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The Historical Story
of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
With two railroads and the influence of two lively newspapers (the Bee and the Picayune), Beeville experienced a steady, healthy growth through the 1890s.
In 1878, Captain A. C. Jones, who owned property surrounding the Public Square, offered to donate a building site to anyone who would build a first‑class hotel. Francis M. Ellis, who owned a hotel at Saint Marys, decided to accept the offer, since Beeville had become the most important town between San Antonio and the coast. John Impson Sr. was given the contract to dismantle the hostelry, move the lumber to Beeville, and erect a new hotel at the corner of Washington and Corpus Christi Streets, where the Mobil Service Station now stands.
Whit Parchman was employed to move the lumber to Beeville, which was brought in large freight wagons pulled by eight and fen‑horse teams, Mrs. Madray relates. Each piece of timber was numbered in order to rebuild the structure lust as it had stood in Saint Marys.
The hotel dimensions were 50x50 feet, with two stories ''and a large hall in the attic which was used as a ballroom and for stage shows.'' Captain Jones loaned Mr. Ellis $3,500 to finance the project, and this amount, with interest, was paid at the end of three years. During the I 890s a third story was added. Among the early boarders were J. C. Beasley, A. P. Smith, and Tom and Dick Skaggs.
The lodging house was first called the Ellis Hotel. A livery stable was built immediately west of the hotel for the convenience of the patrons who desired to rent horses and buggies during their stay in town. The storm of 1886 demolished the stable, wrecking some of the fine vehicles. Shortly before the storm Mr. Ellis sold the hotel to Sid Howard, who called it the Howard House. After the hurricane he sold the wrecked stable to Tim Williams, who rebuilt it across the street at the location now occupied by the Commercial National Bank.
Later the name of the hotel was changed to Commercial Hotel and the inn was operated under this name until the late 1890s, when it was purchased by J. C. Short, who gave the colorful lodging house the appelation of Lindell Hotel. Mr. Short operated the business until the structure was destroyed by fire in 1908.
Other hotels during the pioneer period included:
The Barclay Hotel, built by the father of the late J. Wilse Barclay, was erected in 1874 on lots opposite where the Post Office is now located. Following the death of Mr. Barclay, his widow leased the building to Benjamin Brown, father of Charley Brown, Robert B. Brown, and W. S. Brown and great‑grandfather of Edwin S. Brown. Benjamin Brown came to Beeville from Goliad in 1887. The following year Bob Nations moved his family from Oakville to Beeville and purchased the business, which became the Nations Hotel. Mr. Nations operated the inn until his death in 1908. His son, Walter Nations, took over the hotel, the existence of which ended when the building was destroyed by fire in 1914.
Saint Charles Hotel, built on the lot now occupied by Grant Lumber Company in the I 880s, went up in smoke during the I 890s.
The Queen Hotel was built about 1892 on lots now occupied by Lack's Furniture Store. Bob Little is believed to have been the first manager, and for a number of years the hostelry was called the Little Queen. Later operators were J. A. Campbell, father of Miss Ida Campbell and the late Mrs. L. R. (Eleanore) Hollingsworth; Giles Little; a Mrs. Percival and her son. Murray; and Mrs. Henry Snodgrass, mother of Miss Minta Snodgrass and the late Mrs. Nona Edwards. Mrs. Snodgrass managed the lodging house from 1916 until 1926, when Viggo Kohler, who owned the property, gave her the building provided she would move it off the premises. She had the structure torn down and the lumber was used to build a residence facing the San Antonio Highway, opposite the present location of Gibson's Discount Center. The home was destroyed by fire in 1938.
Hotel Kohler was built in 1932 on ground donated by Viggo Kohler, who also advanced money to get the project under way. A. V. Schvab, a retired jeweler, operated the hotel until he died, when it became the property of his daughter, Mrs. Ann Reed. It was a three-story structure, located at the corner of Washington and Cleveland Streets. Mrs. Reed married Thad Bryant, and upon her death several years ago Mr. Bryant fell heir to the business. He sold if in 1971, and it is being converted into apartments for aged people under the Beeville Housing Authority.
BANKS OF BEEVILLE
The First National Bank was organized in Beeville on December 30, 1889, when the following officers were elected: L. B. Randall, President; A. C. Jones, Vice President: J. H. O'Connor, Second Vice President; and B. W. Klipstein, Cashier. The bank opened for business early in 1890. Prior to the opening of this (first) bank in Beeville, people left their money in sacks in Captain A. C. Jones' store on the east side of the Public Square. Present officers of the institution are: W. W. Jones 11, Chairman of the Board; H. B. Hause, President; Ned Everett, Executive Vice President: Denver C. Roberts, Vice President; H. H. Laechelin Jr., Vice President Norman L. Jostes, Vice President Mrs. Isabella E. Becker, Cashier. and Mrs. Frances Hicks, Assistant Cashier.
