Hereford, TX

Hereford, TX–

Driving through the Texas panhandle on US 60 is the town of Hereford, county seat of Deaf Smith County.  Like several towns across the plains, the town experienced a boom in the first half of the 20th century with boosters who saw unlimited potential.  Hereford had several hotels in the early decades of the 20th century: the Central, Cottage Home, Hereford, Corduva, Ritchie, Stockman’s, and Tygret.  They were all located within blocks of the courthouse and the train station.

With the onset of the depression, followed by World War II no new hotels were built.  After the war Deaf Smith citizens promoted the construction of a new modern hotel property.  Local rancher Jim Hill was the chairman of the finance committee entrusted to raise the money and build a new modern hotel.  He died just short of the completion and in his honor the new hotel was named after him.

The March 1950 issue of Texas Hotel Review has a two-page article on the hotel opening on February 24th.  The hotel was placed under the managementt of Associated Hotels a company based in Dallas that managed several hotels in smaller markets across the southwest.  The president of Associated John B. Mills attended the opening delivered a speech.

Sadly, the hotel no longer stands.  The hotel was across the street from the Deaf Smith courthouse.  The hotel opened a few years before the development of the interstate highways and the changing tastes of the travelling public.  The development of the motor inns, Holiday Inns, Howard Johnson, Best Western and dozens of other hotels all catering to the changing tastes in hotel travellers doomed most of the downtown hotels in small cities.

Why this is unique to me is that Hereford is a classic example of the rise, decline and evolution of the lodging needs in 20th century America.  Hereford is an example replicated by the thousands across the country.

Here are images of the Jim Hill Hotel courtesy of Portal to Texas History website.

http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth9711/m1/1/?q=hotel%20hereford

http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth9712/m1/1/?q=hotel%20hereford

http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth9663/m1/1/?q=hotel%20hereford

In 2013 I drove through Hereford and this corner is the location where Hotel Jim Hill was located.

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The Sands Motel was still in operation when I drover through Hereford in 2013.  The sign has that classic modern look. Notice that the neon tubing has been replaced by the flood lights.IMG_4293IMG_4296

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