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BAY-TEX HOTEL
Bay City, Texas


 



 

1942
 


 


Bay Tex Hotel
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas
By David Holubec

Bay City, the county seat of Matagorda County, was established in 1894, when David Swickheimer (1853 – 1920), a Colorado mining millionaire and participant in a promotional organization called the Enterprise Land and Colonizing Company, formed the Bay City Town Company with his partners. The men selected two cattle pastures on Bay Prairie as the site for a new community. The company bought 320 acres from Dolph Phineas Moore (1852 – 1928) and another 320 acres from Gustave Mensing (1873 – 1961) and his brother, William Mensing (1852 – 1907) of Galveston. One square mile was given to the town site, on which the promoters laid out wide, regular streets. Elliott's Ferry, two miles away, provided transportation across the Colorado River.
 

In August 1894, before a single building had been erected, the first issue of the Bay City Breeze began to promote the new community. Distributed countywide, the newspaper, coupled with the promoters' promise to build a new courthouse, if the county government were moved, succeeded in convincing county residents to support the new town. At the time, the population of the county totaled roughly 3,000 people. On September 18, 1894, Matagorda County voters elected to make Bay City the new county seat. A week later, when the victory was announced in the Breeze, editors revealed the town did not yet actually exist: "As soon as it can be surveyed, lots will be put on the market, buildings will go up and Bay City will be a reality." Bay City was a tent city before construction began on its first buildings. By 1905, railroads, oil discovery, rice and cotton success was creating a flourishing community.
 

Houses and buildings were being constructed throughout the city. Bay City became a well-established town and boasted an impressive court house, stores, banks and rail road service. Electricity came to the city in 1903. Expansion was slowed during World War I, but the town saw steady growth to 3,454 citizens in 1920.     
      

Bay City was continuing to progress and it was decided that a destination hotel was needed to promote travel to the coast and a place for the locals to host events and meetings. A mass meeting was called in the community to further discuss the possibility of erecting a hotel building. The meeting was held on June 5, 1926 and was led by the Business League members. The meeting was a huge success and several ideas were fostered. From this meeting, a gathering of investors eventually formed the Bay City Hotel Company, with Paris Smith (1887 – 1978) appointed president; Henry Lowndes Rugeley (1873 - 1936), vice-president; Callie May Metzger (1871 - 1957), secretary; George Edward Serrill (1883 – 1967), treasurer; Emil Niles Gustafson (1887 – 1969), John Sutherland (1864 – 1965) and Seth Sheppard Taylor (1885 – 1947), directors.The newly formed company raised $125,000 from investors to build the hotel. Lots 1-5, Block 78 of Bay City Original Townsite were purchased and bids were sought to build the $80,000 Spanish Colonial Revival building designed by architects, Morris & Noonan of San Antonio, Texas.
 

Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the ground breaking ceremony was held on June 21, 1927. The invocation was by Reverend Odis Rainer (1888 – 1963), after which Mayor Pat Thompson (1890 – 1973) delivered an address highlighting the benefits the hotel would provide Bay City. Next, the Chamber of Commerce president, Thomas Harwood Lewis (1875 – 1962) spoke reinforcing the local belief that the hotel would help Bay City become a progressive business center for commerce. The ceremony was closed with a benediction by Reverend Granville Theodore Storey, Sr. (1851 – 1940), pastor of the Presbyterian church of Bay City.
 

Construction started in earnest on June 24, 1927. The contractor hoped construction to be completed within 120 working days. The hotel was constructed of hollow tile and cement with steel reinforcements with a buff brick exterior with ornate cornice work. It was considered modern in every way and had forty-nine guest rooms. It boasted a spacious lobby with the latest furniture and decoration. Louvered windows on the outer walls and in the hallway doors were used for creating cooling airflow throughout the structure.
 

A contest was held to name the new hotel, which was decided by winner, Vivian Fay Golightly (1892 – 1981), a local nurse. She came up with the “Bay Tex” name. Operators of the hotel, Joseph Berlowitz (1894 – 1974) and his wife Lillian Dorothy Shapiro (1891 – 1975), Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the “Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi” organization, sponsored the grand opening on December 29, 1927. The event included lavishly decorated tables, an orchestra and an invocation given by Reverend Granville Theodore Storey, Sr. Citizens from Matagorda, Palacios, Blessing, Markham, as well as those from Houston, Port Lavaca, Wharton and our sister cities from other counties attended the opening.
 

