Mobberly Hotel

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MOBBERLY HOTEL
MobberlyHotelFoundationRuins03.jpg
Sidewalk and Foundation Remains of the Mobberly Hotel
Location in Texas
Location in Texas
Location in Texas
Former names

Mobberly House

Hotel Tecumseh
Alternative names Hotel Mobberly
General information
Status Destroyed by Fire
Type Hotel
Location 100 S. Mobberly Ave
Longview, Texas
United States
Coordinates 32°29′36″N 94°43′45″W / 32.493438°N 94.729146°W / 32.493438; -94.729146
Named for James M. Mobberly
Construction started 1883
Completed 1884
Demolished June 13, 1965
Technical details
Material Brick
Floor count 3
Lifts/elevators None
Design and construction
Architect Unknown
Other information
Number of rooms 80

The elegant Mobberly Hotel was opened for business in 1884 being the finest hotel between El Paso, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. Railroad men who regularly stayed at the hotel during their stop in town would have their special room they would request. If the room was already rented, sometimes the railroad man would go up to the guest's room and politely request they vacate the room for a different one. The hotel closed in the early 1960s and was destroyed by arson fire during the early morning hours of Sunday, June 13, 1965.

James M. Mobberly 1841-1917[edit]

James "Jim" W. Mobberly was born in 1841 in Kentucky. At the beginning of the Civil War, Jim joined a Confederate cavalry unit. During war, the future hotel operator was arrested and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Rock Island, Illinois. After escaping to Canada, Jim and other family members moved to Texas in 1868. He constructed a lumber company on the Sabine River four miles east of the City of Longview.

In 1874 Jim married Mary Noel and entered the real estate and construction business. He also became active in Longview as a civic leader. He served on the City Council, Longview School Board and was a three-term Gregg County Commissioner. In 1883, Jim along with his brother Sam, constructed the Mobberly Hotel. He was active in the hotel business until he retired in 1893. Jim was listed as a director of the Galveston, Sabine, and St. Louis Railway Company in January, 1887.[1]

On July 8, 1887, S. E. Noel, mother-in-law of Jim, passed away suddenly at the Mobberly Hotel. She was over 60 years of age and was a residence of Owensboro, Kentucky. She was interred in Longview.[2] James M. Mobberly passed away in 1917.

Samuel Haynes Mobberly 1842-1910[edit]

Sam H. Mobberly was born on September 10, 1842 in Daviess County, Kentucky and came from an old and honored Kentucky family. He was a member of the Baptist faith and a Mason.

He was a class of ready to die, never turning his back to the foe. At the first news of the strife between the State, he hurried to the nearest recruiting station and enlisted at Russellville in the 1st Kentucky Infantry under Col. Ben Harden Helms. Sam Mobberly was a genuine Southern and was more faithful to his heritage than any other man.

Five years after the end of the Civil War, Mobberly married Miss Laura Rose Bennett, of Madison Station, Mississippi. They were married for 40 years. Comrade Mobberly was never ill until his last sickness which took his life. When the end came, he said: "I am ready." Samuel H. Mobberly died December 15, 1910 in the hotel which he constructed. He was survived by his wife and their four children. The last sad rites were performed by his brother Masons. Samuel E. Mobberly became the Proprietor of the hotel.

Samuel Ernest Mobberly (1879-1947)[edit]

The children of Samuel E. Mobberly were born in the Mobberly Hotel.[3] In 1924, Samuel E. Mobberly was on the Board of Directors for The Citizens National Bank located in Longview.[4] Searcy Birdsong Sr. became the manager of the hotel in 1931 due to Sam's failing health.[5] After Samuel E. Mobberly's death in June, 1947 the hotel remained in the family for a few months while being managed by Searcy Birdsong, Jr. until it was sold to Harris-Hudson hotel Company in 1948 and assets divided. Searcy Birdsong, Jr. was the nephew of Samual E. Mobberly and Mrs. Alamo Birdsong Mobberly.[6]

Mobberly Hotel: 1883-1884[edit]

