the parking lot. But the Theater came before the parking lot!

Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The Square, 1917

The Historic Waco Square in 1917, with the old City Hall in the center. The current city hall was built in 1930. Taken from the American Amicable (ALICO) Building by Mann, a photographer believed to have been connected with Camp MacArthur. The ALICO Building was only six years old!

That’s the OLD McLennan County Courthouse at the extreme right side of the page at “3:00”.

Waco City Square, 1917. Photo by F. Mann.

North 19th Street Flooded

64 Years Ago Today….

North 19th Street Flooded

The Waco News Tribune, April 21, 1957. Due to heavy flooding, water had to be released from the OLD Lake Waco Dam. It flooded the road between Bosqueville and Waco, and this photo description says that many cows were washed away, some washing up in Cameron Park!

The Waco News Tribune, April 21, 1957.

The Halbert and Margaret Buchanan House at Lake Waco

Halbert and Margaret Buchanan, better known as “Doc and Peggy”, were the owners of Buchanan’s Laundry and Linen Supply at 420 South Eleventh Street.  They had a home at 5309 Hillcrest, at the end of Hillcrest Drive that overlooked Lake Waco.

Their granddaughter Julie Oates told us: “The house was designed by Charles Dilbeck http://dougnewby.com/architect/charles-s-dilbeck/ who built many homes in Dallas and Oklahoma City. My grandparents, Halbert (Doc) and Margaret (Peggy) Buchanan loved Dallas and must have seen his homes when visiting. Doc grew up in Waco on a working ranch. He was one of nine children and the youngest of five boys. He was one of the most generous and joyful people I have known. Peggy grew up in Boulder, Colorado. She was a lady to the ‘nth degree’ who also enjoyed fishing, hunting, and horseback riding all her life. They met at the Waco Cotton Palace in 1930. Peggy’s Godmother was from Waco so Peggy travelled on what must have been an adventure to Texas. Theirs was a marriage made in heaven. Their two children were/are my mom, Elizabeth (Betsy) Buchanan Oates, and uncle, Mercer Buchanan. Uncle Mercer still lives nearby in Waco. They moved into the home before Mom was born which was 1938, but I don’t know exactly when.”

“They lived their remaining years in the home and treasured this magical place. They loved to entertain and welcomed people from all over the world. They owned and operated Buchanan’s Laundry, attended St. Paul’s Episcopal church, were active in the community, and traveled extensively and were amazing grandparents. Their house has been beautifully restored and maintained by current owners Will and Merrill Jones. Part of my heart will always be at 5309 Hillcrest.”

This article first appeared in the April, 2021 issue of “Waco, Texas History in Pictures Magazine”.

All of the photos in this article were contributed by the Buchanan’s granddaughter, Julie Oates.

Waco City Hall

The Waco City Hall sits in the middle of what used to be the historic Waco Square. This beautiful Art Deco building was built in 1930, and is well- maintained today. The Square survived an F5 tornado in 1953, but couldn’t survive “urban renewal” in the 1960s.

Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.
Photo by Randall Scott.

The Waco Drive In

Waco Drive In

4100 South Interstate 35

The Waco Drive In, which opened in 1946, was on the east side of Interstate 35 at the end of present-day New Road.

This photo from the early 1970s shows a daytime event with rather unconventional parking!

Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The Edward C. Bolton Home at Lake Waco

The Edward C. Bolton Home at Lake Waco

Before the new dam was built in the early 1960s, Hillcrest Drive went all the way to the old lake shore. As the winding road descended to the lake, the Buchanan Home was on the bluff to the right, overlooking Lake Waco.  The Buchanans were the owners of Buchanan’s Laundry and Linen Supply at 418 South 11th and Buchanan’s Cleaners and Cold Storage at 1002 Austin.  Next door to the Buchanan place was the 47-acre estate of Edward Cameron Bolton, grandson of William Cameron.

E.C. Bolton was born on April 30, 1906, the son of Edward Rice Bolton and Miss Margaret Cameron, the youngest daughter of William Cameron.  He graduated from Waco High School in 1923, and in 1927 received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in Massachusetts.  In 1929, he received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University’s School of Business, graduated magna cum laude.  He graduated first in his class. At Waco High, he had played basketball and baseball, and played on Paul Tyson’s football team there.  After working in Missouri in the 1930s, he returned to Waco around 1940 to become assistant to the president of William Cameron and Co., Inc after the death of his uncle, W.W. Cameron, in 1939. He served three years at sea as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, during WWII. After returning to Waco, he sold his interest in the company in 1949 and entered the investment business. The Cameron-Bolton interests in William Cameron and Company were sold in 1954 to Certainteed Products, Inc. of Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bolton was married twice-first to Mary Lyle Staton, niece of Senator Tom Connally, then to Catherine Ross, descendant of Sul Ross.

Prior to building his Lake Waco home, Mr. Bolton and his family lived in their ancestral home at 1223 Austin Avenue, from where he also ran his office.  The Boltons built their home at Lake Waco around 1946.  Their 47-acre property had a two –story red brick home that overlooked Lake Waco, and featured a beautiful lawn and large rose garden.  The driveway looped around to the back of the house, where there was a main entrance. They loved dogs, and had several Dalmatians. Mr. Bolton facetiously called his place “Poverty Hill” when he complained to the builder about the cost of its construction.

In addition to the main house, there was a side building which contained Mr. Bolton’s office and a garage apartment with servant’s quarters. And their own gas pump!  The house was a social hub, and the Boltons frequently hosted society events.  The second Mrs. Bolton was President of the Waco Garden Club and often hosted club meetings at their home.

When discussions were being held in the late 1960s about the construction of the Herring Avenue Bridge, Mr. Bolton was adamantly against it and reminded the City of Waco that building the bridge would violate the terms of the agreement of the Cameron Family’s gift of Cameron Park to the city.

Edward C. Bolton died in 1973, and Catherine Bolton died in 1978. The house was demolished by their descendants around 2010, and the property is adjacent to the Windmill Hill neighborhood.  The building that served as the office is still standing, although it has been heavily remodeled.

-by Randall Scott, March, 2021.  Based on Mr. Bolton’s obituary in the Waco News Tribune, April 16, 1973 and interviews with Mr. Bolton’s granddaughter, Linda.