Victoria City Seal
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The following material was excerpted from The 88th Anniversary Edition of the Victoria Advocate, published September 28, 1934. (You can use the "Find" button in your toolbar to search for a certain name.)

  • JAMES DAVIS built the building known as the old REIMANN WAGNER place in 1839 of Victoria brick. It is said to have been Victoria's first opera house. Jim Davis in later years drove the city street sprinklers. He died about 1900.
    His son was WILLIAM F.(BILL) DAVIS, who was a carpenter. Bill Davis passed away about 1930.
    The building was later occupied by a grocery and bakery. The bakery was operated by E.J. DURANT, who died about 1910. In 1934, the vacant building was owned by his widow, Mrs. ERNESTINE DURANT of Houston.

  • THEOBALD SENGELE, a native of Alsace, was a building contractor. He arrived here in 1844, and built his home of Victoria brick on East Forest Street the same year. Theobald Sengele died September 9, 1911. He was the father of A.T. SENGELE. A.T. SENGELE was nearing 86 years old in 1934, and was the oldest native Victorian at that time.
    In 1934 Mrs. THERESA GUDAT of San Antonio was the owner of the residence.

  • VALENTINE SCHUHMANN, a native of Germany came to Victoria from Mexico in 1844. He erected the building known as the DIESBACH building of Victoria cypress at the corner of Liberty and Santa Rosa Streets. Valentine Schuhmann followed the saddlery business here until his death on November 8, 1888.
    In 1934, his nephew, GEORGE DIESBACH, approaching 84 years of age, owned the property. George Diesbach was a retired Victoria jeweler and druggist.
    The building in 1934 was occupied jointly by the Victoria Printing Company and Mrs. R.E. HILL's photograph gallery.

  • MILTON HARDY came here from Tennessee in 1825 and built his house of Victoria brick and cypress in 1845, the year of his marriage. He was the second husband of Mrs. MARGARET HEFFERNAN BORLAND, mother of the late Mrs. Nellie WOOD-KREISLE. Mr. HARDY lived in this house until his death on July 26, 1852. He was a victim of the cholera epidemic of that year, and his two little children, WILLIAM and ELIZA, died during the same epidemic. He was only 35.

  • Mr. and Mrs. RICHARD OWENS, parents of Mrs. JAMES F. WELDER of Victoria, owned the house located at 304 East Juan Linn. It was originally a one-story structure and when first built about 1858 faced West Santa Rosa in the rear of the building now (1934) occupied by HEINKE's PHARMACY. A number of years ago it was moved to the Juan Linn location. In 1934 it was the home of Misses CORINNE and MARGARET WOOD and FRANK WOOD, formerly known as the St. Anthony Inn.

  • HALFIN, HENRY, a native of Dahn, Bavaria, was one of Victoria's early merchants. He had his store and residence in the building known as the APFEL building at the corner of Bridge and Constitution Streets. Brick made in Victoria was used in its construction. HENRY HALFIN died at the age of 79 in 1902

    APFEL, MR. & MRS. JAKE resided in the upper story of HALFIN'S building for many years and two of their daughters, Mrs. BLANCHE (JOE) COHEN, and Miss DELPHINE APFEL, lived upstairs in 1934 (at this time SIBLEY and HAROLD SHAW had their tire store in the lower story.) Mrs. JAKE APFEL was the daughter of HENRY HALFIN.

  • Judge ALEXANDER PHILLIPS - his home was erected in 1851 of Victoria brick and lumber. Judge PHILLIPS, a distinguished Victoria lawyer was born in Montgomery County, New York, June 16. 1804, and came here in 1842 after serving as instructor in the noted classical high school at Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He represented Victoria in the State Constitutional Convention of 1866, and died in this city (Victoria)June 24, 1880. His widow, who married Dr. MAX URWITZ, a Victoria physician, continued to occupy the home until her removal to Houston.
    Then the house was owned by the following people:
    • J.E. HEXTER, who moved to Dallas;
    • the Mr. JOHNSON who established the Johnson Addition in Victoria;
    • SAMUEL R. DABNEY, eminent Victoria lawyer who moved to Houston;
    • the late W.N. FLEMING, prominent Victoria ranchmen;
    • the late Mrs. L.G. (NELLIE BORLAND WOOD) KREISLE; and
    • Dr. W.W. SALE, well-known specialist who moved to Victoria from Cuero.

