The Story Behind Katy Ballpark at the Silos

Published on March 31, 2023

Take a walk through the grounds of the Magnolia Silos and you’ll find much of what you expect—Magnolia Market filled with products from our seasonal collection, the sweet smell of baked goods trailing from our little corner bakery, and two larger-than-life silos. However, after you grab a box of cupcakes and meander past the food truck park, you might stumble upon a scene you wouldn’t have anticipated: a baseball field.

Waco’s history with the game of baseball is unexpectedly rich, and the Silos, specifically, are home to special ground in connection to that history.

The History of Katy Park in Waco

From 1905 to 1956, Waco was alive with the thrill of minor league baseball where the Silos grounds now stand. Katy Park was originally the home field of the Waco Cubs, a minor league team that played against legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In 1930, the Cubs left Waco due to the Great Depression.

Almost two decades later in 1948, the team returned to Katy Park—this time as the Waco Pirates. Just five years after that, the infamous Waco tornado ripped through the city, leaving the ballpark (and much of the city) in ruins.

In 1956, the Pirates played their last game in Waco, ending the season with a record of 78 wins and 62 losses and finishing third in the Big State League, which folded shortly thereafter. The park was razed as a parking lot in 1965, where it sat mostly vacant for over 50 years before it caught the attention of Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Courtesy, Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Bringing the Ballpark Back to Waco

In 2020, we announced our expansion plan for the Silos grounds. Once home to just Magnolia Market and the Silos, this new 5.4 acre footprint would include a newly-renovated historic church, six lifestyle retail shops curated by Jo, and last but not least—a Wiffle ball field.

As it turned out, the Silos happened to be located on the same block that Katy Park once was. In an effort to pay homage to that history, Chip and Jo chose to include a smaller version of the field on the Silos grounds. They named it Katy Ballpark.

Now Katy Ballpark’s home plate at the Silos sits in exactly the same place as the one at Katy Park.

Honoring Legends

Katy Park had its fair share of historic moments—including playing host to baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In fact, when Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees arrived in Waco in April 1929 to play the Cubs, crowds exceeded the park’s 4,000-seat capacity, leaving standing room only. Ruth hit a line drive double straight into the crowd that afternoon.

To honor Babe and Lou, Chip commissioned statues from artist Scott Rogers to sit in the stands and watch as new legends take the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to reserve a time to play?

You do not! The field’s hours are the same as those of the Silos grounds and all are welcome to start or join a game during that time.

Do you need to bring your own equipment?

No need to bring a thing—we’ve got Wiffle balls and bats at the field so you can pick up and play any time!

Is there a time limit for playing?

No, play to your heart’s content! We do encourage sharing, though. We often see different families and groups of friends lined up to wait for their turn at-bat—it’s so fun!

Do real baseball teams play at the field?

Not anymore. It’s all friendly competition and casual pick-up games these days.

Come Play Ball at the Silos!

Having a Wiffle ball field at the Silos is fitting. Not only is it an opportunity to honor the history of our hometown, but the game of baseball itself fosters many of our values—teamwork, connection, and space to slow down in a world moving at lightspeed.

When you visit us here in Waco, we hope you’ll experience all of that and more as you swing for the fences alongside family, friends, and new teammates.

P.S. When you’re finished hitting home runs, stop by Maggie’s Sweet Shoppe, our retro-inspired food truck right across from Katy Ballpark, for a Grand Sammie—two scoops of our Wacotown Vanilla ice cream sandwiched between oversized chocolate chip cookies.

Plan your next pick-up game!