Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of Meta Slider’s that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, street scenes, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.
The Roosevelt Tower, Waco, TX
1940s Postcard, and Recent Photo by Geoff Hunt, The Texas Collection, Baylor University
The Roosevelt Tower located on 400 Austin Avenue, Waco, Texas, was one of the first Hilton Hotels built when it was constructed in 1927.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts claims that upon the opening of their Waco facility in 1927, it included some of their “most important, guest-focused firsts along the way.” It was the chain’s “first hotel with cold running water and air-conditioning in the public rooms.”
It was designed by Milton Scott whose work in Waco includes what is now the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, and also assisted in the design of Waco High School on Columbus Avenue.
In the early 1930s, Hilton Hotels sold the Waco facility and then it became a locally owned establishment and was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It operated until 1961.
It was spared the wrath of the Waco Tornado of 1953 and its original architecture was maintained during the Urban Renewal Agency of Waco’s changes to the city in the 1960s.
In 1963, it became the Regis-St. Elizabeth’s Retirement Center. This former hotel then offered luxurious living spaces for decades until moving to Providence Park in the 2000s.
In 2008, after undergoing years of extensive renovation, it reopened as the Roosevelt Tower. Its 12 floors now occupy office spaces and its original ballroom still holds events including high school proms.
“Historic site’s ‘new deal.'” Waco Tribune-Herald. December 29, 2008.
“Reclaiming Roosevelt.” Waco Tribune-Herald. February 19, 2006.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts: “A History of Firsts” accessed March 6, 2018
Pakis Giotes Page & Burleson, Attorneys at Law: “The Roosevelt Tower” accessed March 6, 2018 http://www.pakislaw.com/about/the-roosevelt-tower/
Text and Meta Sliders by Geoff Hunt