Some people are sifting through Waco's past in hopes of restoring a piece of the city's Hispanic culture.
As a part of Texas Archaeological Awareness Month, the Central Texas Archaeological Society and the Waco Hispanic Museum hosted its second annual La Pila Archaeological Field School at Indian Springs Middle School.
At what's now the corner of University Parks and Jefferson streets, the La Pila fountain was once a cultural epicenter of the city's Hispanic community. But it was buried and crafted into a hill during urban renewal in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Katherine Turner-Pearson, the principal investigating archaeologist, is leading the excavation of the fountain. As a native Wacoan, she knows the importance of preserving the memories of the people who congregated around the site years ago.
“Urban renewal just said 'oh well those are just cheap houses. Oh that's a blighted community. It'll be better if we just tear them down.' And they forgot that was a community,” Turner-Pearson said.
The ultimate goal of the dig is to restore as much of the fountain as possible and to officially mark the site as historical. Waco Hispanic Museum Chairman Louis Garcia said it’s important for the community to help make it happen.
“By doing this, the Hispanic community will get out more and do different things. They’ll get more involved in the city,” Garcia said.
Organizers say they need the public's help to fund the project. Turner-Pearson says it may take $20,000 to $30,000 to properly finish the project.
“If anyone else wants to donate some stuff, I have a wish list of things we need. So far that's the only way we've gotten any money. So we're really needing money on this project,” Turner-Pearson said.
People who want to donate can contact the Waco Hispanic Museum. For more information you can call (254) 548-9730.
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