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McLennan County, Texas facts for kids

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McLennan County
The McLennan County Courthouse in Waco
The McLennan County Courthouse in Waco
Map of Texas highlighting McLennan County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1850
Named for Neil McLennan
Seat Waco
Largest city Waco
 • Total 1,060 sq mi (2,700 km2)
 • Land 1,037 sq mi (2,690 km2)
 • Water 23 sq mi (60 km2)  2.2%
 • Total 263,115
 • Estimate 
 • Density 248.2/sq mi (95.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 17th

McLennan County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 260,579 . Its county seat and largest city is Waco. The U.S. census 2021 county population estimate is 263,115. The county is named for Neil McLennan, an early settler.

McLennan County is included in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area.


McLennan County was created by the Texas Legislature in 1850 out of Milam County. The county seat, Waco, had been founded as an outpost of the Texas Rangers, laid out by George B. Erath, and was known by 1850 as "Waco Village." According to local lore, the first sustained flight did not occur in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but just outside Tokio (a small community in McLennan County) by a man flying a gyrocopter. During World War I, McLennan County was home to at least one military airfield, Rich Field. McLennan County's contributions to World War II include the reopening of Rich Field, Doris Miller (awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at Pearl Harbor, also the first African American to earn such distinction), and James Connally (a locally famous World War II fighter pilot).

Institutions of higher education

In 1886, Baylor University relocated from Independence, Texas, to Waco and absorbed Waco University. During the early 20th century, McLennan County was home to as many as five colleges; in addition to Baylor, the other colleges included the predecessor to what is now known as Texas Christian University (now in Fort Worth), Paul Quinn College (relocated since to Dallas), and two other short-lived colleges. In the 1960s, the Texas Legislature created the first community college to use those words in the name, McLennan Community College. Around the same time, what is now the flagship institution of Texas State Technical College was founded as James Connally Technical Institute, as a member of the Texas A&M University System. Today, Baylor, McLennan Community College, and Texas State Technical College remain in McLennan County and absorb a large portion of the college-bound high school graduates from the county and the surrounding areas.

Crash at Crush

Crush, Texas, was a short-lived town in McLennan County, about 15 miles (24 km) north of Waco. It was established to stage a publicity stunt concocted by William George Crush and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The stunt involved the collision of two 35-ton steam locomotives in front of spectators whom the railway transported to the event for $2 each. After heavy promotion, on September 15, 1896, the event was delayed by several hours as the police maneuvered the crowd of over 40,000 back to what was thought to be a safe distance. The crews of the two engines tied the throttles open and jumped off. The two engines, pulling wagons filled with railroad ties, traveled a 4-mile (6.4 km) track and thunderously crashed into each other at a combined speed of up to 120 mph (190 km/h). The boilers exploded and sent steam and flying debris into the crowd. Three people were killed and about six were injured, including event photographer Jarvis "Joe" Deane, who lost an eye because of a flying bolt.

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin commemorated the event with "The Great Crush Collision March"; Joplin dedicated the composition to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway. Texas composer and singer Brian Burns wrote and recorded a song about the collision, The Crash at Crush, in 2001.

West fertilizer plant explosion

Waco Siege

Twin Peaks biker shootout

In May 17, 2015, motorcycle clubs gathered at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco for a Confederation of Clubs meeting. Upon arrival of a large contingent of the Bandidos Motorycle Club mass violence erupted in the parking lot of Twin Peaks between members of the Bandidos and members of the Cossasks Motorcycle Club resulting in 9 dead and 18 wounded in the melee between the rival outlaw motorcycle gangs.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,060 square miles (2,700 km2), of which 1,037 square miles (2,690 km2) is land and 23 square miles (60 km2) (2.2%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,206
1870 13,500 117.5%
1880 26,934 99.5%
1890 39,204 45.6%
1900 59,772 52.5%
1910 73,250 22.5%
1920 82,921 13.2%
1930 98,682 19.0%
1940 101,898 3.3%
1950 130,194 27.8%
1960 150,091 15.3%
1970 147,553 −1.7%
1980 170,755 15.7%
1990 189,123 10.8%
2000 213,517 12.9%
2010 234,906 10.0%
2020 260,579 10.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2020

2020 census

McLennan County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 138,295 139,693 58.87% 53.61%
Black or African American alone (NH) 33,892 36,130 14.43% 13.87%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 704 901 0.30% 0.35%
Asian alone (NH) 3,128 4,873 1.33% 1.87%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 84 146 0.04% 0.06%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 235 1,065 0.10% 0.41%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 3,097 9,184 1.32% 3.52%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 55,471 68,587 23.61% 26.32%
Total 234,906 260,579 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


Cities (multiple counties)



Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities



Public school districts

  • Axtell Independent School District
  • Bosqueville Independent School District
  • China Spring Independent School District
  • Crawford Independent School District
  • Connally Independent School District
  • Gholson Independent School District
  • Hallsburg Independent School District
  • La Vega Independent School District
  • Lorena Independent School District
  • Mart Independent School District
  • McGregor Independent School District
  • Midway Independent School District
  • Moody Independent School District
  • Oglesby Independent School District
  • Riesel Independent School District
  • Robinson Independent School District
  • Valley Mills Independent School District
  • Waco Independent School District
  • West Independent School District

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de McLennan para niños

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