Hotel Garza in Post, Texas
This sturdy little no nonsense hotel, was our home for one night in June.
The old railroad hotel has been sitting in this tiny Texas town for over 100 years. It's been on our Hotels to Try List, for just a few.
Post is a curious place, but not exactly a vacation destination.
But, since the town was right on our route home from Colorado, we booked a night.
Drive-by in 2019
Most of the hotels on this blog were introduced to us by word of mouth or the internet. But The Garza showed itself to us, when we drove through Post 3 years ago. I snapped a photo from the car.
This year when we pulled into town the hotel looked pretty much the same, except for a missing tree and a room addition.
We parked right in front and headed for the obvious entrance, with the awning. Small town hotel parking is such a treat!
I noticed the door to the right, and guessed it belonged to our hosts. Owners who live onsite sometimes have good stories!
Glass Block in 1916?
As we headed to the door I realized I knew close to nothing about this old hotel, except that it opened in 1916. Before we headed in, I took a photo of the simple entry, wth lots of glass block. It prompted simple questions. Did they even have glass block in 1916? Did they add that in the '30's?
I read later that Gustave Falconnier patented the first hollowed glass block in 1886. I love collecting little historic tidbits!
Inside The Garza
Don and I stepped inside at about 4 pm. We were greeted by some soft classical music and a strand of glowing lights. But no people.
In the corner behind the desk, I spotted a camera, which most likely announced our arrival. A small sign told us to text, or press the buzzer for help. We buzzed.
While we waited for the host, my eyes followed the shiny wood floors past the sofas and dining tables.
I could see stairs heading up to what looked like a cozy, loft-like space. I later learned that the hotel's lower level, originally held a general store and dining room. The hotel rooms were above.
Looking at this image with 14-foot pressed tin ceilings, I can imagine shelves holding dry goods... coffee, cornmeal and flour. I picture bolts of fabric and tools. I picture glass jars full of penny candy. I don't picture those two enormous chandeliers hanging down, though! They were very, very odd. I'd love to know their story.
I was studying the old organ when Ms. T appeared wearing gym shorts and tee shirt. Our host's laid back look, made me hopeful that we might chat a while and I could get some hotel/town history. But Ms. T was reserved and efficient as she checked us in.
She was quick to hand us our key and give us the scoop on wifi and breakfast. She walked us to the hall, pointed us towards our room, then disappeared into her private residence.
Our first floor room was one of 11 guest rooms. It was clean and neat, with its own pressed tin ceiling. Decent for $118.
I appreciated having a ceiling fan and 2 bedside tables with lamps. There was a nice little craftsmen style desk and mirror.
Room with a View
The king size bed took up most of the room. There was another chair, but no real place to sit comfortably. Don sat on the bed and noticed right away that there was an odd tilt to the mattress. But we managed. We've camped on hills and slept in rocky boats...
Our window had a view of the side garden. It was 98 degrees that afternoon, but I was still glad to know we had use of the patio. What was that black tubing in the gravel?
Don and I had nothing but time. In fact we weren't sure how we could use up all the time. It was a little too warm for exploring town, so we set off to explore inside first. We left our room and headed for the stairs and loft.
The stairs took us to the second story, with a stop along the way.
I'm guessing that years ago, this little area was added, between the first and second floor. It gave us a good view of the ceiling.
I wonder why we didn't curl up and read a book or play checkers? The space looks inviting in my photo, but the quiet room had an odd feel. Was it the low ceiling?
Ceilings and Hall
Surely we could have have eased into that space, if we'd given it some time. Now when I study the photo of Don, I fantasize about the creative fun we could have had, with those ornate ceilings... if we had misbehaved like the vandals did some years ago, when the hotel sat vacant. Don was tall enough, he wouldn't have needed spray paint. He could have played Michelangelo with a brush and a pallet of bright paint. He wouldn't have needed scaffolding or ladder!
Just kidding. Don and I are courteous guests. We just wandered down the second story hallway and studied the antiques. I regretted not taking an upstairs guest room. This is the floor where guests slept 100 years ago, after arriving to Post by train. It was fun to imagine.
We peeked in a few open rooms. I spotted a claw footed tub under a chandelier. That must be what the website meant, when they used the word elegant.
The little kitchen area wasn't elegant, but it had fun, retro features and a handy microwave and fridge. I sort of kicked myself that we'd chosen a first floor room. It would have been less awkward being the only guests, if we'd been on the second floor.
We gave up waiting for the weather to cool. I stepped out to check on the garden and Don gathered some ice and beverages.
The brochure said, "Time outside is pleasant in the lighted waterfall garden." That sounded nice.
But I could see the host family's addition had invaded on some of the guest space. I wasn't totally clear if the patio was for the owners, or the guests.
I noticed festive lights, wrapping the trees' trunks and branches. I hoped the garden would be pleasant when the sun went down. Sadly, the waterfall was dry and the patio chairs were covered in bird droppings. I headed down towards the less shaded deck. I almost tripped over a black hose that snaked over the walk... and that's when I noticed dog dishes the messy gravel. It was clearly a dog poop zone. I felt like I'd walked into someone's private backyard.
I headed down towards the newish deck near the rear of the yard. I spotted more hanging lights. That made the idea of sitting out after sunset, more inviting.
I noticed an open gate on the back fence. I peeked in and saw an above ground pool, which is a little odd for a B&B. But I was wilting at that moment and the water looked welcoming. Then I pondered over the confusing words on the small sign. I determined that the pool was off limits to guests. Oh well. Don would be arriving with cold drinks soon.
Cheers to Post!
Don and I rarely turn down a hotel patio or porch, even in rain, or scorching heat. We were determined to make a toast to our hotel's history, which we knew nothing about.
