McLennan County, Texas

McLennan County, Texas
McLennan County, Texas
Mcclennan courthouse.jpg
The McLennan County courthouse in Waco.
Map of Texas highlighting McLennan County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1850
Seat Waco
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,060 sq mi (2,745 km²)
1,042 sq mi (2,699 km²)
18 sq mi (47 km²), 1.73%
 - (2000)
 - Density

205/sq mi (79/km²)

McLennan County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas. In 2000, its population was 213,517; in 2008 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population to be 230,213.[1] Its seat is Waco[2]. The county is named for Neil McLennan, an early settler.

The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area includes all of McLennan County.



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,060 square miles (2,700 km2), of which 1,042 square miles (2,700 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (1.73%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-35.svg Interstate 35
  • US 77.svg U.S. Highway 77
  • US 84.svg U.S. Highway 84
  • Texas 6.svg State Highway 6
  • Texas 31.svg State Highway 31
  • Texas 164.svg State Highway 164

Adjacent counties


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 213,517 people, 78,859 households, and 52,914 families residing in the county. The population density was 205 people per square mile (79/km²). There were 84,795 housing units at an average density of 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. 17.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.8% were of German, 11.0% American, 8.0% English and 6.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 78,859 households out of which 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 non-families. 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 spread out with 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 the median income 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.


McLennan County was created by the Texas Legislature in 1850 out of Milam County. The county seat, Waco, had been founded originally as an outpost of the Texas Rangers, laid out by George Erath, and was known by 1850 as "Waco Village." 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, racial violence disrupted county life, culminating in two major Ku Klux Klan marches (one in Waco and another in Lorena) and the public lynching of numerous Black citizens. (One such public lynching is the catalyst behind a "Lynching Resolution" being discussed by both the Waco City Council and the McLennan County Commissioners Court.) McLennan County's contributions to World War II include the reopening of Rich Field, Doris Miller (awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at Pearl Harbor, also the first African American to earn such distinction), and James Connally (a locally famous World War II fighter pilot).

Institutions of Higher Education

In 1886, Baylor University relocated from Independence, Texas, to Waco absorbing 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 created the first community college to use those words in the name, McLennan Community College. 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 remain in McLennan County and absorb a large portion of the college-bound high school graduates from the County and the surrounding areas.

Crash at Crush

Crush, Texas, was a short-lived town 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 heavy promotion, on September 15, 1896 the event was delayed by several hours as the police maneuvered the crowd of over 40,000 back to what was thought to be a safe distance. 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 of 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.[4]

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin commemorated the event with "The Great Crush Collision March"; Joplin dedicated the composition to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway.[5] Texas composer and singer Brian Burns wrote and recorded a song about the collision, The Crash at Crush, in 2001.

Cities and towns

† Partly in Falls County
†† Mostly in Falls County
††† Partly in Coryell County
†††† Mostly in Bosque County

Educational institutions


Public School Districts

See also


  1. ^ US Census Bureau. "McLennan County". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Crash at Crush historical marker.
  5. ^ Scott Joplin, "The Great Crush Collision" sheet music (Temple, TX: John R. Fuller, 1896). See Bill Edwards, Rags and Pieces by Scott Joplin.

External links

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

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