This hotel was located on the main street in the middle of town. The owner and proprietor of the hotel, Galen Hodges, had acquired the block on which the hotel stood; and on this block he also owned a private home, a mercantile store, and a drug store. Slave quarters were located in the back of the block.
Mr. Hodges was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 18, 1812, where he taught high school as a young man. He then moved to Georgia in 1834 and on to Alabama, Florida and New Orleans. In New Orleans he learned of Texas' struggle for independence and how men were being recruited for the Texas army. He took passage on the Amelia Chase in March 1837 and landed in Matagorda on April 9, 1837. In a few days he started on foot for the Texas army, which he reached near Texana, and enlisted in the army on April 12, 1837, for twelve months in Captain Weih's Company in Colonel Wigginton's Regiment. When he was discharged, he received a large land grant.
Following this, Mr. Hodges was appointed Collector of Customs by President Sam Houston. Mr. Hodges was married to Amelia Ludington McKinstry on November 24, 1845 at Matagorda. Amelia was the widow of William C. McKinstry whom she married o March 24, 1826 in Catskill, New York. According to family history, Mr. Mckinstry was lost at sea. Mr. and Mrs. Hodges bought their private home from a Mr. McCamley in 1852 and set up residence on this block while operating the Colorado House and other businesses. During the Civil War, Mr. Hodges' losses were heavy, but he did retain his real estate.
The Colorado House was built in the middle 1800s of cypress. The lumber was brought to Matagorda from the East as ballast in ships. The hardware of the hotel was of copper and brass and square-headed nails were used in the hotel's construction.
The hotel had about twenty rooms, fourteen of which were guest rooms upstairs. The furniture was made of mahogany, walnut and cherry, much of which is rare today. The dining chairs were Chippendale Chairs and did not have a nail or screw, but were put together with wooden pegs.
Every room of the hotel had its own private dressing room. Downstairs were two great rooms that were divided and could be joined together by folding the doors back. At times this great hotel was filled to capacity and Mr. and Mrs. Hodges often had to take their personal friends into their own home.
Everything in the Colorado House was of the best and the silver was no exception. The pattern was beautiful and was marked Colorado House on the handle. The hotel also used beautiful candlesticks to hold the many candles in the hotel.
Many famous and important people visited the Colorado House, including General Andrew Jackson who arrived Sunday, May 3, 1857, after the death of his attendant. Many Confederate veterans also visited the Colorado House after the Civil War years. A. B. "Shanghai" Pierce visited the hotel often.
Many large plantation owners brought their families as well as slaves to attend to their needs. The guests brought their own transportation and also traveled to Matagorda by stagecoach which arrived and departed from the hotel. Mail carriers who rode from Austin to Galveston made overnight stops at the Colorado House. Many sailors from the schooners that shipped cotton to and from Matagorda spent the night at the hotel while their ships were in port. Many of these sailors came from the northern states of New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Some came from California and Missouri. The plantation owners came from the Deep South states such as North and South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. Some of the guests came from the foreign countries of England, Germany, Ireland, France and The Netherlands. The fact that Matagorda shipped out cotton brought business to the town.
The rates the guests paid for a room in the 1880s were very different from today's rates. Each meal cost fifty cents and rooms were rented at one dollar a night. If washing was done at the hotel, it cost from twenty-five cents to one dollar depending on the size of the wash. To shoe a horse, the charge was one dollar and to feed the horse, fifty cents.
Four of the registers of the Colorado House are in the possession of Hodges family descendants. The registers show the many different names and signatures of the guests. In some of the registers, the horses names were even entered
The people of Matagorda and the hotel guests enjoyed entertainment throughout the year at the hotel. Many balls were given at Christmas time and the two large downstairs rooms were thrown together to make a large dancing floor. At the end of the great room was a large fireplace over which hung a large mahogany-framed mirror. At Christmas, "Merry Christmas" was written across the mirror. The Colorado House was also the scene of many soirees which were evening parties.
The stationery of the Colorado House was also of superior quality. The artist, Helmuth Holst, that drew the illustration visited Matagorda and then returned to Europe where he drew the scenes of Matagorda from memory. He sent the illustration back to Mr. Hodges and Hodges decided to use it as stationery despite the fact that that the artist misspelled the name of the hotel on the drawing. The artist understood the name to be Colonado House instead of Colorado House.
The Colorado House operated until 1885 and was torn down in 1932 by the Hodges' grandson, Albert H. Wadsworth. It no longer remains, but the memory of the magnificent hotel still remains in the minds of those who were able to see the hotel in their early days.
The Hodges had one daughter, Julia Amelia Hodges, born August 11, 1846, and married William Bryant Wadsworth in 1882. They had one son, Albert Hodges Wadsworth, born in Matagorda, March 10, 1887. He married Lurline Andrews of Wharton on December 1, 1910.
In 1912 Albert and Lurline Andrews Wadsworth moved to Bay City, where their son, Albert Hodges Wadsworth, Jr., was born October 11, 1916. Lurline was an accomplished musician and for many years organist for St. Mark's Episcopal Church, of which the Wadsworths were longtime members. Albert was active in numerous civic affairs, and in 1934 founded the Bay City Federal Savings and Loan Association, which he served as president until his death on May 21, 1968. He had maintained the one hundred and thirty-year-old family tradition of ranching and agriculture in Matagorda County begun by his grandfather, Galen Hodges, a true leader in Matagorda county, who died May 10, 1884, Victoria, Texas. Amelia preceded him in death on November 22, 1881.
Three interviews with Mrs. A. H. Wadsworth, January 6,1972, February 18, 1972 and February 21, 1972
Hodges Family of New England by Almon D. Hodges, Jr.
