Main Entrance to Cameron Park Herring Avenue at North Fourth
These gates were built in the 1930s from stone that was a part of the old City Hall that was on the Square until it was demolished in 1930. In 1971, Herring Avenue Bridge was completed, and this scene was gone forever.
In 1959, it was announced that a shopping mall would be built on Bosque Boulevard. The Lake Air Mall was developed by Arthur Temple, Charles Sligh, and George Nokes. Goldstein-Migel, was the first store to open in the new mall on Monday, October 31, 1960. The Grand Opening of the Lake Air Mall was Thursday, March 16, 1961. The Lake Air Mall was an innovative and amazing place, and will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who knew it. It closed in January, 2002.
These postcards are from our collection.
STORES OF LAKE AIR MALL
According to the 1961 Waco City Directory, all spaces except for Goldstein Migel were vacant. This reflects January-February, 1961. By March 1961, much of the spaces at the mall were filled.
The First Phase of the Opening of The Lake Air Mall was the opening of Goldstein-Migel’s on October 31, 1960.
The Grand Opening of the Second Phase was March 16, 1961. The stores that were on the mall by then were:
5201 Pioneer Savings Association
5201 Lake Air Mall
-232 Lake Air Barber Shop
-234 Sherwin-Williams Paint Co.
-236 Bettis Art Center
-237 Holt’s Sporting Goods
-240 Walgreen’s Grill & Restaurant
-241 Walgreen’s Drug Store
-247 Butler’s Shoe Store
-249 Cardinal Co. Apartment Managers
Lake Air Inc.
Lake Air Development Co.
Lake Air Merchants Assn.
George Nokes, Lawyer
Town Hall Meeting Place
-250 Texas State Optical
-251 Lewis Shoe Store
-252 South’s Gift Shop
-253 TG&Y Variety Store
-254 Book Nook
-258 Morris Jewelers
-259 National Shirt Shops
-261 Grayson’s RTW Women’s Clothes
-264 Andes Candies
By the end of 1961, The Third Phase had occurred, and included the addition of Safeway, Montgomery Ward, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Casual Corner, and Bauer McCann.
By the time the 1963 Waco City Directory was published, Lake Air Records, Farmers Insurance Group, Junior House Children’s Clothes, and Singer Sewing Machine Co. had been added. At some point, the office area of the Lake Air Mall was added, but we are not sure of when that happened.
The layout of the stores in the 1963 Waco City Directory is:
These two postcard photos of aerial views of Downtown Waco were taken by Chuck Hatler. Notice that the S. 100 block and N. 100 block between 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Streets are bare except for City Hall. The buildings from the square have been removed. I’m not sure of the year, but Urban Renewal removed the buildings in the Square in 1970-71, and the Hilton was built in 1981.
The postcard backs both say:
“Waco was established by the Huaco Indians in 1844 and grew as a frontier and plantation trading center. During the post-Civil War cattle drives, Waco‘s location on one of the Chisholm Trails, along with the establishment of three railroads, developed its position as a distribution center for Central Texas. Waco’s strategic location has made the area a center for distribution, trade, banking, and general commerce. Photo by Chuck Hatler.”
These two postcards are from our personal collection.
Pearl Harbor was attacked 80 years ago today. Wacoan Doris Miller, serving aboard the USS West Virginia, risked his life to defend his ship and help his shipmates. Through his selfless and sacrificial actions, he became a WWII hero, and we are grateful for his service. We celebrate this great Wacoan on this date which still lives “in infamy.”
Once upon a Christmas, there was a little tree nestled in among the taller ones on the Christmas Tree lot. Shirley and Bob Brothers, with their young sons, Bob, Jim, and Bill, browsed through the lot hoping to find the perfect tree.
Up and down the Christmas Tree lanes they walked and then the boys saw the little tree. They all fell in love with it.
They learned that the tree was a cedar of the deodar family, or devadaru, which means “divine tree”, closely akin to the cedars of Lebanon.
They took the little tree home. And, trimmed with tiny lights, ornaments, and tinsel, it sat on a living room table and seemed to glow with pride all through the holidays. Hoping the little tree might possibly take root and live…a very doubtful possibility…they planted it in the front yard on New Year’s Day.
In 1965, Bob and Shirley sold the property at 4400 Live Oak to John and Vivian Walker, and for twenty years the tree stood majestically in their front yard. The once tiny little Christmas tree, planted on a New Year’s Day in 1961, had grown up with the neighborhood children.
Now it so happened that the little tree had another mission to fulfill…the Greater Waco Beautification Association was searching for “the perfect tree” to be the city Christmas tree. Headed by the GWBA president, Jackie Wooldridge, the committee drove all over town looking…and then they saw it! It was “the perfect tree” and they fell in love with it just like the three little boys did that Christmas in 1961.
John and Vivian Walker, the gracious couple they are, told the committee that of course they could have the tree. “But,” John said, ”You will cover up the hole won’t you?”
On a December evening at Indian Spring Park, the once tiny little tree stood 40 feet tall. It had a bright star on the tip top and, trimmed with thousands of colored and red bows, the tree again glowed with pride because now it was the City Christmas Tree!
The scene that December evening brought back a nostalgic interlude for one of the neighborhood children…Christi Ratliff Breeding . “I played under that tree when I was a little girl,” Christi said. “Bob and Shirley Brothers’ yard was our gathering place, and Bob, Bill and Jim had the best baseball equipment.”
Christi said she played outfielder and, “I was a good hitter, too.” Trying to remember the names of the neighborhood friends, Christi remembered Gail St. John, Carolyn, Mike and Dale Carlisle, Klaus and Martin Krohn, Rick, Randy, David and Cathy Hensley, Bill Casey, Jim and Bob Stewart, Rhett Taylor, Mark, Linda, and Allen Storey, Sue Ingram, and Randy Fondren.
The Christmas 1984 tree-lighting ceremony was the usual happy occasion, yet for many it was not without sadness…the tree had been slowly dying from blight. After the holiday season, the red bows and colored lights were removed, and the tree that had reached out its leafy arms with the love and spirit of Christmas, was cut down.
There’ve been other beautiful Christmas Trees and there’ll always be beautiful Christmas Trees at Indian Springs Park, but there’ll never be another just like the City’s first Christmas Tree.
And so, with love from three little boys, the neighborhood children on Live Oak Street, and all of us-Thanks for the memories, little tree!
From the book “Around Again” by Virginia Plunkett.
(This is the type of tree mentioned here, but this is not that tree. Image from Google Images. )
FOURTH AND MARY 1915/2020 Looking north up Fourth Street
The photographer is in the intersection of South Fourth and Mary. Union Depot is on the right, and the old Post Office is just beyond it, on the corner of Fourth and Franklin. The Metropole Hotel is across Franklin. The building on the left was and is the Behrens Drug Building. The Natatorium Hotel would be just to the right of the photographer in 1915, across Mary from Union Depot.
This postcard was postmarked September 20, 1915. It is addressed to Mr. Louis Divina, c/o J. T. Karth, Bruno, Nebraska. Can you translate the message?
Postcard from our personal collection. Present-day photo from Google Earth.
The November edition of “Waco, Texas History in Pictures Magazine” featured the four McLennan County Courthouses and the historical Waco paintings by Ruth McKinney Smith. You can read it on our website at no cost. Go to http://www.wacotexashistoryinpictures.com and select “Magazine” from the menu.