Remember when an afternoon drive in the country was a major form of entertainment? Since we live in the country, we now drive to the city for a change of pace. Recently, we spent a day in Waco. Now when we lived in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, we didn’t even consider Waco a city. But it has grown and our definition of city has changed.
Historic Waco Foundation has four homes open to the public on a staggered monthly schedule during the year. We visited the East Terrace home of industrialist J. W. Mann. It was built in 1872 with additions in 1880 and 1884. It is named for the terraces from the house down to the Brazos River in front of the house.
The house is quite large and was known for the first indoor bathroom in the community and for miles away.
The Mann family had the house built and were the only ones to ever occupy it. After their deaths, the house fell into disrepair. The city managed the renovation after it was deeded to them. Much of the original furniture was still in homes in the surrounding area. People donated it back to the Foundation.
A personal guided tour by a knowledgeable docent gave information about the history and life during that time period.
The Dr. Pepper museum in downtown Waco was the next stop. The displays provide details about the discovery and early marketing of products. An exhibit of large photographs depicts the devastation of the 1953 tornado in downtown Waco. This museum, too, is worth a visit.
There was not a large variety of plants. There were several large plantings of Artemisia, which does well in the summer heat if it doesn’t get too much direct sunlight.The Dinner Plate Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) were lovely.
Pride of Barbados, the national flower of the island of Barbados, has become a very popular plant in Texas. Both locations have the summer heat and sun. However, the parts of Texas that have that hot summer can also have cold winters. So, often, the Pride of Barbados dies when it freezes.
Our final stop of the day was the Waco Mammoth Site. This is a major find of Columbian Mammoths, named for Christopher C. in the US. Since the discovery of the first bone in 1978, it has taken many years for further excavation and the construction of a museum site. There are still many areas that require more digging.
Inside a large display building is the dig site. Bones in situ provide visitors with a realistic view of the find. The Columbian Mammoths were about two feet taller than the Wooly Mammoths. The life size painting on a wall gives perspective to the unearthed bones. www.wacomammoth.com
All in all, a very nice getaway day.
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” John Burroughs