McLennan County, Texas

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McLennan County
The Mclennan County Courthouse in Waco
Map of Texas highlighting McLennan County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 31°33′N 97°12′W / 31.55°N 97.2°W / 31.55; -97.2
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1850
Named forNeil McLennan
SeatWaco
Largest cityWaco
Area
 • Total1,060 sq mi (2,700 km2)
 • Land1,037 sq mi (2,690 km2)
 • Water23 sq mi (60 km2)  2.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total263,115
 • Estimate 
(2021)
263,115
 • Density250/sq mi (96/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district17th
Websitewww.co.mclennan.tx.us

McLennan County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 260,579 .[1] Its county seat and largest city is Waco.[2] The U.S. census 2021 county population estimate is 263,115.[3] The county is named for Neil McLennan,[4] an early Scottish settler who worked to push back the Indians in early Texas.

McLennan County is included in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

McLennan County was created by the Texas Legislature in 1850 out of Milam County. The county seat, Waco, had been founded as an outpost of the Texas Rangers. It was laid out by George B. Erath, and was known by 1850 as Waco Village.

In the 1880s, pharmacist Charles Alderton developed the carbonated beverage that became known as Dr Pepper. The Dr Pepper business was headquartered in Waco, until it moved to Dallas, Texas. Waco is also home to the Dr Pepper Museum, housed in the 1906 building that was the first stand-alone facility used to bottle Dr Pepper.

According to local lore, the first sustained flight did not occur in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but just outside Tokio (a small community in McLennan County) by a man flying a gyrocopter. During World War I, McLennan County was home to at least one military airfield, Rich Field. In the aftermath of World War I, when social tensions were high as veterans returned, white racial violence broke out against blacks. The county had 15 lynchings, the second-highest number of any county in the state.

McLennan County's contributions to World War II include the reopening of Rich Field for use by the Air Force, and the opening of James Connally Air Force Base. The latter is now used as the TSTC Waco Airport and Texas State Technical College. County resident Doris Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at Pearl Harbor; he was the first African American to earn such distinction. Local man James Connally became known as a World War II fighter pilot.

County Courthouse[edit]

The current County Courthouse is located in the county seat, Waco, Texas, and is the county's fourth courthouse. Completed in 1902 in the Beaux Arts Style, it is the next-to-last example of Architect James Riely Gordon's Texas courthouses. Of the eighteen he designed, thirteen remain standing. The first county courthouse was completed in 1851 for $500, and was a two-story log cabin that was 30' x 30'. McLennan's second courthouse was a two-story brick building completed in 1857 for $11,000. The third courthouse was styled after Second Empire by architect W.C. Dodson, and completed in 1877 at a cost of $24,894.50. [5]

Institutions of higher education[edit]

In 1886, Baylor University relocated from Independence, Texas, to Waco and absorbed Waco University. During the early 20th century, McLennan County was home to as many as five colleges. In addition to Baylor, the other colleges included the predecessor to what is now known as Texas Christian University (now in Fort Worth), Paul Quinn College (relocated since to Dallas), and two other short-lived colleges.

In the 1960s, the Texas Legislature authorized McLennan Community College, the first community college to use those words in the name. Around the same time, what is now the flagship institution of Texas State Technical College was founded as James Connally Technical Institute, as a member of the Texas A&M University System. Today, Baylor, McLennan Community College, and Texas State Technical College continue to operate in McLennan County. They educate a large portion of the college-bound high-school graduates from the county and the surrounding areas. McLennan Community College has also partnered with Tarleton State University, Texas Tech University, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and Midwestern State University to offer more than 50 bachelor's or master's degrees.