Construction on the Mobberly Hotel (also referred to as Mobberly House, and Hotel Mobberly) began in 1883 at the corner of Mobberly Ave. and Pacific Street near the International & Great Northern Depot located at the Junction in Longview, Texas. Brick for the building's facade was quarried out of red clay dirt and burned in a kiln the area of present day Noel Dr. just off of Mobberly Ave.[7]

Mobberly Hotel: 1884-1910[edit]

When opened for business in 1884 the hotel was the most fashionable and social gathering place for social activities between New Orleans and El Paso and was the most popular place for young men and women to dine and dance. The dining room (located on the first floor Mobberly Street side of the building) was famous for the delicious food that it attracted many notables including famous singer Adelina Patti[8]. Even any men traveling on the railroad made the hotel their headquarters because of the fine food.

A parlor had 14 pieces of ebony furniture which included a grand piano.[9]

A beautifully decorated ballroom was located on the second floor which held many balls attended by dancers from all over the southern United States. Following many of the balls was a banquet held in the hotel's dining room.

The grand staircase, described as narrow with a landing between the first and second floors had beautifully carved banisters that were made of mahogany.

Furnishings for all the guest rooms were expensive and elaborate, made from cherry wood that included beds with carved posters described as being almost as high as the ceilings were, marble topped wash stands with porcelain was bowls and pitchers with fresh water provided daily, white linen table clothes, crystal chandeliers, and a fire place in every room.[10]

On November 8, 1887, 15-year old Will Roberts was involved in an accident which he lost both of his feet. As the incoming St. Louis fast express was arriving it was rapidly approaching the Mobberly Hotel for supper. Roberts attempted to jump onto the moving train when he tripped on timbers piled near the track causing him to trip. He was a porter for the Alamo House located near the Mobberly Hotel at the Junction. After the accident he was returned to his home in Marshall, Texas.[11]

On December 29, 1887, a wedding celebration ball for Dr. J. E. Clemens and Miss May C. Evans was held in the hotel dining room. Horse drawn carriages brought the party to the hotel accompanied by The Longview Cornet Band playing a wedding march while approximately 300 guests were waiting. The ball started at 10:30 p.m. ending at midnight when the guests and wedding party were ushered to the adjoining dining room to enjoy the finest and most extensive dinner spread as seen in East Texas prior to the event. After eating guests continued to dance well into the early morning hours. This event placed Longview higher on the social level than other small cities..[12]

Hampton Miller, a Longview minor, was arrested on February 19, 1888. He was charged for robbing the Mobberly Hotel sometime in 1887 when he stole several articles of clothing. Mr. Mobberly was not able to identify him however the minor was identified by several individuals who witnessed the theft..[13]

The Lacey Telephone Company serviced the Mobberly from 1897-1910.

Mobberly Hotel: 1910-1948[edit]

During Samuel E. Mobberly's proprietorship the hotel was renovated with a new addition added on the south in referred to as the "annex". The original dining room that was located on the Mobberly Street side of the hotel was divided up and converted too guest rooms and the banquet room was enlarged and converted to the Mobberly Cafe.[14]

According to a news report, on April 10, 1910, the hotel was fully booked.[15]

W. K. Eckman of Kelly Plow Company had worked at the Mobberly Hotel 27 years prior as a Hotel Operator. He had a special ruler that had his name stamped on it which he lust during his employment at the Mobberly. He had assumed it was stolen. Through the years the ruler made its way to an artist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1923 the artist mailed a letter to Mr. Eckman, which he replied describing the ruler. The artist made a request that he would return the ruler to its original owner with one request, Mr. Eckman wills it to him when he dies. He agreed and he got his ruler back after almost three decades. The design of the ruler was made of bone, four folder, with German silver borders.[16]

Mobberly Hotel: 1948-1959[edit]

Shortly after the hotel was sold to the Harris-Hotel Hudson Company in 1948, a gentleman from the railroad checked-in and requested a certain room. When he was informed the particular room was rented to another guest the gentleman proceeded up stairs to ask the guest to move to a different room. The railroad gentleman had spent his nights in Longview at the Mobberly Hotel in that one certain room. The guest agreed and relocated to a different guest room.[17]

