History of the McLennan County Historical Commission

The McLennan County Historical Commission, henceforth called the Commission, is the culmination of two forerunners—McLennan County Historical Society and the McLennan County Historical Survey Committee. Both organizations have been precursors to the development of this Commission.

  • The McLennan County Historical Society was established on Saturday, 17 May 1924, according to an article appearing in the 18 May 1924 issue of the Waco Times-Herald. Sixty-eight to 80 people enrolled as charter members met at the Hotel Raleigh. Meetings were held yearly each October. Judge William Sleeper was elected as the first chairman.
  • The Society was affiliated with “the State historical association; its purpose being the discovery, collection, preservation, and publication of historical records and data relating to McLennan County, Texas.”
  • Between 1938 and 1953, activities of the McLennan County Historical Society apparently lagged somewhat perhaps due in part to the impact of WWII and the Korean War.
  • By 1954, McLennan County was fortunate to have the leadership and counsel of Mrs. Margaret Barclay Megarity, who labored as a member or founder of several historic and preservation organizations in both Waco and Austin. She served 12 years as the chairperson of the McLennan County Historical Survey Committee.
  • Waco historian, Roger Conger announced in the Waco News-Tribune (on 6 Dec 1968) that the McLennan County Historical Survey Committee would revive the work begun by the earlier county historical society and cordially invited Wacoans to visit the historic Hatfield Plantation.
  • The inaugural meeting to organize the Commission, formerly called McLennan County Historical Survey Committee, was held on Wednesday, 10 Dec 1975, at 2:30 pm in the McLennan county courthouse (based on minutes of the Commission).
  • The first chairman of the Commission was Robert “Bob” E. Davis (1975-1977) and the first Commission Secretary was Carleen Bright. After 1975, placement of markers on sites of historical interest throughout the County became the principal work of the Commission.
  • The base of operations for the Commission shifted from the McLennan County Courthouse initially to various other locations throughout the County. However, beginning in 2017, under Chairman Clint Lynch, the Oakwood Cemetery Conference room became the principal base of operations for nearly all of the subsequent Commission meetings.
  • Today, the Commission is comprised of 14 members who serve on a voluntary basis. Each member possesses an uncommon amount of passion and interest to protect and preserve the history of McLennan County. Meetings are held monthly.
MCHC resumes work of Survey Committee and budgeted $600 annually.