Historic Texas Hotel / Luxury and Celebrities

 

Not far south of Dallas Texas, in the town of Waxahachie, the old Rogers Hotel was at one time the place to see the celebrities. It was a gem of a hotel in a small town south of Dallas with a very colorful past. Today the Rogers Hotel is alive and well and is a center for entertainment and shopping. The Rogers Hotel now offers posh shopping, dining and office space and this historic hotel also offers a limited number of rooms for guests.

rogers hotel waxahachie

The Rogers Hotel, Waxahachie Texas

A Luxury Hotel

The Rogers Hotel, built in 1912, served as the residence for professional baseball players as well as such famous celebrities as Frank Sinatra.

It was also said that Bonnie and Clyde were also seen at the Rogers Hotel. This old hotel in Waxahachie TX was also used for scenes in the 1983 movie, Places in the Heart. Music videos have also been shot on the hotel premises.

The Rogers Hotel, which sits across the street from the county courthouse at College Street and Main, was named in honor of Emory W Rogers, the founder of Waxahachie Texas. Rogers originally built his log cabin on this very site in 1846. In October of 1849, Rogers received a grant of 640 acres along the north fork of the Waxahachie Creek to establish the seat of the newly created Ellis County.

ellis county texas courthouse

Courthouse on the Waxahachie Square

The first Rogers Hotel was built on the site in 1856 but was later destroyed by fire.

Among the new 1912 hotel’s amenities included a rooftop garden and a basement natatorium. The basement also featured a barber shop and billiards room.

During some of the Texas hot summer nights cots were placed for guests on the roof top. This was luxury during the early 1900’s.

 

A Home for Major League Baseball

Major league baseball teams often resided at the hotel during spring training. These included the Detroit Tigers during 1916-1917, the Cincinnati Reds in 1919 and the Chicago White Sox in 1921. This was during the period before many teams conducted spring their training in various Florida towns and cities. This was the hotel that baseball fans could run into Ty Cobb and other ballplayers.

Like many old historic hotels, the Rogers Hotel was closed for a long time. Decades passed before the hotel came to life again. If you’re wondering if the storied hotel is haunted, the answer from many people is yes.

baseball player ty cobb

Ty Cobb, left, and Joe Jackson

Rogers Hotel Hauntings

The haunted hotel story that has gone around centers around the new owner searching for his maintenance man. After finally locating the man in his locked room, the maintenance man refused to come out.

Apparently the maintenance man received a knock on his door the previous night. This in itself was somewhat odd since the hotel was being renovated. Nobody else was expected to be on the premises during the night hours. When he opened the door a man was standing there in attire of another era. The man asked the maintenance man to follow him into the basement where the natatorium was. The mysterious man mentioned that bad things happened there and then simply vanished in front of his eyes. The maintenance man bolted back up to his room and locked the door behind him. The next day he quit his job and fled never to work at the Rogers Hotel again.

Below are links to several additional Trips Into History photo articles you’ll find interesting.

Ghosts in Hotels

Historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas NM

On our Western Trips site you’ll enjoy the article about the historic Palace Hotel in Silver City New Mexico.

Silver City’s Palace Hotel

waxahachie tx rogers hotel

Today’s Rogers Hotel Barber Shop

Over the next several months the owner heard of stories from some of his cleaning help. Stories of strange things happening in front of their eyes. Things like footsteps and voices.

One of these employees also decided to quite her job. Strange happenings were also reported by Rogers Hotel guests.

One female hotel guest reported that she saw a man dressed in cowboy attire standing at the foot of her bed.

A hotel night clerk reported the elevator going up to the fourth floor (many of the strange occurrences happened on this floor) and return to the lobby with nobody inside. This was particularly strange since no guests were checked in on the fourth floor. There are additional stories like this as well.

texas historical museums

Ellis County Museum on the Waxahachie Town Square

Visiting Waxahachie Texas

Waxahachie TX is located about 30 miles south of Dallas along Interstate-35.

It is also about 65 miles north of Waco TX. For more information about the Rogers Hotel in Waxahachie Tx see website http://www.waxahachiedowntown.com/rogers/http://www.waxahachiedowntown.com/rogers/

Waxahachie is the county seat of Ellis County Texas which was formed in 1849 from land from Navarro and Robertson Counties. The county is named in honor of Richard Ellis who was president of the 1836 convention that produced the Texas Declaration of Independence. The Ellis County Courthouse shown in this article was built in 1895. The courthouse was built a bit differently than many of the other Texas courthouses. In has more of an open plan with an open space in the center of the building. The large second floor courtroom was built to one side. This was different than most of the courthouses built with intersecting halls. The architectural plans for the building were created by J. Riely Gordon.

