Guest column: Lavaca Hotel started trend to present commercial district | opinion

Built by CU Yancey, a real estate operator in Port Lavaca, at about the turn of the century, the Lavaca Hotel was erected on its present site in what was then practically virgin territory far from the established business section and started the trend which resulted in the building of the present commercial district of Port Lavaca.

Following the construction of what was then the most magnificent and luxurious hotel in this section of the country, other buildings were erected and the old section rapidly became residential in character. North Street became the main thoroughfare.

During the course of its lifetime the hotel has housed some of the most prominent people of the nation. For many years Port Lavaca was a hunter’s and fisherman’s paradise and many wealthy and influential people made this hotel their headquarters while hunting and fishing.

After passing through several hands, and each time reverting back to the Yancey estate, the hotel was purchased by Mrs. Frank Bauer about 1920 and was operated by her and Mr. Bauer until her death in December of 1936. Mrs. Bauer was formerly Elizabeth Weigand and she and her parents moved to Port Lavaca from Indianola following the storm of 1875. Mr. Bauer was also a former resident of that city but did not leave there until after the second storm of 1886.

At the present time the hotel is owned by the five children of Mrs. Bauer and is under the active management of Miss Myrtle Bauer who, during the time she has had charge has effected many improvements and changes. Modern plumbing, furniture and fixtures have been installed and further improvements are being constantly added.

“The improvements made during the past two or three years have been tremendous,” Miss Bauer said regarding this phase of the hotel, “and we believe that for comfort and luxury our accommodations compare very favorably with any in the country. Improvements are still being made and will continue until this hotel is fully as modern in every respect as can be found anywhere.”

Present owners of the hotel are Mrs. Harry Smith, of Port Lavaca; Dr. JE Bauer, of Refugio; Mrs. Myrtle Walker, manager; WH Bauer and Mrs. John Sterling, all of Port Lavaca.

Although the Lavaca Hotel is the oldest hotel in town and has witnessed many historic events, has housed many prominent people, been the center of social activities in Port Lavaca, and has been the headquarters for many important conventions, its modern accommodations, proximity to the business section, and the courteous and friendly atmosphere which pervades the establishment, has made it one of the most popular of its kind.

Growth of town measured by post office receipts

The growth of a town may be contributed to any number of various factors; however, among them there is nothing more authentic upon which to base that growth than the post office receipts.

The Port Lavaca Post Office started in fourth class. In 1902 it became third class, and in 1938 it earned the second class rating. At the present time, we are very close to the $10,000 mark which is the necessary figure to earn a fine new federal building for the Port Lavaca Post Office.

The first records that could be found dated this institution back to the year 1860 when James Gardiner was postmaster. Since that time, we have had Dr. F. Beaumont, CC Blardone, RC Cotton, Capt. Charles Rubert, John B. Mahon, William Mallory, Mrs. Bessie Peterson, Miss Rebecca Rubert, Mr. OO Cherry, and Mrs. Mabel McConico serves us in the capacity of postmaster.

An interesting feature lies in the fact that twice father and daughter have been postmasters in Port Lavaca. Captain Charles Rubert was the father of Miss Rebecca Rubert, and CC Blardone was the father of our present postmaster, Mrs. Mabel McConico.

Besides Mrs. McConico, there are four other local employees. They are Houston S. Powers, Oflus C. Wells, Clark Ryan, and Miss Irma Smith.

Russell Cain has been a resident of Calhoun County for 67 years and a Realtor for 48 years. Watch for his future columns to appear here monthly.

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