Old Branch Davidian Swimming Pool – Waco, Texas - Atlas Obscura
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Waco, Texas

Old Branch Davidian Swimming Pool

All that remains of cult leader David Koresh's original besieged Texas compound is a stagnant concrete pool. 

While the Branch Davidian religion is still around, it is now known only as, “The Branch” after one of their leaders, David Koresh, famously staged a 51-day standoff with the FBI that resulted in a tragic siege, wiping their entire compound off the face of Texas. All that remains of the original compound is a concrete pool in the ground.

Koresh’s infamous stand-off with local police and FBI began in February of 1993, when a team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms attempted to enter the compound on suspicion that the Davidians were stockpiling weapons. Their fears were realized when the Koresh’s flock opened fire on the agents and began one of America’s most troubling stand-offs.

The Davidians (eventually moving to call themselves Koreshians) holed up in their Mount Carmel complex while FBI, Texas state officers, ATF, and even military forces amassed at their gates. The tense stand-off ended after 51 days when the FBI tear-gassed the compound to force people out, and subsequently attacked the premises with armored vehicles, gunfire, and grenades. In the end 76 Davidians were killed in the assault, including Koresh. During the siege, a fire broke out in the compound (the origins of which are more than a little fishy according to some conspiracy-minded folks), and the entire complex was razed.

However, one of the original structures still remains. The concrete in-ground swimming pool, which was built for the recreation of the Davidians and was used as a bunker during the siege, still remains on the site. The pool is made of solid, poured concrete and was clearly custom made by Koresh’s followers. It is now generally either empty or filled with brackish water and no longer good for practicing your backstroke, or providing defense.     

There is also a monument located on the grounds with the names of those who had passed away. 

Know Before You Go

In the past, there have been reports of a white dog that will bark at you if you get too close to his turf. He has tried to block vehicles and seemed aggressive. Use caution when exploring the area. The dog is definitely aggressive and makes it difficult to exit vehicles to pay the "suggested donation" to enter.