If These Walls Could Talk

Early glimpses of life in these buildings.

 

Before the Silvermoon and before its predecessor, Adams Tile and Floor Coverings, occupied these historic structures, what did they witness?  These glimpses are provided mostly by Texarkana City Directories and by Sanborn Insurance Company maps from over the years.

  • 211 West Broad

This building now houses the 1885 Parlor and the Singer Courtyard.

The earliest evidence in our possession, a Sanborn Insurance Company map dated October 1885, shows a saddle shop in this location, with a workshop in the rear and a water well behind the building.  By February 1888, the map shows a space divided between two businesses, a milliner in the smaller space and one selling harnesses in the larger space.  By July 1896, the map shows the divided spaces still in place, but now the larger space is occupied by “Chine Laundry” and the smaller by a barber.

The December 1900 map shows a restaurant and a barber, matching the 1899–1900 City Directory, which lists the occupants as a Restaurant owned and operated by John P. Lomax and the Burks & Roberson Barber Shop owned and operated by John W. Burke and C.R. Roberson.  The directory also lists the proprietors of both businesses as “colored.”

Some years later, this space got into show business, albeit briefly.  The March 1909 map lists “Theatre” and “Gallery” with a notation “Stage Scenery Electric” in the back part of the building.  From a letter that has survived, we know that the business was called “C.V. Brown & Son Electric Theatre” and that it featured “High Class Vaudeville, Motion Pictures, and Illustrated Songs by Mr. Eugene Curtis, Baritone.”  We also know, from this letter, that in late February 1909, the owner, Mr. Brown, was seeking the appearance in his theatre of one Kittie Walsh of Dallas, because “your act has been highley recomended to me.”

The 1910 City Directory lists the smaller space as vacant and the larger space as “Mrs. Lizzie Taylor Furnished Rooms.”

By 1920–21, the space had been taken over by the “American Café” owned by Fred Gowing.  The café occupied both 209 & 211 West Broad.

The longest standing use in this building—some 30 years—was selling sewing machines.  From about 1931 to the early 1960s, the space hosted a Singer Sewing Machine shop, managed variously by Lewis H. Cribbs, Robert L. Jayne, Tams B. Massey, James Woods, J.W. Shadix, and Bill McCain.  For a number of years in the later 40s and early 50s, Mrs. Stella Buck was listed as “Instructor.”  The street-entry tile mosaic that marked this as a “SINGER” shop, is now located in the rear of this building, in what has been named the “Singer Courtyard.”

Around 1970, the space was occupied by Manufacturers’ Sample Outlet (for women’s clothing) owned by a Dallas man named H.S. Sinkey.

From the mid-70s to the mid-80s, the building hosted the “Royal Order of Moose; Texarkana Lodge No. 2282.”  It appears that, at least for a time, the Moose Lodge may have served drinks in this space, while, next door and upstairs, Alcoholics Anonymous tried to dry people out.  (See 1975 City Directory listings.)

By 1990, Adams Tile had taken over.

  • 213 West Broad

This building now hosts the Great Hall and Kitchen on the first floor and expects to have apartments on the second floor.

The distant past was sketchy for this building.  It first appears on the maps in 1888 as a 2-story building, listed variously through 1915 as a General Store, “James C. Hiller Dry Goods” (1899–1900), “Meat / Gro.,” Clothes & Shoes, and Second Hand Furniture.

Then, for a few years, its varied past gave way to the furniture business, with residential space above.  By 1940, McCormick’s Furniture Exchange (George F. McCormick, owner) was in the downstairs space, while, upstairs (213 ½), furnished rooms were available from Alamo Rooms (Mrs. Leslie Crawford, Manager).  In 1943, McCormick’s Furniture was still downstairs, but, upstairs, we see the Texan Hotel (furnished rooms, Mickey DeLay, Owner) for a brief period.  By 1945, the hotel business had ceased.

By 1945, however, the furniture business downstairs had given way to photography, in the form of Hall-Gentry Photography Studio (Corinne Vinson, manager).  Upstairs had gone vacant.  By 1950, downstairs hosted two businesses, together, Wallace Photography Studio (Gus Camp, manager) and Parks Jewelers (Herman E. Tuck, owner).  Parks Jewelers would be a persistent landmark in this space for at least 25 years.

