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  Texas : Architecture : Rooms with a Past
ROOMS WITH A PAST - TEXAS HOTELS BUILT BEFORE 1950:

Ranger’s Gholson Hotel

Excerpted from the book
Wood Derricks, Iron Men and Gold Women

by Don Champion
"The Gholson Hotel is a five-story, fireproof hotel on the Main Street of Ranger, built in 1921 for $400,000 and sold years later for $10,000. It is still an apartment hotel, catering to the retired.

The Gholson was the scene of many oil deals taking place during the oil boom, and scores of the famous and the infamous were found around the hotel lobby.
Gholson Hotel sign, Ranger, Texas
Ranger's Gholson Hotel
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
My memories of the Gholson start in 1923, about the time that the oil boom began to wane, however the lobby and the café were still crowded night and day as well as along the front sidewalk. There was a Western Union office in the lobby and a barber shop and pool parlor in the basement.

There was also a large dance room on the Mezzanine Floor, fronting Main Street, widely used for dances, parties, bridge and teaching dance and piano to our sisters, teenagers and sweethearts.

Miss Mary Martin, mother of Larry Hagman, Old J. R. of “Dallas” taught dancing lessons to my younger sister “Viv,” who was prettier than Shirley Temple to me.
Gholson Hotel , Ranger, Texas
Ranger's Gholson Hotel
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
The Gholson guest rooms were turned into apartments during the 1930s, two of which my parents occupied from 1953 to 1969, in which they lived contentedly. Hundreds of us survivors of the Boom Days of Ranger were pleased by news about the remodeling and life extension of this fine old historic landmark.
I understand that a new elevator has been installed to replace that cranky, balky, jerky old relic that I last attempted to use in 1969. “Gone and Good Farewell, Old Jerky.” I recently received a report that “Old Jerky” is tastefully displayed in the middle of the hotel lobby, and I am glad.

Forty unemployed lads and I leaned against the front of the Gholson for three years of the Big Depresh, and kept the hotel from falling forward into Main. Do not erect a bronze tablet on the front pillar for our labors performed over [75] years ago. Knowing that the Gholson is doing well is enough reward now."

- Don Champion,
New Ulm, Texas
October 20, 2007
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Editor's note: Don Champion, surveyor, oil scout and raconteur spent the last years of his eventful life in New Ulm, Texas. His book, Wood Derricks, Iron Men and Gold Women is available in most Austin County libraries. The stories and anecdotes cover the width and breadth of the state as well as parts of Louisiana and Alaska and the detail-rich first person accounts of the boomtowns of Ranger, Borger and Eastland are an entertaining and valuable contribution to the history of that era.

Anyone wishing to share any information on Mr. Champion (or the Gholson Hotel) is invited to contact us.
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This page last modified: October 20, 2007