1896 Crash at Crush[edit]

Crush, Texas, was a temporary "city" in McLennan County, about 15 miles (24 km) north of Waco. It was established to stage a publicity stunt concocted by William George Crush and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The stunt involved the collision of two 35-ton steam locomotives in front of spectators, whom the railway transported to the event for $2 each. After strong promotion, on September 15, 1896, the event was delayed by an hour as the police maneuvered the crowd of more than 40,000 back to what was thought to be a safe distance.[6]

The crews of the two engines tied the throttles open and jumped off. The two engines, pulling wagons filled with railroad ties, traveled a 4-mile (6.4 km) track and thunderously crashed into each other at a combined speed up to 120 mph (190 km/h). The boilers exploded and sent steam and flying debris into the crowd. Three people were killed and about six were injured, including event photographer Jarvis "Joe" Deane, who lost an eye because of a flying bolt.[6]

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin commemorated the event with "The Great Crush Collision March"; Joplin dedicated the composition to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway.[7] Texas composer and singer Brian Burns wrote and recorded a song about the collision, "The Crash at Crush" (2001).

West fertilizer plant explosion[edit]

Waco siege[edit]

Twin Peaks biker shootout[edit]

On May 17, 2015, motorcycle clubs gathered at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco for a Confederation of Clubs meeting. Upon arrival of a large contingent of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, mass violence erupted in the parking lot of Twin Peaks between members of the Bandidos and members of the Cossasks Motorcycle Club. This resulted in 9 dead and 18 wounded in the melee between the rival outlaw motorcycle gangs. In 2019, all remaining charges were dropped by the new District Attorney, Barry Johnson.

Elected leadership[edit]

Legislative representation Name Service
United States Congress, District 17 Pete Sessions 2019 – Present
State Senator, District 22 Brian Birdwell 2010 – Present
State Representative, District 56 Charles Doc Anderson 2005 – Present
State Representative, District 12 Kyle Kacal 2011 – Present
County Elected Leadership Name Service
County Judge Scott Felton 2012 – Present
County Commissioner Pct 1 Jim Smith 2009 – Present
County Commissioner Pct 2 Pat Chisolm-Miller 2019 – Present
County Commissioner Pct 3 Will Jones 2013 – Present
County Commissioner Pct 4 Ben Perry 2011 – Present
District Attorney Barry Johnson 2019 – Present
District Clerk Jon Gimble 2015 – Present
County Clerk Andy Harwell 1995 – Present
County Sheriff Parnell McNamara 2013 – Present
County Tax Assessor-Collector Randy Riggs 2012 – Present
County Treasurer Bill Helton 2012 – Present, 1991 - 2010[8]
Local Judiciary Name Service
Tenth Court of Appeals, Chief Tom Gray 2003 – Present, 1999 - 2003 Associate Justice
Tenth court of Appeals, Place 2 Matt Johnson 2021 – Present, 2007 - 2020 Judge 54TH District Court[9]
Tenth court of Appeals, Place 3 John Neil 2019 – Present, 1998 - 2019 Judge 18TH District Court[10]
State District Judge, 19TH Court Thomas West 2021 – Present
State District Judge, 54TH Court Susan Kelly 2021 – Present
State District Judge, 74TH Court Gary Coley, Jr. 2009 – Present
State District Judge, 170TH Court Jim Meyer 2003 – Present
State District Judge, 414TH Court Vicki Menard 2006 – Present, Local Administrative Judge
County Court at Law Judge, Court 1 Vikram 'Vik' Deivanayagam 2018 – Present
County Court at Law Judge, Court 2 Brad Cates 2011 – Present

Politics[edit]

Similar to other counties in the Texas Triangle with mid sized cities, the county is reliably Republican, having last voted Democratic in 1976.

