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Our Town This Week
By Lois Lacy Lewis

More about old Celeste hotels as Dan Barnard of Bonham reminds us that the old Franklin Hotel, written about here three weeks ago, was built by his parents, the late N. A. (Newt) Barnard and Beaulah Norris Barnard. The date was 1899 or 1900. The couple named the hotel for their first son, Frank Barnard, the brother of Dan.

Frank grew up here, was a Wesley College (Greenville) and SMU (Dallas) graduate. He was cashier in the Celeste First National Bank until his death in 1931. He was the third of the six Norris-Barnard generations, all residents of Celeste.

The old Mitchell Hotel is activated for new life in part. The two-storied structure is on the same lot, south of the old Masonic-Courier building site, now the First Bank of Celeste location.

Mrs. Jessie Duke for many years lived in the old Mitchell Hotel building and had roomers there. She was a good neighbor to all and "mothered" the young men who roomed there while working in town or in the school system.

As of this week, Joyce Phillips has cleaned three lower floor rooms. They are the "lobby" or resident living room for an entrance, an adjoining room for articles of interest from the past, and the larger bedroom for her dolls and furnishings. Joyce will contribute more information as plans for the place take form.

More about the Mitchell Hotel:

  From "Memories" a series of stories from Eunice Thompson Huffaker (in the "Courier" on March 4, 1977) she tells of her memories here, home-life, school days, neighbors, and things in town in a most interesting way. We wish she would bind those stories or we will wish that we had done so. A homey record of a kid interested and remembering everything.

She wrote of her graduation year in 1922. She reviewed the Oil Boom of that year and the "spudding in" of a well on the Greenwood land (east of town) and Mildred Sparks (Roach), a granddaughter, breaking a bottle of water on the drill.

She wrote of the good looking young oil field workers in khaki who lived at the Mitchell Hotel and married two popular girls, Frances England and Grace Mitchell. Sooo, young people, there were two hotels at the same time, the Franklin Hotel and the Mitchell Hotel, possibly three. Will research to see if there was a Santa Fe Hotel.


(Undated clipping, The Leonard Graphic)

Submitted by Sarah Swindell

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