During the Harris-Hudson Hotel Company ownership some guest rooms were refurnished with the Simmons' bedroom design. Running water was piped into the bedrooms and shower facilities installed[18]

Mobberly Hotel: 1960-1965[edit]

On Sunday, October 2, 1964, a robbery occurred at the Mobberly Hotel. A resident of the hotel who worked at Good Shepherd Hospital, by the name of Roy Black, discovered someone had entered his room while he was at work. Items that were missing were Dress shirts, khaki pants, a can of pennies, a grey bag with a zipper, couple pairs of slacks, shoes, and a couple of razors. Early the same day, a customer at the Cafe reported his motor boat was stolen off of his truck. This was among a string of robberies that occurred on Mobberly Avenue.[19]

In 1964, then owner Patrick Ferchill began a renovation of the Mobberly to restore it to its former grandeur with plans to showcase his antique cars by rotating them out on a weekly basis in the hotel lobby. During the renovation process, on Tuesday, January 12, 1965, brick masons were working in the boiler room which was located in a 1-story section of the hotel separate but connected to the 3-story section. Some bricks had fell in front of the doorway blocking the entrance so a worker busted out a window using a shovel so they can continue to transport mortar into the boiler room. When the window was shattered, glass was not the only thing that came down. An entire section of about 20' by 40' of the three story brick facade of the hotel collapsed exposing rooms and furnishings. The roof was sagging significantly over the exposed floors causing fear in workers of possible further collapse.[20]

An eyewitness saw the incident happen first hand who not only was the hotel manager but also was a resident in the hotel. She woke up about 9 a.m. that morning and happened to look out of her window when the events occurred. According to the news article a maid had just left one of the rooms exposed just prior to the wall collapsing.[21]

The cause of the collapse was determined to be rotten wood headers used over the windows which were common in buildings constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In addition, tie rods were not used to support the brick wall and the bricks used were made of the sandstone type which were extremely soft compared to modern bricks. Water and electrical utilities were cut off shortly after which resulted in the hotel being vacated. Some individuals who lived in the hotel had to move out.[22]

Three days later, on Friday, January 15, 1965, about 7:15 a.m., another large section of the 3-story east wall of the Mobberly Hotel's south wing collapsed which left the entire eastern rooms exposed. The debris fell on the roof of the 1-story boiler room damaging the roof and causing the boiler room walls to collapse themselves. Unknowingly the two events involving collapsing walls sealed the Mobberly Hotel's fate.[23]

During the early morning hours, before sunrise, on Sunday, June 13, 1965, a passerby noticed flames through the hotel windows and contacted the fire department. The fire department arrived, blocking off Mobberly Ave between Cotton St. and Methvin St. An elderly bystander watching the blaze before sunrise made the comment that every window in the hotel was lit up, which reminded him of the old days when the hotel was in business. Sunday afternoon the fire was out however the remains were still smoldering. All that remained was the first floor dining room section on the northeast end facing Pacific Ave. and half of the two story addition on the south end of the original hotel building. The rest of the three story structure was gutted leaving just walls and openings where glass windows use to be, allowing you to see the sky. It was determined the fire was set by a vagrant who had entered the building the night before. It took a crane with a flat steel plate used as a wrecking ball to knock the brick walls down.

Mobberly Hotel Journal[edit]

Some events listed below may go in further detail under the "History" subcategory.