United States presidential election results for McLennan County, Texas[11]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 59,543 60.84% 36,688 37.49% 1,641 1.68%
2016 48,260 61.03% 27,063 34.22% 3,752 4.74%
2012 47,903 64.26% 25,694 34.47% 944 1.27%
2008 49,044 61.56% 29,998 37.65% 632 0.79%
2004 52,090 65.73% 26,760 33.76% 404 0.51%
2000 43,955 63.90% 23,462 34.11% 1,372 1.99%
1996 30,666 48.61% 27,050 42.88% 5,367 8.51%
1992 28,473 40.67% 25,903 37.00% 15,640 22.34%
1988 38,606 58.12% 27,545 41.47% 272 0.41%
1984 42,232 64.40% 23,206 35.39% 140 0.21%
1980 31,968 53.71% 26,305 44.20% 1,242 2.09%
1976 25,370 45.33% 30,091 53.76% 509 0.91%
1972 33,377 67.45% 15,947 32.23% 161 0.33%
1968 15,958 34.22% 22,388 48.00% 8,293 17.78%
1964 10,892 27.68% 28,429 72.25% 25 0.06%
1960 14,926 42.46% 20,100 57.17% 130 0.37%
1956 15,561 48.85% 16,181 50.80% 111 0.35%
1952 14,974 46.39% 17,251 53.45% 53 0.16%
1948 3,088 15.32% 16,034 79.55% 1,035 5.13%
1944 1,668 8.95% 15,336 82.31% 1,627 8.73%
1940 2,178 11.99% 15,952 87.82% 35 0.19%
1936 1,116 8.11% 12,489 90.77% 154 1.12%
1932 1,108 8.40% 11,972 90.80% 105 0.80%
1928 5,744 51.81% 5,330 48.07% 13 0.12%
1924 2,384 22.24% 7,882 73.52% 455 4.24%
1920 1,655 21.19% 4,975 63.71% 1,179 15.10%
1916 940 15.53% 4,979 82.26% 134 2.21%
1912 295 6.38% 3,829 82.79% 501 10.83%

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,060 square miles (2,700 km2), of which 1,037 square miles (2,690 km2) are land and 23 square miles (60 km2) (2.2%) are covered by water.[12]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18606,206
187013,500117.5%
188026,93499.5%
189039,20445.6%
190059,77252.5%
191073,25022.5%
192082,92113.2%
193098,68219.0%
1940101,8983.3%
1950130,19427.8%
1960150,09115.3%
1970147,553−1.7%
1980170,75515.7%
1990189,12310.8%
2000213,51712.9%
2010234,90610.0%
2020260,57910.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1850–2010[14] 2020[15]
McLennan County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[16] Pop 2020[15] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 138,295 139,693 58.87% 53.61%
Black or African American alone (NH) 33,892 36,130 14.43% 13.87%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 704 901 0.30% 0.35%
Asian alone (NH) 3,128 4,873 1.33% 1.87%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 84 146 0.04% 0.06%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 235 1,065 0.10% 0.41%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 3,097 9,184 1.32% 3.52%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 55,471 68,587 23.61% 26.32%
Total 234,906 260,579 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

As of the census of 2000,[17] 213,517 people, 78,859 households, and 52,914 families resided in the county. The population density was 205 people per square mile (79/km2). The 84,795 housing units averaged 81 per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 72.17% White, 15.19% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 1.07% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 9.21% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. About 17.91% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race; 12.8% were of German, 11.0% American, 8.0% English, and 6.9% Irish ancestry.

Of the 78,859 households, 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.70% were married couples living together, 13.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were not families. About 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was distributed as 26.60% under the age of 18, 14.60% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 19.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,560, and for a family was $41,414. Males had a median income of $30,906 versus $21,978 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,174. About 12.40% of families and 17.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.70% of those under age 18 and 11.30% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Colleges[edit]

Public school districts[edit]

Communities[edit]

Cities (multiple counties)[edit]

Cities[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "McLennan County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties in Texas: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 (CO-EST2021-POP-48).
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 194.
  5. ^ "McLennan County Courthouse".
  6. ^ a b "The Crash at the Crush". Texas Historical Commission. Archived from the original on November 21, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Scott Joplin, "The Great Crush Collision" sheet music (Temple, TX: John R. Fuller, 1896). See Bill Edwards, Rags and Pieces by Scott Joplin. Archived June 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Commissioners name new county judge, treasurer".
  9. ^ "TJB | 10th COA | About the Court | Justices | Justice Matt Johnson".
  10. ^ "TJB | 10th COA | About the Court | Justices | Justice John e. Neill". Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  11. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  14. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - McLennan County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  16. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - McLennan County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°33′N 97°12′W / 31.55°N 97.20°W / 31.55; -97.20