            Mr. R. M. Harkey, Secretary – Manager of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce wrote the following account in the Matagorda County Tribune:

“Never before in the history of Bay City, has there been such occasion as was celebrated Thursday evening, December 29, in the opening of the new $80,000 Bay Tex Hotel. For some days, the lessees, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz assisted by Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Frady, of Yoakum; Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hamburger, of Columbus, and Mr. T. P. Herbertson, of the Texas Hotel Supply Co., of Houston, have been preparing for the event.

The Bay Tex Hotel was financed by local capital and through some of the larger corporations which have offices here, such as the Alamo Lumber Co., Central Power & Light Co., and many other citizens who have their residence away from Bay City. It is modern in every way and has forty-nine guest rooms with every convenience for the traveling public. From the spacious lobby with the latest of plush furniture, throughout every room, the management has looked to the comfort of all guests.

This special feature banquet was sponsored by the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the members of the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi. Committees had been working some time to see that everyone should have the time of their life. A plate ladened with turkey and everything to make this dinner a success, was placed before each guest. The tables, decorated in white and red color scheme, touched off with beautiful red and white carnations and fern, were very attractive. From what the writer could observe, each guest was treated to the most elaborate dinner ever put before the public in Bay City.

The program was well balanced, from the start of the orchestra promptly at 7:15 to the end. At 7:15 the doors of the beautifully arranged dining room were thrown open and at 7:30, 200 or more guests listened to the invocation pronounced by Rev. G. T. Storey pastor of the Presbyterian church of Bay City, was toastmaster and throughout the two hours of the dinner, not a moment was lost. Many introductions were made during the evening, both of local nature and visiting guests. Hootch's orchestra dispensed appropriate music during this time; also a special musical program was rendered as follows; Vocal selections by Roland Harkey, Mrs. Will Stinnett, "Fats" McGee, instrumental selection by Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, sextet by Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, Miss Grady Kiser, Roland Harkey, Jamie Preddy and "Fats" McGee. Many encores were received by the performers, who rendered this beautiful music to the delight of all.

The principle address of the evening was delivered by Hon. W. O. Huggins, president of the Gulf Coast Good Roads Association, and whose home is in Houston. In his address Judge Huggins gave a short review of what has been accomplished in road financing in this Gulf Coast country in the past year. Stating in plain terms that Matagorda county solved the road problem when the good people put over the $3,000,000 bond issue in April of this year, this being the mark for all other counties to shoot at and also made possible the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi, eventually to Brownsville. The wonderful spirit of Matagorda county people spurred all others into action and we now have, as he said, the greatest scenic highway in all South Central Texas.

Many delegates from towns along this new highway were present and helped to celebrate this wonderful work of Paris Smith, president of the Bay Tex Hotel organization, his friends presented him with a beautiful diamond studded Shrine pin. The presentation was made in a short talk by Rev. W. O. Stephens, secretary of Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, east of Houston. Mr. Smith thanked his friends for this beautiful gift and said he was ready to do their bidding in making Bay City a better and more prosperous city. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz, the managers of the Bay Tex were introduced by R. M. Harkey, manager of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, which ended the most wonderful dinner ever held in Bay City.

Promptly at 9:30, the tables were removed from the sunset ballroom and the grand march started at 10:00 p. m., led by Hon. George B. Culver and wife of Matagorda. From this time until the wee small hours of the morning, the tapping toe could be seen in the different dances so ably managed by Dr. Sholars as floor manager. While this was not a formal dance, many of the ladies brightened the occasion by wearing beautiful evening gowns and many of the men in full dress. Hootch's orchestra furnished the music for the dance and all seemed to get the idea they were there for a good time and they had it. Arrangements had been made for all those who did not care to dance to attend the Colonial Theatre at the same price as for the dinner dance. Many of the older ones and quite a few young ones attended the show.

Bay City is now in a position to look after the welfare of the traveling public better than ever before and while many people have been staying away from the city on account of hotel accommodations, not being able to secure rooms, the increase in the traveling public will soon fill to overflowing the new Hotel, also giving to our former hotel people, all the guests they can take care of.

In the receiving line during the evening were Mr. and Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. E. N. Gustafson, Miss Callie Metzger, Judge A. Harris and wife, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Harkey.

From expressions heard in the lobby and on the streets of Bay City, this dinner was a success, and in stating this, the public as a whole want a regular date fixed for one of these wonderful dinners and entertainment each month. This occasion will be long remembered by those who attended and will go down in the history of Bay City as a feature of the up-building and the new Bay City of the future."