  • WILLIAM R. RUPLEY - erected a hotel at the corner of Main and Santa Rosa Streets. This was begun in 1859 and completed in 1860. The material used was Victoria brick. WILLIAM R. RUPLEY was a native of Pennsylvania and spent the last years of his life there. He owned extensive lands south of Victoria, later embraced in the WELDER Ranch. He was a member of the ill-fated Mier Expedition and although wounded, succeeded in escaping.
    Mr.RUPLEY'S wife was the only daughter of RAFE CAMPBELL of Victoria, deceased. Their daughter, Miss MAY RUPLEY, became the wife of the late JOHN K. THOMPSON, a Victoria planter who was interested in mining operations in Arizona.
    MR. RUPLEY'S son, WILLIAM R. RUPLEY JR and Mrs. THOMPSON inherited the Rupley Estate. William Jr. moved from Victoria to Houston.

  • JACOB RUPLEY, brother of WILLIAM R. RUPLEY SR, was a tinner and also a native of Pennsylvania. JACOB was a veteran of the Mexican War and rose to the rank of captain in the Confererate Army, commanding the Victoria Company in the 6th Texas Infantry Regiment. He died in Victoria of yellow fever during the epidemic of 1867.

  • ABE SIMON, who with his son MORITZ SIMON owned the Simon Department Store, began business in the Rupley Building in 1896 and continued in business there until 1928.

  • The dry goods store of H. GOLTZMAN (possibly GLOTZMAN?) was located in the Rupley Building, following the move of the Simon Department Store. GOLTZMAN, formerly of St. Louis was the son-in-law of JACOB LAZOR of the Victoria Electric Shoe Shop.

  • During reconstruction days a number of Union Army officers had quarters in the old ABRAHAM LEVI home, and when Mr. LEVI returned from France, late in 1865 or early in 1866, and found them in his residence he appealed to Washington and finally succeeded in having them vacate it. The old Levi home, located at 403 North Main St. was erected about 1860.

  • The home of J.M. COCHRAN on North Moody St. was built in 1854, of pine and oak. The building material was ordered by boat from New York by Dr. STEPHEN F. COCKE, an early pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Victoria, who resided at Green Lake before moving to Victoria. He intended to use the lumber in constructing a hunting lodge, but died before it could be built.
    Stephen's brother DR. THOMAS R. COCKE, father of Mrs. THOMAS J. STERNE of Victoria, used the lumber to build a home for his niece, Mrs. J.M. (ELLA) COCHRAN who was the daughter of Dr. STEPHEN F. COCKE, and the wife of a Presbyterian minister.

  • From 1871 the Cocke home was the residence of WILLIAM LARRABEE CALLENDER and Mrs. SARAH ROBERTA SANGSTER CALLENDER. Mr. CALLENDER was one of Victoria's ablest lawyers. He was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and came to Victoria in 1855, dying in 1895.
    The home was then owned by Mr. and Mrs. LLOYD M. STEVENS. Mrs. Stevens was the daughter of WILLIAM and SARAH CALLENDER. Mrs. Stevens established the age of the home when she found a Presbyterian paper bearing the date of 1855 and containing the inaugural address of President Buchanan in one of the window casings.


(SOURCE: The Victoria Advocate, Sunday, May 17, 1970. . .” Vignettes of Old Victoria”, by Sidney R. WEISIGER.)

