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  Texas : Architecture : Rooms with a Past

ROOMS WITH A PAST - TEXAS HOTELS BUILT BEFORE 1950 :

THE PLAZA HOTEL
Seguin, Texas

Architect: Leo M.J. Deilmann 1916

by John Troesser

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Seguin Hotels

Seguin Texas Park Hotel postcard
The Park / Plaza Hotel and the Hanging Tree
c1935
Old postcard TE Archives
Plaza Hotel Seguin Texas today
The Plaza Hotel today
TE photo, 2000
Seguin has two excellent examples of small town hotels, as well as their beautiful Texas Theater. The other hotel in Seguin, the Aumont can be seen by clicking here for Rooms with a Past No. 5. The Grand Central is still standing but no longer in use as a hotel.

The Park Hotel (which later became the Plaza) was to be built by M. J. Dielman of San Antonio. Dielman was born in Germany and was more experienced designing churches, although he had done commercial and residential work before. From 1909 to 1912 he had been the Building Inspector of San Antonio. Dielman also owned a brick yard or two and furnished material for other Seguin businesses.

The Park, costing $75,000, opened on January 9, 1917.

Like many of the hotels built during this period, retail businesses and concessions were always included in the design. They provided the hotel with a steady, constant cash flow and always had two entrances. One was open to the street and one opened into the hotel's lobby. In the Plaza's case - the hotel lobby's entrance facing the courthouse was actually the secondary entrance.

Today, 6 or 8 businesses occupy the Plaza. The elegant lobby of delicate chicken-wire tile and marble contains many old photos of Seguin and the Hotel in its prime.

The Plaza was once the Seguin Hospital (from 1927 to 1930). When it once again became a hotel, its name was changed to the Plaza.
The Hanging Tree
Shown in the top postcard is a tall tree on the southwest corner of the property. Remember hearing "they hung him from the nearest tree"? Well, this was the nearest tree. Between the courthouse and the morgue was a convenient location, you'll have to admit.

The Plaza also once served as a dormitory for boys for the Texas Lutheran College, but we found no dates.
Seguin Texas Plaza Hotel mezzanine
View from the Mezzanine
TE photo
The Interior
In the lobby with the framed photos are four small signs that once had four clocks above them. The signs read: New York, London, Seguin and DeQueeny (Guadalupe County humor).

After the mezzanine, the steps going up change from marble to cement. The roof that was once used for dancing "under the stars" once sported one of those metal signs that added a touch of ugliness to nearly every hotel in the state.
Plaza Hotel architectural detail
The architectural details of the Plaza are actually cast cement instead of terra cotta or plaster.
TE photo
The Plaza is only a short distance from Sebastopol, one of the first structures in Texas to be made from poured concrete (limecrete). Sebastopol is a State Historic Site and is found on Seguin's driving tour.
Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/sebastop/sebastop.htm
More information, on the Plaza Hotel can be found by clicking here for Seguin Hotel Wars.

We were fortunate to be directed to Seguinite Cliftine Dwyer who had grown up in both the Plaza and the rival Aumont. Growing up in a hotel is interesting, but growing up in the 2 best hotels in town is surely an unusual experience, even for Texas. For her story, see "Eloise" in Texas .

And so, in the lilting tenor voice of the narrators from travelogues of long ago, we bid adieu to the Plaza Hotel of Seguin, on the beautiful banks of Walnut Creek, home of the Matadors and the World's Biggest Pecan.

John Troesser


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