The Bay Tex became the regular meeting place for the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Bay City Chamber of Commerce clubs. In January 1933, Gary William Davis (1893 – 1977) and his wife Pearl Lee Bradford Davis (1895 - 1984) arrived from Mason, Texas to take over the management of the hotel. The Davis’ opened Davis Flower Shop in the Lobby of the Bay Tex in 1946. Both the hotel and the dining room had become known for the finest service Bay City had to offer. The Davis’ managed the hotel for over twenty years.

 

The Bay Tex Hotel was built in an era where cars were becoming more plentiful and long distance road journeys became more common, and the need for inexpensive, easily accessible overnight accommodations sites, close to the main routes, led to the growth of the motel concept. While this affected the Bay Tex in the late 1950’s, the hotel still provided a local meeting  place for many clubs and organizations, bridal receptions, birthday parties and political forums.  Over the years a multitude of proprietors leased the hotel’s first floor restaurant with moderate success.
 

By the late 1970’s, the hotel became more of a rooming house for local contract workers. The building had fallen into substantial disrepair. The Bay Tex sat for thirty plus years unoccupied. It’s been on the City’s demolition list on numerous occasions over those thirty years. In 2014, Stuart Allen Lynn (1975 - ), a local property developer, purchased the hotel and began a major renovation of the building. Lynn is restoring the exterior of the building to its once grand state and redesigning the interior into prestigious loft apartments. This is an exciting time for one of the most recognized historical buildings in Historic Downtown Bay City.

 

The sounds of laughter and conversation will once again fill the rooms inside the long abandoned Bay Tex Hotel. We are so thankful to remove this property from the Matagorda County Historical Commission’s “endangered” property list! All of Bay City is looking forward to touring the restored landmark.
 


Bay Tex Hotel
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas
By David Holubec

Bay City, the county seat of Matagorda County, was established in 1894, when David Swickheimer (1853 – 1920), a Colorado mining millionaire and participant in a promotional organization called the Enterprise Land and Colonizing Company, formed the Bay City Town Company with his partners. The men selected two cattle pastures on Bay Prairie as the site for a new community. The company bought 320 acres from Dolph Phineas Moore (1852 – 1928) and another 320 acres from Gustave Mensing (1873 – 1961) and his brother, William Mensing (1852 – 1907) of Galveston. One square mile was given to the town site, on which the promoters laid out wide, regular streets. Elliott's Ferry, two miles away, provided transportation across the Colorado River.
 

In August 1894, before a single building had been erected, the first issue of the Bay City Breeze began to promote the new community. Distributed countywide, the newspaper, coupled with the promoters' promise to build a new courthouse, if the county government were moved, succeeded in convincing county residents to support the new town. At the time, the population of the county totaled roughly 3,000 people. On September 18, 1894, Matagorda County voters elected to make Bay City the new county seat. A week later, when the victory was announced in the Breeze, editors revealed the town did not yet actually exist: "As soon as it can be surveyed, lots will be put on the market, buildings will go up and Bay City will be a reality." Bay City was a tent city before construction began on its first buildings. By 1905, railroads, oil discovery, rice and cotton success was creating a flourishing community.
 

Houses and buildings were being constructed throughout the city. Bay City became a well-established town and boasted an impressive court house, stores, banks and rail road service. Electricity came to the city in 1903. Expansion was slowed during World War I, but the town saw steady growth to 3,454 citizens in 1920.     
      

Bay City was continuing to progress and it was decided that a destination hotel was needed to promote travel to the coast and a place for the locals to host events and meetings. A mass meeting was called in the community to further discuss the possibility of erecting a hotel building. The meeting was held on June 5, 1926 and was led by the Business League members. The meeting was a huge success and several ideas were fostered. From this meeting, a gathering of investors eventually formed the Bay City Hotel Company, with Paris Smith (1887 – 1978) appointed president; Henry Lowndes Rugeley (1873 - 1936), vice-president; Callie May Metzger (1871 - 1957), secretary; George Edward Serrill (1883 – 1967), treasurer; Emil Niles Gustafson (1887 – 1969), John Sutherland (1864 – 1965) and Seth Sheppard Taylor (1885 – 1947), directors.The newly formed company raised $125,000 from investors to build the hotel. Lots 1-5, Block 78 of Bay City Original Townsite were purchased and bids were sought to build the $80,000 Spanish Colonial Revival building designed by architects, Morris & Noonan of San Antonio, Texas.
 

Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the ground breaking ceremony was held on June 21, 1927. The invocation was by Reverend Odis Rainer (1888 – 1963), after which Mayor Pat Thompson (1890 – 1973) delivered an address highlighting the benefits the hotel would provide Bay City. Next, the Chamber of Commerce president, Thomas Harwood Lewis (1875 – 1962) spoke reinforcing the local belief that the hotel would help Bay City become a progressive business center for commerce. The ceremony was closed with a benediction by Reverend Granville Theodore Storey, Sr. (1851 – 1940), pastor of the Presbyterian church of Bay City.
 

Construction started in earnest on June 24, 1927. The contractor hoped construction to be completed within 120 working days. The hotel was constructed of hollow tile and cement with steel reinforcements with a buff brick exterior with ornate cornice work. It was considered modern in every way and had forty-nine guest rooms. It boasted a spacious lobby with the latest furniture and decoration. Louvered windows on the outer walls and in the hallway doors were used for creating cooling airflow throughout the structure.
 

A contest was held to name the new hotel, which was decided by winner, Vivian Fay Golightly (1892 – 1981), a local nurse. She came up with the “Bay Tex” name. Operators of the hotel, Joseph Berlowitz (1894 – 1974) and his wife Lillian Dorothy Shapiro (1891 – 1975), Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the “Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi” organization, sponsored the grand opening on December 29, 1927. The event included lavishly decorated tables, an orchestra and an invocation given by Reverend Granville Theodore Storey, Sr. Citizens from Matagorda, Palacios, Blessing, Markham, as well as those from Houston, Port Lavaca, Wharton and our sister cities from other counties attended the opening.
 

            Mr. R. M. Harkey, Secretary – Manager of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce wrote the following account in the Matagorda County Tribune:

 

“Never before in the history of Bay City, has there been such occasion as was celebrated Thursday evening, December 29, in the opening of the new $80,000 Bay Tex Hotel. For some days, the lessees, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz assisted by Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Frady, of Yoakum; Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hamburger, of Columbus, and Mr. T. P. Herbertson, of the Texas Hotel Supply Co., of Houston, have been preparing for the event.

The Bay Tex Hotel was financed by local capital and through some of the larger corporations which have offices here, such as the Alamo Lumber Co., Central Power & Light Co., and many other citizens who have their residence away from Bay City. It is modern in every way and has forty-nine guest rooms with every convenience for the traveling public. From the spacious lobby with the latest of plush furniture, throughout every room, the management has looked to the comfort of all guests.

 

This special feature banquet was sponsored by the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the members of the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi. Committees had been working some time to see that everyone should have the time of their life. A plate ladened with turkey and everything to make this dinner a success, was placed before each guest. The tables, decorated in white and red color scheme, touched off with beautiful red and white carnations and fern, were very attractive. From what the writer could observe, each guest was treated to the most elaborate dinner ever put before the public in Bay City.

 

The program was well balanced, from the start of the orchestra promptly at 7:15 to the end. At 7:15 the doors of the beautifully arranged dining room were thrown open and at 7:30, 200 or more guests listened to the invocation pronounced by Rev. G. T. Storey pastor of the Presbyterian church of Bay City, was toastmaster and throughout the two hours of the dinner, not a moment was lost. Many introductions were made during the evening, both of local nature and visiting guests. Hootch's orchestra dispensed appropriate music during this time; also a special musical program was rendered as follows; Vocal selections by Roland Harkey, Mrs. Will Stinnett, "Fats" McGee, instrumental selection by Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, sextet by Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, Miss Grady Kiser, Roland Harkey, Jamie Preddy and "Fats" McGee. Many encores were received by the performers, who rendered this beautiful music to the delight of all.

 

The principle address of the evening was delivered by Hon. W. O. Huggins, president of the Gulf Coast Good Roads Association, and whose home is in Houston. In his address Judge Huggins gave a short review of what has been accomplished in road financing in this Gulf Coast country in the past year. Stating in plain terms that Matagorda county solved the road problem when the good people put over the $3,000,000 bond issue in April of this year, this being the mark for all other counties to shoot at and also made possible the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi, eventually to Brownsville. The wonderful spirit of Matagorda county people spurred all others into action and we now have, as he said, the greatest scenic highway in all South Central Texas.

 

Many delegates from towns along this new highway were present and helped to celebrate this wonderful work of Paris Smith, president of the Bay Tex Hotel organization, his friends presented him with a beautiful diamond studded Shrine pin. The presentation was made in a short talk by Rev. W. O. Stephens, secretary of Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, east of Houston. Mr. Smith thanked his friends for this beautiful gift and said he was ready to do their bidding in making Bay City a better and more prosperous city. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz, the managers of the Bay Tex were introduced by R. M. Harkey, manager of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, which ended the most wonderful dinner ever held in Bay City.

