I have always loved old buildings. Though I didn’t spend much time in downtown Texarkana growing up I recently had the opportunity to explore the area. There are some great building but some of them still need work and it kills me to think they could be torn down if something doesn’t happen soon!
The most eye-catching building when you first see downtown is the Hotel Grim. The building stands 8 stories high and is over 100,000 square feet.
The hotel was built in the shape of a triangle to fit the plot of land it is built on. It was built in 1924 – 1925 and officially opened on July 15th, 1925. It was named after a prominent businessman, William Rhoads Grim. Back when the hotel was built it only cost around $600,000 to construct. This was a great deal of money but the features of the hotel were state of the art and very decadent. I wish I had been able to get some interior photos but everything was well sealed up to prevent further vandalism and squatting.
Just imagine how this building would have looked when it was first opened!
In my head I can see the massive flag poles flying an Arkansas and a Texas flag. If you didn’t already know Texarkana is split into two cities, two counties, in two states. The doors were originally huge steel and glass doors that lead into a two-story foyer. The interior walls are made of cream colored stone and a black marble wainscoting. The floors were and amazingly still are covered with Alabama marble laid in a basketweave pattern. Prior to closing in the 1990s the lobby also featured three large brass chandeliers. Though the walls are now covered with spray paint the detailed ceiling carvings and wrought iron railings on the mezzanine level are still in place.
The exterior of the building is made up primarily of stucco covered stone and brick. There are still beautiful details pressed into the stucco as seen in the photo above.
The top floor of the hotel used to have a rooftop garden that could be used as an additional ballroom.
The roof is covered in Spanish tile.
The 250-room hotel was known for the Famous Palm Court, illegal card games and jazz. It is also rumored that Bonnie & Clyde “visited” in 1934 for their final meal at the restaurant in the lobby. There is also a very juicy rumor that there is a tunnel underneath the road that lead to the building across the street and was used during Prohibition.
As of August 2015 there are plans to turn the hotel into 70-80 loft apartments and utilize the ground floor for shops.
Ace of Clubs House
The Ace of Clubs House was built around 1885 by a Confederate soldier by the name of James Harris Draughon. According to local legend the floor plan design was created to commemorate the winning hand of a card game that lead to Draughon earning a boat load of money. The house is built in the shape of a cloverleaf with three round parlors and a square “foot” shape on one side. Draughon eventually became the 2nd mayor in Texarkana. The house was sold two years later. It ended up in the Moore family until it was deeded to the Texarkana Museum System in 1985. The house was originally built for around $10,000. I wasn’t able to tour the house when I was there but I don’t think they allow photographs inside anyways. I found plenty of details on the exterior of the property that caught my attention instead.
Detail of the trim work on the carriage house at the back of the property.
Brick wall that surrounds the property. These bricks were made by Hope Brick Works in Hope, Arkansas. I love old brick!
The Perot Theatre was originally known as the Saenger Theatre. It was built in 1924 and has hosted such acts as Will Rogers and Annie Oakley. The theatre was renamed in 1980 in memory of Mr. & Mrs. Gabriel Ross Perot. Their children donated the majority of the money needed to complete the restoration of the theatre. Restoration was completed in 1980. This building has a lot of detail including a coffered exterior ceiling and detailed carvings.
US Post Office and Courthouse
The Texarkana post office is unique in the fact that it sits right in the middle of Stateline Avenue. Stateliness Avenue divides the city into two parts, Arkansas on one side and Texas on the other. Because the post office sits on the island between the states it has two zip codes. It is the 2nd most photographed post office in the Unites States and was built in 1931. The statue that sits in front of the post office commemorates mothers who lost Confederate sons in the Civil War.
This photograph was taken 9/13/15 so the flag was still at half mast for 9/11.
St. James’ Church
I didn’t look up a whole lot of information about St. James’ Church but I do know it was built in 1878. The church recently won a Landscape Award from the city and has an amazing courtyard so I had to take a picture of it. The roof of the building is also very interesting and I’m drawn to details so I got a picture of that too.