Fort Worth, Texas
Even though Don and I live in Texas, we decided to have a Texas-style Notable Night. Staying at the Stockyards Hotel was a good way to soak up some of the cowboy history of Fort Worth... and a good excuse to wear our cowboy boots.
Built in 1907
I can only imagine the characters who ate, drank and slept in this hotel when it opened in 1907. By the time the hotel was completed, the Fort Worth Stockyards had already been bustling with cowboys and cattle for a couple of decades.
I was pretty delighted to step inside the lobby and see a few cowboy hats and boots. These were not employee costumes. There just happen to be a lot of boot & hat wearing people in Fort Worth.
Quiet in the Lobby
The whole hotel got a spiffy makeover in the 1990's, I believe. The burgundy suede walls probably weren't there when Bonnie and Clyde stayed in 1933.
We could have stayed in Bonnie & Clyde's actual room, but there was a price hike for that privilege.
Elevator or Stairs?
The elevator was actually pretty spacious for an old hotel. It even had an awesome crank, that was used by an elevator attendant, back in the day.
Since we were on the second floor, we took the stairs most of the time. I was amused by the longhorn images on the carpet. I made sure to say hello to the large portrait of Will Rogers, on the landing.
We didn't get a chance to sit-a-spell on these rockers on the second floor. They were near a curious atrium, with a skylight. I know there was a "new" addition in 1913. I'm guessing we were looking at the exposed walls, where the original and newer buildings connected.
Our Western Room #203
We may not have had the Bonnie and Clyde Room, but we did ask for a Western Style Room, (there was a choice) facing Exchange Avenue. The light shining through the shutters looked a little like bullet holes...
It's always fun to find something in your hotel room that you've never had in any other hotel. I am pretty sure I've never had a boot removing tool in my hotel room! I'm also sure there's a better name for that tool.
I've seen a lot of western style lamps in my time, but I did appreciate the nice wall and table lamps in our room. A sturdy, horseshoe & spur combo, with rawhide shades! Also, the thick, diner style mugs were nice. We filled them at the coffee bar in the lobby.
The luxury pillows kind of hid the cowhide headboard. A furry headboard might be a first for us.
Lots of Wood
The wooden tank with pull chain, was not original and that's probably a good thing. The large wardrobe that held the TV was a nice touch. (I appreciate being able to hide the TV) The wooden rocker was kind of sweet... with a nice hanging lamp, or lace filtered window light, for reading.
I didn't get a photo of our exact view, but our 2 windows looked down on the White Elephant Saloon, across the brick street. There was always a little activity to amuse me, especially the saloon guests on horseback.
Our Own Saloon
Just off the lobby was the hotel's saloon, Booger Red's. I'm not sure who he was, but he had a strange name. The Buffalo Butt Beer, advertised on the mirror, also had an odd name. I'm guessing that happens to be a buffalo's behind, sticking out from the mirror.
From Floor to Ceiling
Beasts and Saddles
The Stockyards attract a lot of tourists, but locals come too. You can tell the locals because they don't snap pictures of the mounted longhorn or the saddle barstools. Don and I have eaten lunch in this bar before, but I still stared at everything like a first time tourist.
If you're going to stay in the Stockyards, it's ridiculous not to take advantage of the perks. Don and I enjoyed the afternoon Cattle Drive, coming down Exchange street at 4:30. Fort Worth's stockyards are the last standing stockyards in the U.S., after all!
Later in the evening, we made it over to Billy Bob's, which claims to be the "World's Largest Honky Tonk," at 100,00 square feet.
We enjoyed some beer and joined a free line dance class. If it had been Saturday, we could have watched some live bull riding, in their indoor arena.
Back at the Hotel
We ended the evening with a late dinner at the hotel's H3 Ranch Restaurant. I was pretty thrilled when the hostess steered us towards the booth, below 3 buffalo heads.
It's kind of sad that we didn't have bigger appetites, since the restaurant gets such good reviews for their steak. But the meal of tacos, salad and soup was perfect. We had to wait a while for a fresh loaf of bread, but it was piping hot and worth it.
Luckily we slept well in our cowboy room. If it had been a weekend, I'm sure the street below would have been louder.
I rose early and snuck out to walk on the brick streets before the area got lively. I didn't get out early enough to avoid the delivery trucks, though. It was Friday, of Labor Day Weekend and the shops and saloons were getting geared up.
I'm so glad we finally had a night at the Stockyards Hotel. I've always been curious. But my memories will actually be more about the wandering, than the hotel itself. From the man who does boot shines on the corner... to the young guy who will let you sit on his longhorn for $5... to the man in the White Elephant Saloon, who claims to be Wild Bill Hickcock... we met some curious souls! Staying at the comfy, hotel gave us the time to explore. I'm good with that!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!