 

Promptly at 9:30, the tables were removed from the sunset ballroom and the grand march started at 10:00 p. m., led by Hon. George B. Culver and wife of Matagorda. From this time until the wee small hours of the morning, the tapping toe could be seen in the different dances so ably managed by Dr. Sholars as floor manager. While this was not a formal dance, many of the ladies brightened the occasion by wearing beautiful evening gowns and many of the men in full dress. Hootch's orchestra furnished the music for the dance and all seemed to get the idea they were there for a good time and they had it. Arrangements had been made for all those who did not care to dance to attend the Colonial Theatre at the same price as for the dinner dance. Many of the older ones and quite a few young ones attended the show.

 

Bay City is now in a position to look after the welfare of the traveling public better than ever before and while many people have been staying away from the city on account of hotel accommodations, not being able to secure rooms, the increase in the traveling public will soon fill to overflowing the new Hotel, also giving to our former hotel people, all the guests they can take care of.

 

In the receiving line during the evening were Mr. and Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. E. N. Gustafson, Miss Callie Metzger, Judge A. Harris and wife, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Harkey.

 

From expressions heard in the lobby and on the streets of Bay City, this dinner was a success, and in stating this, the public as a whole want a regular date fixed for one of these wonderful dinners and entertainment each month. This occasion will be long remembered by those who attended and will go down in the history of Bay City as a feature of the up-building and the new Bay City of the future."

 

The Bay Tex became the regular meeting place for the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Bay City Chamber of Commerce clubs. In January 1933, Gary William Davis (1893 – 1977) and his wife Pearl Lee Bradford Davis (1895 - 1984) arrived from Mason, Texas to take over the management of the hotel. The Davis’ opened Davis Flower Shop in the Lobby of the Bay Tex in 1946. Both the hotel and the dining room had become known for the finest service Bay City had to offer. The Davis’ managed the hotel for over twenty years.

 

The Bay Tex Hotel was built in an era where cars were becoming more plentiful and long distance road journeys became more common, and the need for inexpensive, easily accessible overnight accommodations sites, close to the main routes, led to the growth of the motel concept. While this affected the Bay Tex in the late 1950’s, the hotel still provided a local meeting  place for many clubs and organizations, bridal receptions, birthday parties and political forums.  Over the years a multitude of proprietors leased the hotel’s first floor restaurant with moderate success.
 

By the late 1970’s, the hotel became more of a rooming house for local contract workers. The building had fallen into substantial disrepair. The Bay Tex sat for thirty plus years unoccupied. It’s been on the City’s demolition list on numerous occasions over those thirty years. In 2014, Stuart Allen Lynn (1975 - ), a local property developer, purchased the hotel and began a major renovation of the building. Lynn is restoring the exterior of the building to its once grand state and redesigning the interior into prestigious loft apartments. This is an exciting time for one of the most recognized historical buildings in Historic Downtown Bay City.

 

The sounds of laughter and conversation will once again fill the rooms inside the long abandoned Bay Tex Hotel. We are so thankful to remove this property from the Matagorda County Historical Commission’s “endangered” property list! All of Bay City is looking forward to touring the restored landmark.
 


Work On New Hotel Is Moving Fast
Brick Work and Cornice Being Finished on 49-Room Hostelry

Bay City's new hotel, a 49-room structure of reinforced concrete, is rapidly rounding into shape and is looming as an imposing and inviting hostelry, even though there is yet remaining much work to do.

This week, however, will finish the brick and cornice work, and an attractive combination it is. The brick is buff and is set with flush joints of a corresponding color, topped by an artificial cornice. Some of the metal work at the openings has also been put in place.

The new hotel occupies a commodious plat of ground on West Sixth Street one tier of buildings west of the square on a paved street. the location is a good one and when the grounds are put in shape and beautified, it will all go toward reflecting credit upon the builders and the city.

There are those who claim that this new hotel will prove to be the starting point of a rapid growth and the future prosperity of the town. There are still others who claim that the improved highways, now on the way, and the hotel combined will do the work so long needed to put Bay City in the city class. Both may have the correct view, but whether they have or not, the improvements mentioned will help in the general progress of the town, county and section.

Daily Tribune, October 26, 1927
 


Baytex is Name of New Hotel

Committee Awards Prize and Honor to Miss Faye Golightly.