It’s said that the Ellis County Courthouse is among the most visited of all the historic Texas courthouses.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History. Ty Cobb / Joe Jackson photo from the public domain)

Gold Country in California

 

sierra nevada mountains

Sierra Nevada north of Nevada City california

California Gold Country is a destination for many travelers to the Golden State. The area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just east of Sacramento was the hub of activity during that crucial period when the region was taken over by the U.S, during the late 1840’s. Gold Country in California today is filled with reminders of the time that the gold fields were the destination of gold prospectors from all over the globe. People flocked there by any means possible. The fact that a journey to California usually meant either an ocean voyage around Cape Horn or through the Isthmus of Panama, neither an easy journey.

One reminder of the gold rush days are some of the very historic hotels, some of which are still operating, each with it’s own unique stories to tell.

Gold Country in California is all about nineteenth century history and we have highlighted a few of the historic hotels which would make great additions to your California vacation planner.

holbrooke hotel grass valley ca

Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley CA

Holbrooke Hotel

The Holbrooke Hotel is located in beautiful Grass Valley California. This very historic Victorian hotel’s early visitors included U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. Others notables who spent some time there included none other than Mark Twain, Jim Corbett, the theatrical star Lotta Crabtree and many more. The hotel burned down in the huge fire of 1855 but was rebuilt in 1862. Today, the Holbrooke Hotel  features an elegant dining room, an interesting and historic bar and an antique elevator that still operates. The hotel has twenty-seven rooms and is a California Historic Landmark. Grass Valley,  located on CA Hwy 49, is a 60 mile drive east of Sacramento California.

 

national hotel nevada city ca

National Hotel, Nevada City CA

National Hotel

The National Hotel is located in Nevada City California, not far up the road from Grass Valley. The National Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Hotel is the most historic of all old Nevada City California. Before being named the National Hotel, the structure opened in August of 1856 under the name of “Bicknell Block“. The Bicknell Block housed just about everything of major importance during the early days. The stagecoach stop, post office and telegraph office. Nevada City’s National Hotel is considered one of the oldest hotels west of the Rocky Mountains that has been in continuous operation. When you step inside it’s like a trip back to the Victorian era. The hotel is the site of California Historic Landmark No. 899 and is the most well known of the old hotels in the California gold country.

A link to another interesting story you’ll enjoy about Nevada City California and the National Hotel is our article about the notorious female gambling hall operator, Madame Mustache. Nevada City is located on CA Hwy 49 about 64 miles east of Sacramento California.

angels camp hotel

Undated early photo of Angels Hotel in Angels Camp CA

The Angels Hotel

The Angels Hotel, which actually started out as a canvas tent, is located in Angels Camp California, one of the many very historic old gold mining towns. The most famous story that came out the The Angels Hotel involved Mark Twain. It seems that Twain overheard a story while staying at the hotel which he later turned into the hugely popular story of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County“. In fact, this short story, also eventually made into an opera, is what catapulted Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) into the national spotlight.

Angels Camp California today has the motto of “Home of the Jumping Frog“. The Angels Hotel no longer operates but is a California Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Angels Camp is located on CA Hwy 49 about 80 miles southeast of Sacramento California.

old town sacramento hotels

Restored Clarendon House in Old Town Sacramento CA

The Clarendon House

Old Town Sacramento came about as a direct result of the booming mining operations in the nearby California gold fields. Sacramento California served as a hub for steamboat traffic which ferried passengers between San Francisco and the gold fields. Sacramento was the jumping off point for prospectors and served as the commerce center for supplies, mail and entertainment.

The Clarendon House, once a Sacramento hotel, and now a National Historic Landmark, has now been turned into a residential building offering laundry facilities onsite, garage parking and controlled access entry. The bottom level of the building now houses eight commercial spaces. The structure located in Old Town Sacramento is among the fifty-three historic buildings still in existence. The present three-story building was constructed in 1977 to replicate the authentic 1852 exterior.

california steam navigation company

Steamers sign at Old Town Sacramento

Two links to articles you’ll also enjoy on our Trips Into History site include the Story of the Eagle Theater in Old Town Sacramento which was actually washed away by a flood during the middle of a performance.

Another interesting article is about the Leland Stanford Mansion in downtown Sacramento CA.

Old Town Sacramento itself makes a great addition to your northern California vacation planner. In addition to the historic structures like The Clarendon House, you’ll be able to visit the California State Railroad Museum, one of the finest railroad museums in the world, a restored Wells Fargo office which now serves as a museum as well as a host of other structures dating back to the California gold rush era.

Gold Country in California makes for a fascinating, fun and educational destination and is ideal for a family vacation or weekend getaway.

(Undated photo of the Angels Hotel is from the public domain. Remainder of photos are from the author’s private collection)