  • 1883 Construction Commenced.
  • 1884 Mobberly Hotel opened for business.
  • 1886, Jan. 15 A ball given by The Knights of Pythias at the Mobberly house. [24]
  • 1887. Dec. 29 Wedding celebration ball for Dr. J. E. Clemens and Miss May C. Evans was held in the hotel dining room.[25]
  • 1888, Feb. 19 A minor was arrested, charged with robbing the Mobberly Hotel at the junction about a year before.[26]
  • 1895, May 17 Captain W. W. Winfield and W. K. Eckman leased the Mobberly Hotel changing the name to Hotel Tecumseh.[27]
  • 1903, Nov. 25 "Mobberly House - Longview, Texas - Within a half block of the T.S.V.& N.W. Ry. depot Solicits patronage of all travelers over that road. Special attention paid to ladies when alone. Reduced Rates to Families." *This ad appears in several editions. [28] [29] [30] [31]
  • 1907, Oct. 1 Dr. B. C. Bussey of Houston, Texas leases the Mobberly Hotel.[32]
  • 1915, Apr. 11 Mrs. J. M. Mobberly, wife of James M. Mobberly, passed away in Longview where she had been a resident for over 40 years. She previously lived in Kentucky.[33]
  • 1924, Feb. 24 Newspaper reported Mobberly Avenue will be completed connecting Cotton and Methvin Streets. The paper said "...which places Mobberly avenue, to the Mobberly Hotel in fine condition."[34]
  • 1924, Mar. 31 "LADIES and MEN WANTED for local canvassing, $7.00 per day. Mr. Baker, Mobberly Hotel, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m."[35]
  • 1931 Searcy Birdson Sr. became manager of the hotel[36]
  • 1947 Samuel E. Mobberly Passed away.[37]
  • 1948 Harris-Hudson Hotel Company out of Shreveport, Louisiana purchased the hotel from the Mobberly family.[38]
  • 1965, January 12 A 3-story wall collapse on the eastern wall in the south wing as a result of a masonry using a shovel to bust out a window in the boiler room on the first floor. The utilities were cut prompting the closure of the hotel.[39]
  • 1965, January 15 Another 3-story section of the exterior eastern wall on the Mobberly Hotel's south wing collapsed exposing all of the rooms in that part of the building. The debris also destroyed the boiler room in a 1-story section down below.
  • 1965, June 13 The vacant Mobberly Hotel is destroyed by fire.

Mobberly Hotel Owners & Operators[edit]

Operator in this sense is referenced to the building and operations being leased out to someone other than the owner.

  • 1884-1893 Owner: James M. Mobberly & Samuel H. Mobberly[40]
  • 1893-1917 Owner: Samuel H. Mobberly[41]
  • 1895, May 17 - 1907, Sep. 30: Operator: Captain W. W. Winfield and W. K. Eckman
  • 1907, Oct. 1 - Unknown: Operator: Dr. B. C. Bussey of Houston, Texas
  • 1917-1947 Owner: Samuel E. Mobberly[42]
  • 1948-Unknown Owner: Harris-Hudson Hotel Company[43]
  • 19??-1965 Owner: Patrick Ferchill (Building owner at time of fire)

Mobberly Hotel Staff & Residents[edit]

This section does not include owners and lessees (unless they previously worked as an employee). Dates presented are based on year material was produced.

  • Birdsong Jr., Search: Manager (1947)[44]
  • Birdsong Sr., Searcy: Manager (1931)[45]
  • Farrar, L. O Mr & Mrs: Manager (1955)[46]
  • Ferguson, Mrs. Birdie: Manager & Resident (1965)[47]
  • Quin, Tom: Manager (1910)[48]

Post-Mobberly Hotel[edit]