To Miss Faye Golightly goes the honor and the prize for selecting a suitable name for the new hotel, according to information given us today by Mr. Parks Smith, president of the Company.

The name selected and offered by Miss Golightly is Baytex or Bay-Tex (we haven’t bee instructed on that yet) and proved to be the winner after due consideration of the others suggested.

Palacios Beacon, November 3, 1927
 


New Hotel Nearing Completion

After an absence of several days which were spent in Yoakum, Houston and other places on business, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz, lessees of the new hotel, have returned and will now settle down as permanent citizens.

Mr. Berlowitz stated to the Tribune today that every effort is being made to open the hotel ready for business at the earliest possible moment, although the work yet to be done makes it impossible to set the day.

All necessary equipment and furniture have been bought but shipments are delayed awaiting the completion of the hotel.

It is planned to have a grand opening of the hotel, but this, too, is delayed because of the reason stated above.

The Tribune, in the meantime, and on the behalf of the citizenship, extends to Mr. and Mrs. Berlowitz a cordial greeting and welcome, hoping their sojourn will be long, pleasant and profitable.

Daily Tribune, November 22, 1927
 


New Hotel to Open Dec. 29th

According to notices sent out by the invitation committee, the Bay-Tex, Bay City’s new hotel, will be thrown open to the general public on the night of December 29.

Arrangements are being made to take care of 200 guests on the opening night. The managers and lessees, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz, are now engaged in getting everything in first-class shape for the grand opening. Special music and a special program of entertainment, in addition to a spread epicurean perfection of unusual cuisine will mark the formal opening of South Texas’ newest hostelry.

In the minds of many this event will form the opening wedge for great and unprecedented prosperity and progress throughout this section as well as for rapid and unparalleled growth of the city.—Bay City Tribune.

Palacios Beacon, December 22, 1927
 


New Bay City Hotel Opens; Hug-The-Coast Highway Celebration

About 250 people sat down to an elaborate banquet at the formal opening of the new Bay-Tex Hotel in Bay City on Thursday evening.

The hotel is a three-story building, has been erected at a cost of $80,000, and is so constructed that new stories can be added. It has 49 bed rooms and is modern in every respect. There is a well-finished and well-furnished lobby. The capital required to build has been raised by private subscription, chiefly in Bay City, and Mr. Paris Smith was chairman of the Building Committee. Bay City has felt the need of a modern hotel for some years, and the citizens are to be congratulated on the public spirit they have shown.

Visitors were present from surrounding towns. Mr. and Mrs. P. F. Campbell were there from Palacios, and Messrs. J. B. Feather and G. G. Gillespie represented the Palacios Chamber of Commerce. Judge Tanner was present from Port Lavaca and Messrs. Winfield and Cavallin from Olivia.

The occasion was turned into a celebration of the completing of the financing of the Hug-the-Cost Highway between Houston and Corpus Christi, and Judge Huggins of the Gulf Coast Good Roads Association was present and delivered the speech of the evening. The sponsors of this road are working hard to obtain Federal aid for the project, and it is hoped that the necessary permission will soon be acquired. Judge Huggins in his speech praised Matagorda County highly for its courage and foresight in passing a bond issue for as large a sum as $3,000,000. He mentioned too, the splendid example that Matagorda county had set to other counties in South Texas by so doing.

Mr. Gustafson was Toastmaster. A Bay City band was present during the evening. There was a vocal and instrumental program rendered during the course of the banquet which seemed to give much pleasure to all present. Sometime during the evening a presentation was made to Mr. Paris Smith, Chairman of the Building Committee and President of the Chamber of Commerce--much to his own surprise. It was a gold diamond-studded Shriner pin.

Mr. R. F. Harkey, Secretary of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce had much to do with the success of the evening. He had charge of the arrangements and got up the program for the occasion.

Arrangements were made by which those who wished could attend a picture show, while others remained for a dance.

Palacios Beacon, December 29, 1927
 


New Bay City Hotel Opens

Good Roads Backers Celebrate Financing Last Hug-the-Coast Stretch.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following account of last night's gathering appeared in this morning's Houston Chronicle:

Bay City, Dec. 29.--Streets were crowded this afternoon and tonight with visitors here for the formal opening of the Bay Tex Hotel and to join in the good roads celebration.

The new $800,000 hostelry, with 49 rooms, is modern in every respect and was praised highly by the visitors, who were shown through every room. The hotel includes a spacious lobby and a large banquet hall, seating nearly 300 persons.