Original lithograph of the 1850s used for the stationery
McKinstry information from Ron Ludington and
[Special to The News]
INDIANOLA, May 14. The remains of Mr. Galen Hodges, of Matagorda, was met at the depot last Sunday by the Odd Fellows and Masons and escorted to the T head, where they placed it on board the schooner Sea Gull, bound for Matagorda. Mr. Hodges was on his way to join the Texas veterans at San Antonio, but got no farther than Indianola, where he died.
Galveston Daily News, May 14, 1884
[To The News.]
There is a time to die," so the preacher
MATAGORDA, May 14, 1884.--A general feeling of gloom and depression pervades our quiet but appreciative community, occasioned by the irreparable loss it has sustained in the death of Galen Hodges, an old and highly respected citizen and a Texas veteran. He died in Victoria, Tex., on the 10th instant, after a lingering illness, and at the time was en route (in company with his old comrade Uncle John Plunkett, a San Jacinto veteran,) to the annual reunion of veterans at Paris, Tex., when he was stricken down. The Masons and Odd Fellows of Indianola escorted his remains from the railroad depot at Indianola to the vessel which conveyed them home, and here they were met at the landing by a large concourse of people of all classes, and were again taken in charge by the local Odd Fellows and escorted to his residence. His funeral procession was the largest here since the war, and was a striking evidence of the esteem in which he was held. Deceased had attained to the ripe old age of seventy-one, and had resided here continuously for the past forty-six years, but was born in the State of Rhode Island. Truly an old landmark is gone. His business here was merchandising, but he was the well-known and ever popular proprietor of the Old Colorado house. Mr. Hodges, by his industry and strict integrity, had amassed quite a large fortune, which he leaves to an only child, a daughter, and the wife of our worthy fellow citizen William B. Wadsworth, who will continue the business. Mr. Hodges was our postmaster, chairman of the County Democratic executive committee and treasurer of Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge. His place among us will be difficult to fill. The most suggestive and appropriate epitaph upon his tomb, even in coming generations, would be simply Galen Hodges.
John L. Croom, Jr.
Galveston Daily News, May 19, 1884
Houston December 13, 1881
In your issue of this date I noticed
a communication from Matagorda in which appears the announcement of
the death of Mrs. Galen Hodges of that place on the 23d of November
last. The deceased deserves more than a passing notice. She came to
this state in the early days of the Republic and in common with the
pioneers of that time; suffered many privations and inconvenience.
She located in Matagorda about the year 1835, and soon after became
the widow of a Mister McKinstery. As such she was the proprietress
of the Mansion House one of the largest Hotels in the area. She soon
became famous for her business management and hospitality and her
hotel was always crowded with the elite of the traveling public, the
Old Texans nearly all knew her well, and will recall to mind the
many pleasant hours spent under her roof. She was again married to
Mr. Galen Hodges a man of undeniable energy, much experience and
good business qualifications, and together they lived in the town of
their adoption for nearly half a century adding greatly to its
financial worth and social worth. The deceased was greatly admired
by the young people and to her more than any one else in that
community indebted for many pleasant pasttimes. In her death the
poor will miss her charities, the wealthy her console, society her
influence, and the public will generally suffer an irreplaceable
loss. None know her but to love her; none named her but to praise.
J. P. R.
The Matagorda Gazette, July 11, 1860--The 4th gave an impetus to things about town, which was quite pleasant and refreshing.
Our people wore unusually smiling faces, and gave early evidences that they were mindful of the glorious day, by throwing their country's ensign to the breeze, and marching to the martial step of exhilarating music through streets. Some of the little boys were "gotten up for the occasion," being dressed in quite unique costumes, and trained to perform some wonderful gyrations of the features and body. The little fellows showed that the spark of patriotism had already been kindled in their young bosoms, and that they gloried in imitating the examples of their forefathers. Having no artillery, the loudest possible noise was made with pistols, crackers, &c., which was kept up pretty much all day. In the evening, the boys were joined by several old citizens, and a grand parade was had, after which the crowd adjourned to make ready for the ball and theatre.
We understand that the theatricals passed off with great éclat; songs appropriate to the occasion were sang; together with the usual interesting performances.
But the greatest event of the day was the ball given at the Colorado House. By ten o'clock a large number of "fair women and brave men," were on the floor, and the brilliantly lighted rooms reflected a scene of joy and conviviality worthy of the "longago" reputation of the place. Among the ladies we noticed an unusual number of strange faces, but like our own townsladies, they were beautiful and moved in the mazy whirl like zephyrs o'er the rosy bowers of elysian fields. The men were attentive and gallant, and no effort was spared on their part to make the hours fly pleasantly.
About 1 o'clock the happy throng repaired to the spacious dining room of "mine host," where everything to regale and refresh the company was spread out upon a table that extended the entire length of the building, and seemed to smile under its load of good fence.
Reprinted in the 100th Anniversary Edition of the
Matagorda County Tribune, August 23, 1945
Matagorda, Texas, Sept. 17.--A. H. Wadsworth is having all the plastering removed and replaced with ceiling in the building on Main street occupied by his parents in their lifetime.
This building is one of Matagorda's land marks, being built in 1849 for a hotel, and was known as the Colorado House and Mr. Wadsworth is using it for the same purpose, the new proprietor being James H. Inglehart. This building is a long two story structure with two north and two south galleries extending the full length of the building, giving a fine view of the bay on the south. There are twelve bed rooms, parlor, kitchen, hallways, etc., and the public halls this long felt want with pleasure.--Matagorda Cor., Houston Post.
Matagorda County Tribune, September 22,
Copyright 2007 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Apr. 20, 2007
Apr. 22, 2007