My35 Central Texas News
 Contact: Jodi Wheatley
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McLennan County Markers Make a Move

As the dust finally settles and the I-35 expansion projects north of Waco have reached their final completions, a couple of historical markers that previously resided along the highway in the stretch between West and Waco have found new homes and are again on public view.

Usually, historical markers that have to be moved due to construction are replaced along the roadway close to their original locations. In this case, though, each of these markers found a completely new home when Texas history fans took on re-homing efforts for them to improve their visibility and access.

  The great-grandsons of Gen. Richard Harrison. From left to right: John R. Harrison (San Antonio), Charles D. Harrison (Austin), William A. Harrison (Austin). The great-grandsons of Gen. Richard Harrison. From left to right: John R. Harrison (San Antonio), Charles D. Harrison (Austin), William A. Harrison (Austin).  

Kenneth Brittain, Vice Chair of the McLennan County Historical Commission, contacted the Waco District about the marker highlighting General Richard Harrison, M.D., originally placed near a now non-existent picnic area near the community of Elm Mott. Born in Mississippi, Harrison became a physician and state senator before serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, along with his three brothers. One brother was killed, and the other three were all promoted to the rank of general.

At the end of the war, General Richard Harrison joined his brothers in Central Texas and set up both a general practice and a farm in the Waco area. A leader in his church, he was also a trustee of Waco University, a predecessor of Baylor University.

After learning that General Harrison is buried in Waco's 1st St. cemetery, next to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Brittain received permission to install the refurbished marker in front of the Ranger Museum, next to a new World War 1 memorial near the Brazos River.

  The marker commemorating Gen. Richard Harrison (1821-1876). The marker commemorating Gen. Richard Harrison (1821-1876).  

The second marker commemorates the infamous "Crash at Crush," a stunt dreamed up by an employee of the Kansas-Texas Railroad (known as the K-T or "Katy" Railroad), as an entertainment spectacle in 1896. Staged south of the City of West, the crowd that gathered there for the event was so large that for the day the temporary town of Crush was the second-largest city in Texas. (For more information on the Crash at Crush event, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crush,_Texas and https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/llc01.)

Early in the construction process, the City of West requested that this marker be housed temporarily in their MKT Railroad Museum until the expansion was completed. Recently, the city began the process to make the museum the permanent home of the marker.

Updated information on the location of the historical markers will appear on the Texas Historical Commission's website atlas, which currently documents the location of more than 16,000 historical markers in the state.

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