Automobiles came from as far as Corpus Christi and Houston with Port Lavaca, Wharton and other towns along the Hug-the-Coast Highway well represented. The Gulf Coast Good Roads Association, which has boosted the Hug-the-Coast route, joined the Bay City Chamber of Commerce in celebrating at a banquet tonight the financing of the last stretch of the route, and the hotel's completion.

Judge W. O. Huggins of Houston, president of the Gulf Coast Good Roads Association, spoke at the banquet.

The Hug-the-Coast route hereafter will be State Highway No. 58 and also will be a federal highway from Houston to Corpus Christi.

Numerous reunions of officials from various road associations and of local good roads enthusiasts marked the afternoon. Rapidly drying roads, which a few days ago were bogged in places, now are passable in every direction, the many visitors reported to R. M. Harkey, chamber of commerce secretary-manager, who took a prominent part in entertaining the visitors.

Matagorda County Tribune, January 6, 1928
 


Hotel Opening A Blaze of Glory
Special Feature Bay City Chamber of Commerce; Many Visitors Here

By R. M. Harkey, Secretary-Manager Bay City C. of C.

Never before in the history of Bay City, has there been such occasion as was celebrated Thursday evening, December 29, in the opening of the new $80,000 Bay Tex Hotel.

For some days, the lessees, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz assisted by Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Frady, of Yoakum; Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hamburger, of Columbus, and Mr. T. P. Herbertson, of the Texas Hotel Supply Co., of Houston, have been preparing for the event.

The Bay Tex Hotel was financed by local capital and through some of the larger corporations which have offices here, such as the Alamo Lumber Co., Central Power & Light Co., and many other citizens who have their residence away from Bay City. It is modern in every way and has forty-nine guest rooms with every convenience for the traveling public. From the spacious lobby with the latest of plush furniture, throughout every room, the management has looked to the comfort of all guests.

This special feature banquet was sponsored by the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and the members of the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi. Committees had been working some time to see that everyone should have the time of their life. A plate ladened with turkey and everything to make this dinner a success, was placed before each guest. The tables, decorated in white and red color scheme, touched off with beautiful red and white carnations and fern, were very attractive. From what the writer could observe, each guest was treated to the most elaborate dinner ever put before the public in Bay City.

The program was well balanced, from the start of the orchestra promptly at 7:15 to the end. At 7:15 the doors of the beautifully arranged dining room were thrown open and at 7:30, 200 or more guests listened to the invocation pronounced by Rev. G. T. Storey pastor of the Presbyterian church of Bay City, was toastmaster and throughout the two hours of the dinner, not a moment was lost. Many introductions were made during the evening, both of local nature and visiting guests. Hootch's orchestra dispensed appropriate music during this time; also a special musical program was rendered as follows; Vocal selections by Roland Harkey, Mrs. Will Stinnett, "Fats" McGee, instrumental selection by Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, sextet by Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, Miss Grady Kiser, Roland Harkey, Jamie Preddy and "Fats" McGee. Many encores were received by the performers, who rendered this beautiful music to the delight of all.

The principle address of the evening was delivered by Hon. W. O. Huggins, president of the Gulf Coast Good Roads Association, and whose home if in Houston. In his address Judge Huggins gave a short review of what has been accomplished in road financing in this Gulf Coast country in the past year. Stating in plain terms that Matagorda county solved the road problem when the good people put over the $3,000,000 bond issue in April of this year, this being the mark for all other counties to shoot at and also made possible the Hug-the-Coast Highway from Houston to Corpus Christi, eventually to Brownsville. The wonderful spirit of Matagorda county people spurred all others into action and we now have, as he said, the greatest scenic highway in all South Central Texas.

Many delegates from towns along this new highway were present and helped to celebrate this wonderful work of Paris Smith, president of the BayTex Hotel organization, his friends presented him with a beautiful diamond studded Shrine pin. The presentation was made in a short talk by Rev. W. O. Stephens, secretary of Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, east of Houston. Mr. Smith thanked his friends for this beautiful gift and said he was ready to do their bidding in making Bay City a better and more prosperous city. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Berlowitz, the managers of the Bay Tex were introduced by R. M. Harkey, manager of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, which ended the most wonderful dinner ever held in Bay City.