The Commercial National Bank was organized on January 13, 1893, with the following officers: Dr. Luther B. Creath, President; A. G. Kennedy, Vice President; John 1. Clare, Second Vice President; and D. C. Stone, Cashier. The bank opened for business the following May. Present officers are: Dr. L. N. Connally, Chairman of the Board; C. B. Ellwood, President; Edwin A. Diebel, Senior Vice President and Trust Officer; J. R. Bissett, Vice President and Cashier; P. F. Malek, Vice President; and H. H. Chandler (U. S. Navy Retired), Vice President.
The Beeville Bank & Trust Company opened for business on September 8, 1906, with the following officers: J. C. Dougherty, President; A. F. Lutts, Vice President; and J. F. Burke, Cashier. During the depression the bank had some investments in a San Antonio bank that was forced to close, and in order to protect the depositors, the local institution was voluntarily closed. In 1931, it was reopened under the name of State Bank & Trust Company, with J. C. Burrows as President, and due to the good management of the officers and directors of the original bank, all depositors came through without the loss of a penny. Present officers of State Bank & Trust Company are: Henry Hall Jr., Chairman of the Board; Stanley Tegge, President; Lonnie Borroum, Vice President; Dudley Thorns, Assistant Vice President; and Mrs. Mary Alice Jones, Cashier.
First Federal Savings and Loan Association was organized on March 28, 1934, with the following officers: J. W. Brown, President; J. B. Barry, Vice President; Henry L. Atkinson, Second Vice President; Clarence Miller, Secretary‑Treasurer, and John R. Beasley, Attorney. Present officers are: W. H. Peterson, President; Laurie Hunter, Vice President; Marion Young, Secretary‑Treasurer, and John C. Beasley, Attorney.
BUSINESS FIRMS IN 1898
The files of the Beeville Bee show the following business firms were operating in Beeville during the year 1898:
M. Lichtenstein advertised that he had just returned from New York, Boston and Philadelphia and other eastern markets where he took especial pain to select the most up‑to‑date dress goods, trimmings, embroideries, and novelties for the people of Bee County and that his prices were reasonable.
Kohler & Heldenfels had ''the best furniture for the least money.''
R. H. Nations was proprietor of Nations Hotel, ''headquarters for travelers . . . The only hotel in Beeville that has been under one management for ten years. Rates $2 per day.''
Midway Saloon, next to Post Office, had the ''best stock of liquors in town.''
Max Brauer, opposite Nations Hotel (where H.E.B. Food Store is now located), advertised dry goods and groceries.
G. C. Little was proprietor of Queen Hotel. ''Under new management, tables supplied with the best fie market affords; cuisine the best; special attention paid to the trade of traveling men.,,
Beasley and Flournoy, lawyers (J. C. Beasley and John W. Flournoy) made ''land matters a specialty.''
0. Reifschlaeger, next to Commercial Hotel, sold ''Fine wines, whiskeys, and cigars . . . Best brands of all kinds of liquors always in stock . . . Jug trade a specialty.''
0. E. DuBose was owner of Blue Front Stable. "Finest outfits in town, with the largest number of vehicles and the best horses of any stable in the Southwest. Passengers sent to any point in the county at reasonable rates.''
R. B. (Dick) Taylor was ticket agent for the S. A. & A. P. Railway, which had one passenger train going south and one north daily.
G. W. Black was a dealer in staple and fancy groceries. And he said: ''Give me a call.''
Burrows Brothers said they were ''still in front with hardware, wagons, buggies, cultivators, planters, New Home sewing machines, Buck stoves, and Aermotor windmills. Also pipe, casing, and fittings. We want your trade. Money talks!''
J. M. Cary and J. T. Ballard had just purchased the stock of J. M. Weymouth ''and will replenish with everything needed to make the assortment usually carried In a drug store complete.'' The firm name was Cary & Ballard Drug Store.
Eidson & Miles said: ''The latest in shoes are Drew, Selby & Company's in oxfords and ties. All our stock of shoes are of the latest styles and makes.''
A. Haak operated a grocery store, with J. P. Buelow as manager. The advertisement stated: ''You need groceries . . . If you are like all other mortals you will in all probability starve without them, unless you can persuade the ravens to treat you as they did Elisha . . . We handle the choicest stock of groceries in Beeville. Buy them and you will grow fat.''
Tom Sonley, who owned a saddle shop, advertised buggy whips for five cents. "No use to go to a racket store for a cheap whip. We can sell them to you for five cents to seventy cents. Still, we have a regular line of genuine whalebone and other whips that are more durable and more expensive.
W. D. Messenger said: ''The Dandy is the best all‑steel mill on the market . . . All users of if say so.''
E. Meyer was proprietor of the Metropolitan Restaurant. located in ''Fritz's old stand,'' with meals served at regular hours.
