First Hotel Denison
The southwest corner of Fannin Avenue and Main Street, 500 West Main Street, was a key site in Denison’s early days. Constructed around 1890, the National Commercial College was an ambitious undertaking for a small city. The grand red brick building billed itself as “the largest business college in America,” with 86,000 square feet of floor space and the capacity for 1,500 students. Four of Denison’s most prominent residents were the officers: T. V. Munson was president; Samuel Hanna, vice-president; T. W. Roach, secretary; and A. H. Coffin, treasurer.
Around the turn of the century, the site was taken over by the first Denison Hotel, which continued in operation until January 1920, when it was reduced to ashes in one of Denison’s greatest fires.
By 1908, the first Denison Hotel occupied the premises. In 1909, Denison Hotel rates : $2.50, $3.00, and $3.50 per day.
Facing Main Street on the ground floor around 1909 were at least two establishments:
1. Carter’s Music Store (“Crown Piano and Organ Agency; Everything Known in Music at Factory Prices, J. W. Carter, Manager”). Photo of interior is in Industrial Denison (1909), page 18.
2. Pace’s Furniture Store (“A. S. Pace Furniture and Carpets,” 502 and 504 Main Street). Photo of interior is in Industrial Denison (1909), page 83. Residence of A. S. Pace is in Industrial Denison (1909), page 30.
“Denison, the Texas Gateway: Busy, Progressive City with Golden Opportunities” (1908) listed:
The Denison Hotel—Rates $2.50, $3.00, $3.50 per day. Electric elevators, private baths and steam heat; phone in all rooms. M. L. Oglesby, manager. [500 W. Main Street.]
There is no hotel in the Southwest which stands higher with the traveling public than The Denison, and it also may be said that no hotel in the entire country offers such superior service on the same modest scale of expenditure. The success of The Denison is worthy of the highest popular recognition, and dates from the connection of Mr. M. L. Oglesby as manager six years ago. The house occupies a most commanding position near the business center of the city, all interurban and street cars passing the door. It is a structure of modern architecture and striking design, handsomely furnished throughout. The office, barber shop, billiard parlors and dining room are all tastefully fitted, giving restful comfort and convenience to guests. Every convenience pertaining to modern hotel keeping is in service. Mr. Oglesby is an ideal host, having had a long experience in the hotel business, which has familiarized him with the requirements of guest, and nothing is lacking to please. He is regarded as one of Denison’s most progressive and ideal business men.... Mr. Sam Parlat is connected with the barber shop at the Hotel Denison.
The hotel burned on January 24, 1920.