TexasEscapes.com  
HOME : : NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : BUILDINGS : : IMAGES : : ARCHIVE : : SITE MAP
PEOPLE : : PLACES : : THINGS : : HOTELS : : VACATION PACKAGES
TEXAS TOWNS
Texas Escapes
Online Magazine
Texas | Columns | All Things Historical

A FRONTIER INN

by Bob Bowman

Area Hotels - Book Here > Navasota Hotels
Bob Bowman
During the early days of the Republic of Texas, stagecoaches rumbled across East Texas, carrying passengers from one distant community to another.

But passengers who were unlikely to have friends and relatives conveniently living in certain communities found overnight lodging hard to come by.

Some roadside homeowners saw the need and opened their homes to the passengers. As a result, many pioneer homes evolved into some of East Texas' best known stagecoach inns.

One such place was the Fanthorp Inn in Anderson, today maintained as a state historical park with many of its original furnishings.
Fanthorp Inn, Anderson  Texas
Fanthorp Inn
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, May 2008
Houston Chronicle writer Susan Love Fitts recently called the inn "the Hyatt Regency of its day, probably worthy of a five-star rating if such designations had been issued in the mid -19th century."

Henry Fanthorp, an Englishmen who migrated to Texas in 1832, and his wife Rachel founded the Inn in the l840s to serve stagecoach passengers passing the dogtrot log house he built in 1834.
Henry Fanthorp  of Fanthorp InnTX
Rachel Fanthorp of Fanthorp InnTX
Henry and Rachel Fanthorp
Photo Courtesy Fantrop Inn State Historic Site
The house was expanded by Fanthorp between 1848 and 1859 to accommodate more guests and soon became known as the Fanthorp Inn. The Fanthorps' parlor became a room where travelers could rest on their journey.

The stagecoaches not only carried East Texans and the mail, but newcomers seeking new lives for their families in Texas, where land was plentiful, fertile and inexpensive.

Anderson residents picked up their mail at the inn (Fanthorp was the postmaster) and received news of other Texas communities from travelers. Visitors could be seen playing a game of cards or reading one of the two newspapers Fanthorp subscribed to, including the Galveston News.

The inn also became a community center, a polling place, the site of dances and community parties, and the founding site for a Masonic Lodge and a Methodist church.

Business was brisk in the town, which at the time was known as Alta Mira, meaning high view. An early victim of annexation, Alta Mira lost its identity in 1846 when Grimes County was organized and the settlement was absorbed into Anderson.

Fanthorp, a shrewd businessman, served liquor in the parlor, guaranteeing the return of the men of the community as well as traveling men. Women seldom traveled in those days.

General Sam Houston, a friend of Fanthorp, was a frequent visitor. So were Anson Jones, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Kenneth Anderson, the last vice president of the Republic of Texas and the man for whom Anderson was named.

Just outside the dining room was the kitchen, where slaves prepared meals. A nearby cistern became a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a contributor to yellow fever, a disease that killed Henry and Rachel in 1867.

After their deaths, the Fanthorps' daughter, Mary Fanthorp Stone, took over the inn. She turned it into a private home, however, and Fanthorp descendants lived in the house until it was conveyed to the state.

Today, as a state historical site, the inn helps modern Texans understand the hardships of life on the Texas frontier in the 1850s.
Fanthorp Inn Texas Centennial Marker
Fanthorp Inn Centennial Marker
TE photo, May 2008
See Texas Centennial
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site
Fanthorp Inn Barn
TE photo, May 2008
Stagecoach Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site
Stagecoach in Storage
TE photo, May 2008
Fanthorp Inn Park Ranger
Your Host
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, May 2008
All Things Historical May 11-17, 2003 column
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical Association. Bob Bowman is a former president of the Association and author of nearly 30 books on East Texas.

Related Articles & Topics:
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site
Anderson, Texas
Navasota, Texas
Texas State Parks
Rooms with a Past

Area Hotels - Book Here >
Navasota Hotels
Custom Search
TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | HOTELS | SEARCH SITE
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

Texas Attractions
TEXAS FEATURES
People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes. All Rights Reserved