L. J. Harkey advertised ''Chase's Barley Malt Whiskey, recommended and endorsed by the leading physicians as the finest stimulant and tonic for medicinal and family use; for malaria, dyspepsia and weak lungs, It is unequaled.''
Dr. H. H. Wynne, an eye, ear. nose and throat specialist, was ''permanently located in Beeville, with office in the old bank building.''
Gugenheim & Cohn announced: ''Spring is here, and our new goods are also here for your inspection. You will find prices and styles very interesting. No old goods!''
Mayes and Agee, on the north side of square, were agents for Heath & Milligan's Paints, made to wear.
A. Praeger had just received a carload of ''these justly celebrated John Deere implements . . . They will fell you the Imitations are just the same, but the prudent farmer will have none but the genuine‑those stamped with the trademark, Deere.''
C. E. Cochran & Son's Grocery related: ''Mason's fruit jars cheap! Our grocery stock is the largest and most complete in the city.''
J. W. Magill, on southwest corner of Public Square, sold buggies, wagons and plows.
Blesse Brothers advertised: ''The stallion Jersey King and a Kentucky jack . . . Will make the season of '98 at our ranch fen miles southwest of Beeville. Terms, to insure foal, $10."
R. H. Berry was proprietor of the Clare Livery Stable, with ''hacks, buggies, teams, and drummers' outfits furnished at reasonable rates on short notice.''
D. B. Saffold was local agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
J. H. Hearn and J. Wilse Barclay were making galvanized iron tanks to order, and with a new improved Champion well‑drilling machine would ''guarantee to get water or go two hundred feet.''
R. Law Lumber Co. was selling the strongest and best barbed wire at only six dollars per mile~ 2x4 and 2x6, $13.50 per 1000 feet; doors from seventy‑five cents each and windows upward from sixty‑five cents per pair.
John Zowarka owned the Empire Market and handled ''the best of fresh meats and sausages.''
William Hatter was agent for Pearl Beer.
G. O. Kennedy was proprietor of the Eclipse Market, which had ''the best of fresh beef, pork, and sausage, with honest weights.''
Dr. L. E. Parr gave special attention to diseases of the eye, ear, nose, and throat.
John Meinrath owned a bakery and featured all kinds of cakes and bread.
R. McMenemy owned a blacksmith shop.
Hill & Dougherty, attorneys at law, ''will practice in all the courts.''
Dr. E. H. McCoy, dentist, had an office over Mayes & Agee's Drug Store, making plating, crown and bridge work a specialty.
G. W. Smith, barber, was located on Washington Street near the Commercial Hotel, and featured "hot and cold baths''
Miller Brothers, Jewelers, sold watches, clocks, jewelry, and silverware. and made repairing a specialty.
Dr. A. B. Smith, a physician and surgeon, had an office in the old bank building on the east side of the square.
The capital stock of the Commercial National Bank was $50,000, and the capital stock of the First National Bank likewise was $50,000. Both institutions were domiciled in their new buildings on Washington Street.
A. Swartz Jr. and Marion Lee Robertson were proprietors of the New Meat Market, 11 next to S. L. Miller's Store.''
Dr. B. F. Seymour, a physician and surgeon, had an office at Weymouth's Drug Store.
S. L. Miller said: ''We carry as large a stock of shoes as any house in San Antonio.''
FIRST STATE EXPERIMENT STATION
Substation No. 1 in the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station system, the oldest state‑operated experiment station in Texas, was established five miles east of Beeville in 1894.
The first superintendent was S. A. McHenry, who served from 1894 to 1903. Other superintendents down the line were: J. K. Robinson, 19041906; S. A. Waschka, 1907‑1909; A. T. Potts, 1910‑191 1; E. E. Binford, 1912‑1916; 1. E. Cowart, 1917‑1923‑, Robert A. Hall, 1924‑1957, and Edward M. Neal, 1957 to the present time.
Every acre of the 450 acres owned by the station is devoted to some kind of crop or livestock investigation. The purpose of each project is to make discoveries that farmers and ranchers can carry back to their farms and ranches as practical aids for better production and improved living. While stressing the practical, the station management has never lost sight of the scientific aspects.
The station has had several changes in names, but the official appellation now is Texas A. & M. Agricultural Research Station at Beeville. Besides Superintendent Neal, the personnel includes: Dr. Bill Conrad, agronomist Carroll Lohse, technician in small grains research; Lucas Reyes, associate in the research of diseases of cotton and grains; and Mrs. Vivian Rose McGregor, secretary. Mr. Reyes has been with the station since 1937. He is a graduate of McDonald Institute in Durango, Mexico. and has taken several courses at A. & M. University.
The Historical Story
of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
Updated Thursday, December 21, 2006 21:02
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