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  Texas : Architecture : Rooms with a Past

ROOMS WITH A PAST - TEXAS HOTELS BUILT BEFORE 1950

THE ALCALDE HOTEL
Gonzales, Texas

Contributed by Murray Montgomery
Gonzales Inquirer

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Alcalde Hotel, Gonzales, Texas
Alcalde Hotel Gonzales Texas
The Alcalde Hotel Today

Photos Courtesy Murray Montgomery
Introduction
by Murray Montgomery


The old building is quiet now.

Noisy chatter from local coffee drinkers in the dining room, has been replaced by silence - except for the distant sound of buzzing hair clippers from Vic and Joe's barber shop - the Alcalde Hotel is a serene reminder of another time.

In 1925, big plans were being made to build a modern hotel in Gonzales. A hotel committee had been formed and potential investors had been contacted. In March of 1926, the dream became a reality as the new hotel on St. Paul street was ready for business.

The following (edited) article appeared in The Gonzales Inquirer on July 10, 1925, and it contains a detailed description of the "new" Alcalde Hotel.

Three-Story Structure, Costing Complete, $40,000, to be Built On Saint Paul Street
Big Cash Forfeit in Bank
Work to Be Rushed


Gonzales will soon boast another hotel, final papers having been signed late Thursday afternoon that insure for the city a new and thoroughly up to date hostelry of three stories, and containing no less than forty bed rooms.

This achievement is the result of B.B. Hoskins, Jr., who is the recognized business manager of the project.

"Cap" Smith has the contract for the erection of the building, which will be located on the lot recently purchased by Mrs. H. Droupy, and which adjoins the Hoskins Mercantile building on the north. The lot faces west on St. Paul street, and is a desirable location for a hotel, being as it is about midway between the court house and the railway depot, on a good thoroughfare.

The site of the proposed building has long been occupied by a large sheet iron building occupied by a blacksmith shop, and this will be torn down immediately in order that work may begin on the new structure. The contract calls for active work to begin on the building within fourteen days after the signing of the contract.

The building has been leased for a period of ten years to Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Hood, who come highly recommended both as citizens and as experienced hotel people, who are now temporarily located in San Antonio, but who expect to have their household effects shipped to this city as soon as possible.

They have opened and successfully conducted hotels in different parts of the country. After traveling over this section of Texas they came to the conclusion that Gonzales was a good place in which to locate, with the result that Gonzales' ambition for a new, modern hotel will soon be a reality.

Plans for the building have already been drawn, and as soon as the lot can be cleared, active work will start. The building with furnishings, will cost about $40,000, and while no special line of architecture will be followed, the building will be modern in every detail and a credit to the city.

It will have a frontage of 44 feet on St. Paul Street, running back for a distance of 108 feet. The first or ground floor, will have a plate glass front, and will consist of a vestibule in the center, 27x7 feet, leading into the lobby, which will be 32x32 feet with an additional entrance on the south side of the building.

The coffee room, 10x33 feet in size, will adjoin the lobby on the south, while a barber shop 10x15 feet, will be a feature on the north side front. A 6 foot hallway will extend from the lobby, and on the south side of this hallway will be located the dining room, 20x42 feet in size. The kitchen will adjoin the dining room on the east.

To the rear of the lobby, and north of the hallway, will be a 14x20 foot sample room. A well-appointed wash room and a storeroom will adjoin this. There will be two large bedrooms on the east end of the first floor.

On the second and third floors will be located 38 bedrooms, 19 on each floor, and each room will have outside exposure, with mullion windows. There will be three hallways on each of the two upper floors, one 10x80 feet, extending from east to west, while two halls will extend from north to south.

There will be 17 bathrooms in the building, as well as many other modern conveniences. There will be no elevator service in the building, as in a structure of but three stories it would entail much unnecessary overhead expense.

However, the walls are to be built strong enough to support one or two additional stories should the building prove too small, and in that event elevators would no doubt be added.

A large cash fund was deposited in a local bank Friday morning by Mr. and Mrs. Hood as a guarantee of good faith, and the work of giving Gonzales another first-class and much needed hotel will go forward rapidly.

To Mr. Baker Hoskins, Jr. belongs most of the credit for the new enterprise, for he has worked untiringly and in the face of many difficulties, to bring the matter to a successful culmination.

Editor's Introduction : Our special thanks to Murray Montgomery of The Gonzales Inquirer for allowing us to print the story of the Alcalde Hotel. Mr. Montgomery writes a historical column for the paper called Times Past. If your newspaper doesn't have a historical column, call them and ask them why not. Murray is also a professional photographer and graciously supplied us with the photos you see here. - Ed
Editor's Note
The Alcalde is number Four in our series of Texas Hotels called Rooms with a Past. The series will continue until we run out of hotels, or the editor dies - whichever occurs first.

When visiting Gonzales, try to find a copy of the book Ghosts of Gonzales by local resident Leon Netardus. Available in some of Gonzales' better restaurants. In addition to the Alcalde, various other buildings in town are said to be haunted - including the Gonzales County Courthouse. - Ed

September , 2000
Readers' Comments
My wife and I REALLY enjoyed the article regarding the old hotel, located in Gonzales, by Murray Montgomery. We have read other historic articles written by this dedicated journalist and he seems to put a lot of interest and soul into the research. We hope that more of his articles will appear in future editions of Texas Escapes. Incidentally we enjoy all of the articles and information within Texas Escapes. - W.L. Morgan, Retired, USAF, September 05, 2000

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