One of the earliest hotels in Victoria was the VICTORIA HOTEL, which was operated by a Mr. HARRISON about 1847. It was located at Bridge and Forrest Streets, later the first site of Trinity Episcopal Church (this church has now moved). This hotel became well known in the coast section of Texas and was recommended as a stopping place for the German settlers passing through Victoria in the 1840’s. In connection with the hotel was a tavern or barrel house, which was on the west side of the building. James A. ROBINSON became the owner and in 1849 sold to George WRIGHT who a short time later sold to David SUTHERLAND of Bexar Co. The price was $1,500 and from the itemized account of the furnishings, the hotel must have been rather small.

About 1858 Mrs. John STARKEY built a hotel at the corner of William and Juan Linn Streets. Her son, William was operator and later her daughter operated here as the “THOMPSON HOUSE”. On through a number of owners C.H. FREEMAN in 1897 advertised as the VICTORIA HOTEL with electric lights and a telephone. In 1913 the building was moved to the corner of Juan Linn and Liberty Streets. In 1918 it was demolished and the lumber used to erect ranch buildings south of Victoria.

At the time the VICTORIA HOTEL was on Forrest and Bridge there was another hotel on Forrest Street, on a site later occupied by Park Garage, now a parking lot. This was the famous old “GLOBE HOUSE”, which was a nice brick building and in 1855 consisted of 12 guest rooms, a dining room, kitchen, stable, orchard and garden. About this date J.L. NICKELSON sold to the “Western Texas State Co.” Some six or seven years later the plant was remodeled and enlarged. A fire January 1 of 1860 or 1861 destroyed much of the buildings. At this time the hotel could afford accommodations for about 400 persons. All sleeping rooms were elegantly and conveniently furnished. Twenty rooms had fireplaces.

The store of Mr. SCHWARTZ also burned and as neither business had insurance the hotel owners, Mr. NICKELSON and Mr. KENDRICK lost about $30,000. This fire was caused by an overheated stove pipe in the kitchen during the dinner hour. J.I. RUNDELL was probably the last operator of this famous old hotel which closed a few years after the Civil War.

CARTER HOUSE, located on the 100 block of East Forrest, played a prominent part of early Victoria life. Mr. and Mrs. CARTER, formerly of the “MAGNOLIA HOUSE” of Indianola, were the owners in 1879. This was a very popular home away from home. Some of the guests during the week of June 1-6, 1879 were Judge HUNTER of Goliad; H. ROOKE, Refugio; T. STERNE, Victoria Co.; Free GREEN, Victoria; J.J. and R.H. WELDER, Refugio; Wm. and Winn TRAYLOR of the area now known as Bloomington; Rev. Mr. POTTER, Mission Valley; Frank B. OWENS, Texana; and Gee W. WEST, Sweet Home.

The MUTI, ST. JAMES and HERMAN HOUSE were on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Forrest from an early date.

One other hotel of a very early date was the CITY HOTEL. In the election of 1842 this hotel was one of the voting places. About January of 1845 the building was being repaired, and the only room that was tight was the parlor or lobby. A large stove supplied heat, and tobacco-chewing men sat near for warmth. These men, according to an old account, left at dark but returned about dawn and started drinking whiskey.

This was CITY HOTEL NO. 1. Another CITY HOTEL at 106 E. Juan Linn St., was opened by A.M. WOOLEY in August 1916.

INGRAM HOTEL on East South Street, now known as Santa Rosa, was started by Judge INGRAM in 1841 and closed by shortage of food and supplies in 1861.

The “MAGNOLIA HOUSE”, operated by Mr. and Mrs. John SNEIR in 1896, was opposite the Express Office. Hacks ran to and from all trains. The rate was $1 per day.

The old building at Juan Linn and William was under many names. Some of these were SHARKEY, THOMPSON, VICTORIA, MUTI, CENTRAL UNION, GRAND CENTRAL and others.

To try to describe and tell of the many hotels of Victoria would take a book. There were many that are not mentioned. Of all these places the DENVER HOTEL was the last hotel in downtown Victoria. It was demolished in 1978.

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