Waco is located halfway between Dallas and Austin and sits on the Brazos River. Named after the Wichita Indian tribe that once was settled there, Waco is the 22nd largest city population-wise in Texas.
Waco grew in the 1940s and early 1950s with the founding of private religious schools, including Waco School for Boys and Waco Christian High School. The war also brought the creation of two other military facilities in Waco's Village: the Waco Army Flying School, which was built eight miles north of the city, and the Blackland Army Air Field, which was built in nearby China Spring. Although the area's military facility was closed after the war, the Waco Army Airfield was reactivated in 1946 and is one of only a handful of U.S. military airfields in Texas.
Waco College was founded in 1856 but closed in 1893. In 1887, it merged with Baylor University, which then relocated to Waco, becoming Waco University in 1861 and Baylor College later.
In 1989, Lockheed Martin, a giant defense company that modernized and upgraded aircraft for the military and foreign leaders, opened in Waco and is now its largest industrial employer.
In the late 19th century, Waco was known in some circles as Athens, Texas, and attracted a number of educational institutions, as it became an increasingly important commercial center. As Austin, Texas — 100 miles south — grew and flourished, Waco settled down as a small town that boomed and broke, and boomed again.
Fun fact: The popular soft drink Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. Pharmacist Charles Alderton first served his drink around 1885.
Although the list of ways to explore Waco is endless, none can match the charm of the Silo District Trolley. The route takes you through the historic district, pointing out hotspots like the Silo Distilling Company and other historic buildings.
While these hip and exciting spots stretch on both sides of the Brazos River, the downtown cultural district of Waco has many more experiences to offer. Another way to see the river is to take a walk or jog along the paved route that follows the Brazos from Cameron Park to Baylor University's Ferrell Center.