If Jacob Raphael De Cordova had his way, the dateline for this story would be “Lamartine” and not “Waco.” But rather than being named for a French poet and statesman, the city on the Brazos is named for the Native American tribe that once dwelt here.
De Cordova (1808-68), a Texas land agent and colonizer, was one of the men who laid out what later became known as Waco Village from 1848-49. Town lots of an acre sold for $5 to $10, and nearby agricultural holdings brought up to $3 per acre.
At the urging of his wife, Rebecca, De Cordova reserved free sites for schools, churches and community commons.
“Mapping Waco: A Brief History, 1845-1913,” presented by The Texas Collection and the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, marks this heritage with a joint exhibit at the Carroll Library and online.
Through the cartographers’ art, visitors can chart the changing landscape of the city from its earliest existence in the mid-1800s as a trading post to the boom years of the early 20th century, when the city “reached for the sky” in towers of concrete and steel.
* Bird’s-eye views of Waco drawn in the late 19th century;
* Illustrated maps of new suburban additions to the boundaries; and,
* Blueprints of individual plats on Waco streets, avenues and boulevards.
Covering more than 70 years of progress, the maps in the exhibit depict significant growth from fledgling river community to prosperous metropolis, at least by Texas standards.
The online exhibit, which is found at digitalcollections.baylor.edu, includes:
* Map of Texas from the Most Recent Authorities (1845);
* Waco Village County Seat of McLennan County (Recreated);
* J. De Cordova’s Map of The State of Texas (1854);
* Map of East Waco (1877);
* Waco, Texas. County Seat of McLennan Co. (1886);
* Official Map of the City of Waco and Suburbs. Compiled from Official Records and Surveys by Stephen Turner, C.E. (1891);
* Farwell Heights Addition to Waco on College Heights;
* A Map of Baylor Addition to Waco (1889); and,
* Map of Waco, Texas and Suburbs. From County Records and Private Surveys by McCall-Moore Engineering Co. (1913).
Curators are seeking other historical views of Waco and its environs. Individuals with maps who are willing to have them digitized to share with the Greater Waco community can call 254-710-1268 or send email to email@example.com.
The maps are on display at The Texas Collection within Carroll Library, which is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The physical site and online components will be on display through December.