Promptly at 9:30, the tables were removed from the sunset ballroom and the grand march started at 10:00 p. m., led by Hon. George B. Culver and wife of Matagorda. From this time until the wee small hours of the morning, the tapping toe could be seen in the different dances so ably managed by Dr. Sholars as floor manager. While this was not a formal dance, many of the ladies brightened the occasion by wearing beautiful evening gowns and many of the men in full dress. Hootch's orchestra furnished the music for the dance and all seemed to get the idea they were there for a good time and they had it. Arrangements had been made for all those who did not care to dance to attend the Colonial Theatre at the same price as for the dinner dance. Many of the older ones and quite a few young ones attended the show.

Bay City is now in a position to look after the welfare of the traveling public better than ever before and while many people have been staying away from the city on account of hotel accommodations, not being able to secure rooms, the increase in the traveling public will soon fill to overflowing the new BayTex Hotel, also giving to our former hotel people, all the guests they can take care of.

In the receiving line during the evening were, Mr. and Mrs. Will Stinnett, Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. E. N. Gustafson, Miss Callie Metzger, Judge A. Harris and wife, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Harkey.

Many large delegations were present at this banquet from within the county, including people from Gulf, Matagorda, Palacios, Blessing, Markham, as well as those from Houston, Port Lavaca, Wharton and our sister cities from other counties. From expressions heard in the lobby and on the streets of Bay City, this dinner was a success, and in stating this, the public as a whole want a regular date fixed for one of these wonderful dinners and entertainment each month. This occasion will be long remembered by those who attended and will go down in the history of Bay City as a feature of the up-building and the new Bay City of the future.

Daily Tribune, January 6, 1928
 


The Collegeport Rhythm band journeyed to Bay City Tuesday where it rendered several numbers of the program of the Rotary club. It was directed as usual by Miss Ethel Nelson and I am informed that she surpassed all previous performances. A feature of the program was the song "Chink Chink," the words being sung by Ethel and the band joining in the chorus. I knew this could easily be made a very pleasant feature of this bands' program. The members performed like old time players and there was not one sign of cacophony from the first number to the last. All was perfection. A group of well trained kiddies and they looked swell in their natty uniforms.

Article appeared - The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, June 23, 1931
 


Bay-Tex Hotel Under New Management

Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Davis arrived Saturday from Mason, where they have been for the past few months, having previously managed the Plaza Hotel in Gonzales for several years, to take over the management of the Bay-Tex Hotel. Dr. Davis has had wide experience in the hotel business and is quite noted for his courteous and efficient service and for the splendid meals served in the hotel he is managing.

The citizens of Matagorda County should be very proud of this hotel and in every way assist Dr. and Mrs. Davis in making visitors in our city proud to visit in this hotel. Another thing, bring your family to the Bay-Tex for a splendid meal real often and show your true appreciation in having such good people as Mr. and Mrs. Davis.--Bay City Tribune.

Palacios Beacon, January 5, 1933
 



 


Improvements at Bay-Tex Hotel

Mr. W. Davis, manager of the Bay-Tex Hotel announced Tuesday that work had begun on the floors in the banquet and dining rooms. These floors will be hardwood, making them quite a wonderful improvement to the former concrete flooring. Mr. Davis also stated that parties and dances will be given. Anyone wanting to have either, Mr. Davis will be glad to consult with them and the price will be very close.

It must be added that Mr. Davis is trying in every way to make the Bay-Tex Hotel most pleasant and to make it a place for the entire public to enjoy. Bay City has always been the best city in this territory for dancing and with this new improvement, we can again boast of a grand place to dance and dine. The meals, as many in the city know by now are always deliciously cooked and perfectly planned and it is Mr. Davis' aim to advertise Bay City as having such a perfect place as he is now making of this hotel.

Matagorda County Tribune, March 9, 1933
 


Bay-Tex Hotel Known For Hospitable And Friendly Atmosphere

The Bay-Tex Hotel of Bay city might well be called the hotel of the County. It is truly a house of distinction where an inviting atmosphere created around its most hospitable and genial manager and host is indeed a place of relaxation and comfort for the traveling public, a meeting place for the local clubs and a place to be remembered with a pleasant thought.

Mrs. Davis manages in a most credible manner the dining room which has become renown all over South Texas for its fine food and correct service. To Mrs. Davis no detail is too trivial to pay particular attention to in order that the dining room maintain its reputation for delicious meals, properly prepared and excellently served.

Both the hotel and dining room are proud of a carefully selected personnel whose first thought and aim is to create an atmosphere that makes one feel as comfortable as though they were in their own home.

Palacios Beacon, October 19, 1939
 




Palacios Beacon, January 29, 1931



Palacios Beacon, October 11 1939
 


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Copyright 2013 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
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Created
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Updated
Jan. 11, 2015
   

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