Celebrating Texas Independence Day with a look back at Central Texas history

Celebrating Texas Independence Day with a look back at Central Texas history
Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 15:01:11-04

Friday marked 182 years since Texas declared its Independence from Mexico. On this day in 1836, the Republic of Texas was formed.

To celebrate Texas Independence Day, Central Texas News Now anchors Makenzi Henderson and Seth Kovar chose some of the things in our area that help make Texas, Texas.

We started with "The Great Place," or Fort Hood. Back in 1942, the Army needed a wide-open space to train soldiers during World War II.

What better place than Central Texas?

Today, more than 45,000 soldiers call it home. That's truly Texas-sized.

We then took it back 70 years and up to Waco. The Brazos River posed a challenge for cowboys pushing cattle along the Chisholm Trail.

Historians said that is why engineers came up with the idea for the Waco Suspension Bridge.

It opened in 1870 and it cost five cents ahead to cross the bridge to the other side of the Brazos helping Texas cement its reputation as "King Cattle."

Also in Downtown Waco, another industry left its mark on the city and state.

In 1911, the Amicable Life Insurance Company built a 22-story building at the corner of Austin Avenue and 5th Street. It became the second oldest skyscraper in Texas.

Something, however, was missing.

Renovations came in 1966. Those included the iconic and large, red, neon letters spelling out the company's acronym, ALICO.

Farther north we went to West. It is a haven for Czech culture and the home of a pit stop for sweet-tooths from all over.

The Czech Stop opened in 1983 and has since been featured on a number of TV shows including Oprah.

While you can fill up your tank and grab a cold drink, the big draw is the Kolaches.

People come from far and wide for the dollops of sweetened fruit surrounded by pillows of pastry.

Finally, the tie that binds it all together is interstate 35. It goes north to south, spanning almost the entire length of Texas. It ends just short of the Mexican border in Laredo.

Portions of the highway have been under construction or renovations since the 1950s.

Efforts to expand the highway to three lanes in both directions in Central Texas are causing traffic problems, but with the Texas population booming, state leaders said these growing pains are worth it.

That is just scratching the surface.

If you have some other Central Texas landmarks that played a big role in Texas history, we would love to hear about them.

We encourage you to like and reach out to us on our Facebook pages, Makenzi Henderson KXXV and Seth Kovar KXXV.

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