By 1955, the photography studio that shared space with the jeweler was Larry Robinson Photography Studio.  Upstairs, a couple of unions had moved in to share the space; listed were International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffers, Warehousemen, & Helpers, Local Union No. 878, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 301.

Thereafter for at least 20 more years, Parks Jewelers or Parks Diamond Jewelers stayed as the sole occupant downstairs.  Upstairs was vacant for some years, but, by 1970 and through at least 1975, upstairs was Alcoholics Anonymous.  For at least some time during AA’s occupancy upstairs, next door in 211, the Moose Lodge may have been serving drinks.

By 1980, the downstairs housed Touch of Beauty Salon (Emma Danaby and Bethelma Williams, owners), but by 1985, the whole building had become vacant.

By 1990, Adams Tile had taken over.

  • 215 West Broad

The building at 215 West Broad Street now hosts various uses, including the Entrance Gallery.  The building first appeared in 1885, being listed on the Sanborn Insurance map as housing “Baled Hay and Produce.”  By 1888, it had given way to the grocery business.

The longest standing business in this space—spanning at least the 35 years between 1896 and 1931—was a meat market and butcher shop.

Braumiller's Meat Market, circa 1914 (based on May calendar)  The earliest name associated with the meat market was “Nick M. Braumiller, Sr., Meat Shop” (1899–1900).  [For some reason, the city directory (probably in error) showed the property vacant in 1910, but maps in 1909 and 1915 showed “meat” as the use of the building.]  The Braumiller Meat Shop is listed in the city directory for 1920–21 and for 1931.  By 1931, Nick must have died, because Walter E. Braumiller is listed as manager.  (Incidentally, Nick Jr. is listed at some point as manager of the Crystal Pool (aka Braumiller’s Pool) near College Drive and West 29th.)

Around 1940–43, the building was used for a Texas state unemployment office; sometimes Arkansas and the federal government shared the space, serving the needs of the unemployed.

Another long-standing use, at least 24 years (circa 1945–69), was to sell furniture, in the form of A.B.C. Furniture Company.  In 1945, the manager was William F. Hanna and the assistant manager was Mildred Reverra.  By 1950, Edith C. Sutton was the treasurer.  By 1955, romance had blossomed, Edith was taken the name Edith Sutton Kirkland, and the manager was Lawrence H. Kirkland, we guess the object of her affections.  That stayed that way through 1965, except that tragedy struck and Edith died before 1965.

By 1970, Adams Tile had taken over.

  • 217 West Broad

This building now hosts the Silvermoon Theatre.

This property had an inauspicious, if important, beginning.  In 1885, the lot was being used for temporary lime storage.  Apparently, lime was used for sanitary purposes, with all the horses in the streets.

Then, for over 20 years, it was in the hotel business.  By February 1888, a new, two-story building appeared.  By July 1896, it was known as the Brunswick Hotel, apparently catering to railroad workers who needed to be close to the rail yard.  A few years later, the hotel was renamed the Silvermoon Hotel and stayed that way for about a decade (1900–09 at least).  The Silvermoon Hotel was run by the Ward family, Mrs. Mary Ward, proprietor.  Our information suggests that the building was vacant in 1910.

Sometime between 1910 and 1915, this building burned and was rebuilt as a three-story building from which hardware was sold.  The new building sported corbelled masonry ledges inside to hold up some of the floor structures and had an elevator in the rear.  We know that, for approximately a quarter of a century (1920–43), the hardware business was certainly Timberlake Hardware (William C. Timberlake, President), its home before it moved around the corner onto Main Street.  Some of the painted signs on both east and west exterior walls still reveal its time as Timberlake’s.

For about the next decade (1945–55), it housed the furniture business.  The year 1945 had it listed as “Brown-Coburn Furniture Co.” (Hardie C. Coburn, manager), while 1950–55 showed the business as “City Furniture Company” (Joncie and Elizabeth Young).

For some fifteen years (1960–75), it housed Beasley Music Company (George H. Beasley, owner).  A baby grand piano was found in the rubble during the cleanout that made way for the Silvermoon on Broad.

By 1985, after a vacant spell, Adams Tile had taken over.  (Briefly, during the Adams era, there was an “S&S Supply Company” listed in 2000.)

If these walls could talk!