McGregor was established in 1882 at the junction of the St. Louis Narrow Gauge and the Santa Fe Railroads 14 miles west of Waco. It was originally named McGregor Springs in honor of Dr. G. C. McGregor. The historic downtown district dates from 1900, with highlights includiing an old-fashioned hardware store, antiques, arts, crafts, and gift shops. The McGregor Mirror office displays antique printing equipment used to publish the McGregor Plaindealer.
Some of McGregor's major industries are a filing equipment supplier, a cargo trailer factory, the A&M beef cattle research station, two grain mills, and a plumbing distribution. Amtrak's Texas Eagle from Chicago to Los Angeles stops in McGregor, the only Amtrak station in McLennan County.