  • 1965-19?? Fritz Cornealson
  • Late 1960's: Property purchased by Fritz Cornealson of Cornealson Moving & Storage and constructed a warehouse on the former hotel property.
  • ????-2013 A-1 Service Air Conditioning & Heating
  • 2013 City of Longview purchased the property in February
  • 2016: The warehouse and adjoining office building were demolished. Pacific Avenue was realigned through where the hotel formerly stood.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, The Railroads. The Galveston, Sabine, and St. Louis, January 25, 1887, Page 4
  2. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, Longview., July 9, 1887, Page 5
  3. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  4. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, The Community's Interest, Friday, January 18, 1924, Page 4
  5. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  6. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  7. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  8. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  9. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  10. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  11. ^ The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX, Both Feet Cut Off, November 9, 1887, Page 2
  12. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX Clemens-Evans, Friday, December 30, 1887, Page 4
  13. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, LONGVIEW, February 21, 1888, Page 7
  14. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  15. ^ The Marshall News Messenger, Marshall, TX, History of the Injunction Suite, April 12, 1910, Page 5
  16. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, W. K. Eckman Has Ruler Returned Lost 27 Yrs. Ago, Friday, January 11, 1924, Page 1
  17. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, W. K. Eckman Has Ruler Returned Lost 27 Yrs. Ago, Friday, January 11, 1924, Page 1
  18. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  19. ^ Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Police Hunting Suspects, October 3, 1960, Pg. 6-A
  20. ^ Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Wall Collapses, Tuesday, January 12, 1965, Page 1-A
  21. ^ Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Wall Collapses, Tuesday, January 12, 1965, Page 1-A
  22. ^ Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Wall Collapses, Tuesday, January 12, 1965, Page 1-A
  23. ^ Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Another Large Wall Section of Hotel Falls, Friday, January 15, 1965, Page 1-A
  24. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, State News, Longview. Special to the Gazette, Wednesday, January 13, 1886, Page 8.
  25. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX Clemens-Evans, Friday, December 30, 1887, Page 4
  26. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, LONGVIEW, February 21, 1888, Page 7
  27. ^ Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Fort Worth, TX, LONGVIEW NEWS - A Hotel Change, May 18, 1895, Page 3
  28. ^ The Panola Watch, Carthage, TX, Vol. 31, No. 26, Ed. 1, Wednesday, November 25, 1903, Page 5
  29. ^ The Panola Watch, Carthage, TX, Vol. 32, No. 6, Ed. 1, Wednesday, July 13, 1904, Page 3
  30. ^ The Panola Watch, Carthage, TX, Vol. 33, No. 46, Ed. 1, Wednesday, May 9, 1906, Page 3
  31. ^ The Panola Watch, Carthage, TX, Vol. 35, No. 12, Ed. 1, Wednesday, September 18, 1907, Page 7
  32. ^ The Houston Post, To Have Junction Hotel, Friday, September 27, 1907, Page 11
  33. ^ The Marshall Messenger, Marshall, TX, DEATHS, Monday, April 12, 1915, Page 4
  34. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Street Workers, Saturday, February 2, 1924, Page 1
  35. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, Classified Ads, Monday, March 31, 1924, Page 4
  36. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, W. K. Eckman Has Ruler Returned Lost 27 Yrs. Ago, Friday, January 11, 1924, Page 1
  37. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, W. K. Eckman Has Ruler Returned Lost 27 Yrs. Ago, Friday, January 11, 1924, Page 1
  38. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, W. K. Eckman Has Ruler Returned Lost 27 Yrs. Ago, Friday, January 11, 1924, Page 1
  39. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, "Mobberly Hotel Wall Collapses", Tuesday, January 12, 1965, Page 1
  40. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  41. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  42. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  43. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  44. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  45. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  46. ^ Longview News-Journal, Longview, TX, Mobberly Hotel Here Scene Of Many Fashionable Balls, January 1, 1955, Page 150, Annual Edition
  47. ^ The Longview Daily News, Longview, TX, "Mobberly Hotel Wall Collapses", Tuesday, January 12, 1965, Page 1
  48. ^ The Marshall Messenger, Marshall, TX, Contest is Separate from Longview affair, May 24, 1912, Page 5

External links[edit]

  • [1] Confederate Veteran "CV 1911 Pg 5"
  • [2] Gregg County Historical Museum Online Exhibit 1 - Basement
  • [3] Gregg County Historical Museum Online Exhibit 2 - Basement
  • [4] Handbook of Texas Online - LONGVIEW JUNCTION, TX
  • [5] History of Longview, Texas
  • [6] James M. & Samuel H. Mobberly; nephew Sam
  • [7] Lacey Phone Records
  • [8] Longview, Texas - The Good Old Days 1800-1900
  • [9] Mobberly Hotel Stationery - Letter Dated 1-30-1921
  • [10] RootsWeb TxGREGG-L Mobberly Hotel
  • [11] TXGenWeb - Longview Photos - Businesses

Photo gallery[edit]