Waco, Texas, the seat of McLennan County. It lies at the junction of the Bosque and Brazos rivers in east-central Texas, about 85 miles (137 km) south of Dallas. Waco is an industrial city and the marketing and distribution center for a large agricultural area that produces cotton, grain, livestock, and dairy products. Chief industries include the manufacturing of glass, clothing, tires, lumber, furniture, and food products.
The main campus of Baylor University is in Waco. The university's Armstrong Browning Library has the world's largest collection of works by and related to Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Cameron Park and Lake Waco, a reservoir on the Bosque River, are major recreation areas. Historical structures here include several 19th-century mansions.
Waco has the council-manager form of government.
Waco was laid out in 1849 on the site of a Hueco Indian village and soon became a major crossing point on the Brazos River. Waco was a center of the Texas secessionist movement and lost many of its men in the Civil War. After the war it was a rugged frontier town until the railroad reached it in 1881, introducing a commerce-based economy. Steady growth and industrialization have marked the 20th century.