Located 90 mi/145 km south of Dallas and about halfway to Austin, Waco (pronounced WAY-ko) straddles the Brazos River, and it was the river that gave the town its start. At one time, back in the 1800s, Waco was known mainly as the site of a ferry that settlers used to cross the wide river. The ferry produced enough local revenue that the town elders commissioned a toll bridge to replace the ferry. Designed by John Roebling, the genius behind the Brooklyn Bridge, the long suspension bridge is still used for pedestrian traffic.
Much to the chagrin of town leaders, Waco is perhaps best-known for the deadly confrontation between the Branch Davidian religious group and federal agents that took place in 1993.
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