We snapped a photo with the camera timer. If we'd waited a moment longer, we could have asked Ms. T to take the photo, when she appeared from a backdoor. She seemed a little startled to see us on the deck. Or maybe she was perplexed, that we'd moved the chairs into the shade. As our host headed into the pool area, I quickly asked an important question. "Will the front door be locked if we come back late from dinner?" She answered without pausing. "It will be unlocked till 10." As she closed the gate behind her she added, "If you're later, just knock."
Hmm? Luckily we had no big plans in Post that night.
Don and I enjoyed our cold beverages while we listened to splashing sounds behind the fence. (swimming or pool cleaning?) We were amused by the flies that enjoyed Happy Hour with us. They reminded us that we were out in Texas cow/ranch country.
10 minutes later, Ms. T exited the pool area. I slowed her down with another question about the waterfall. As I feared the water feature was out of commission. Oh well.
Post in the Evening
Don and I actually had a great time on the deck. We did some history research on our phones and I got more curious the town. As the sun lowered, we headed off down Main Street. We had the Post to ourselves.
Post actually has a somewhat bizarre connection to C.W. Post, of cereal fame. In the early 1900's Mr. Post bought land in the area, with some of his fortune. He attempted to create a Utopian community, with tidy homes and trees. The town would have no liquor or brothels. He worked at his dream for less than a decade, but ended up taking his own life in 1914. Sometimes history is sobering.
Buildings and Bricks
We had a fun time wandering the quiet town. We didn't see any perfect little houses anywhere, but we found interesting buildings. The old Post Dispatch looked like it had the same rounded glass block, as our hotel.
The Tower Theatre looked like it had the similar brick work as The Garza. The town had a lot of tan brick, because Mr. Post's Scottish stone masons evidently liked working with them.
We wandered to dinner and admired the impressively wide brick streets. A job done by WPA during the depression, I believe.
It was 7:30 on a Saturday night. Stores were closed and we saw no one. I wanted to see a tumbleweed roll over those bricks!
To & From Dinner
We paused a couple times, so I could pose with the colorful sign and an oil pump. The working pump reminded me why the town had a pungent oil odor.
We ate at George's, which was the only open restaurant. Greek-Mexican-BBQ! We meandered back down the empty, lonely street. The hotel was just as quiet. I peeked out to the garden and saw only one glowing strand of patio lights. We opted to enjoy our a.c. and a little TV.
By morning the temps had lowered and our moods had lifted. We were up and showered by 7, but the breakfast window was 8:30 to 9:15. We arrived 10 minutes early to grab coffee. I hoped the morning vibe would feel more relaxed and we could end up chatting with our hosts.
But Ms. T was busy setting up the buffet. She looked up and I assured her we were just grabbing coffee. We left the buffet table alone and happily took our mugs to the couches.
We were not the only guests as it turns out. We met Bill who was getting early coffee just like us. He looked like someone we just needed to have a chat with. We introduced ourselves and he gave Don a firm handshake and solid eye contact. (Don noted) I reached out and Bill took my hand and tipped his hat. I was honored.
Turns out that Bill was "born and raised" in Post and was back visiting with his wife. He was the perfect person to fill us in on history. Not only did Bill have years of memories (he was about a decade older than me) but he was enthused and personable and definitely stylish, in his ostrich boots!
Bill chuckled about how wild Post was, back in the day. He teased that he knew that, since he had been one of the outlaws. He later got into law enforcement and knew quite a bit about our hotel in its darker years.
I looked at the tidy hotel and tried to picture the space when it was vacant. (1970's?) Then I imagined the folks who made the empty hotel their home. Bill said that at one point, a "Lady of the Night" moved in. (He made sure I knew what that meant) Then the teenage boys in town started coming around and the law had to get involved. The hotel became vacant again. Eventually the hotel had a rebirth when the Plummers bought the property in 1991. Current owners have been here about a decade.
After a good chat, Bill's wife joined him for breakfast. Don and I enjoyed ours, while we thought about all we'd learned. We pictured the town as Bill described it. He told us stories that his parents had told him. What a fun connection with a local!
We wondered what would have happened to CW Post's town, if he'd been happier and healthier and lived longer. That's something we didn't discuss with Bill. Oh how I wish I could have had 3 hours with Bill.
Good-bye Garza & Good-bye Post
After breakfast we headed off. There was no formal check out, but I called to Ms. T behind the buffet table partition.. Told her we had a nice time and were on our way. I hope she heard me.
It was a pretty morning and we drove all over town. Post has about 5,000 residents, but I actually don't remember seeing one. We drove all over the little town and I felt myself oddly connected to the curious place.
(click pics to enlarge)
We saw the old train station and the Sanitarium, which is now a museum. We stopped to see the old site, where Postex Cotton Mill had been! We learned of a random family connection, when we read about Ely Walker Dry Goods buying the mill in the 1940s. "Ely & Walker" is part of my family history, as well as both Bush presidents. My Triple Great Uncle, Frank Ely was in business with G.W. Bush's Great Great Grandfather, David Davis Walker! There you have it.
Initially I felt a little disappointed. The hotel was actually fine, but there was nothing that made it stand out. When that is the case, it's the people you meet that make the hotel stay memorable. I wanted some inside scoop to help me remember our stay. Or something funny or thought provoking! But I wasn't getting anywhere with our hosts. That's okay. This is the third pandemic summer. I'll give them a break. We never know what's going on in people's lives.
I do know that I'll have fond memories now. Our visit with Bill did the trick. So, I'll remember The Garza as a simple and decent hotel, where we met a wonderful local and absorbed some entertaining history... that led to family history!
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!