Jackson Abstract & Title Company
Serving the Title needs of Jasper County, Texas

   The Jackson Building   

 

 

 


In the late 1800’s this land was the site of a mercantile store and at a separate time a hotel. Apparently there was a fire in which the then existing building was damaged or destroyed. In any event the building was demolished and the land was apparently vacant in the early 1920’s.
 

In 1925, J. W. Campbell and wife leased the site to their son and R. B. Baldwin. The son and Mr. Baldwin were obligated to construct a building to house a garage and filling station. The building was constructed in 1926 with a completely open and unenclosed first floor and an enclosed upstairs. Apparently around the 1929 Great Depression, the upstairs was separated into small rooms that were rented out to individuals who needed rooms for rent on a nightly or weekly basis. We know this to be the case because when we removed the layers of material back to the original structure, there was a large sign printed on the brick column in the southwest corner of the first floor which stated in read, white, and blue lettering “Rooms for Rent.” The first floor continued to operate as a garage and gasoline station. Around the middle 1940’s the first floor was renovated and Hancock Drug Store was the first tenant. The upstairs was used as a domino room and pool hall, and also as a dance hall where many of the town’s citizens would gather for nightly entertainment and dancing. Leroy Alvis is one that played dominos. Jack Martindale has also advised us that many people frequently attended the dances and this was a popular place to spend an evening.

In the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, Dr. McGrath had a medical practice and hospital in the second floor. In 1938 Max Alvis was born in this hospital. Mr. Alvis later became an all-star baseball player for the Cleveland Indians. He presently is the President of First National Bank, Jasper. Hugh Hamilton’s mother, Joye Hamilton, recalls that her brother-in-law spent two weeks in the second floor hospital in a coma as a result of pneumonia.

This was a very serious illness at that time, often resulting in the death of the individual. During the 1950’s, Tommy Hart was brought to this hospital due to a gunshot wound he received hunting in West Texas, and was treated by Dr. McGrath. In the southeast corner of the first floor, Glenn Favor and a law partner opened a law practice. Dr. Bryce Thomas also operated a medical practice in the building for a short period of time in the early 1960’s.

In the early to mid 1960’s there was a fire in the building. It appears that the primary damage was only one of smoke damage with no structural damage. As a result of the fire, Hancock Drug Store moved across the street to a new location. Bob Stamps who had Stamps Commercial Press next door then leased this building for a new business known as Stamps Office Supplies. Mr. Stamps operated the business until he sold it and retired.

We attempted to retain and preserve the structural history of the building. There is a pressed metal tin ceiling which was preserved in the southeast corner of the building in which we have our first closing room. The entrance to the room is through two large single pane French doors that were found in the building and are believed to be the original entrance for the drug store.

The upstairs flooring is believed to be cut from virgin pine timber that began growing around 1800. The age of the flooring is known from a block of wood cut from the large pine beam in the upstairs by Hugh Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton then had Jimmy Etheredge, Keith Roy, and Matt Morian finish the wood into the bookends that are placed on the front counter. In counting the rings, the tree was in excess of 100 years of age when it was cut. Since the building was built in 1926, that would make the flooring in excess of 75 years of age as of the present date. The building’s original owners painted the floors in dark colors. However, during the recent renovation, by careful sanding by various employees of Mr. Hamilton, they were able to clean up the floors that were then stained and finished by Wallace Hare and his staff. You will note on the flooring a number of cigarette burns which indicate where the men would go and smoke their cigarettes. In addition you will note the slight darker coloration of the floors in rectangular sizes indicating the size of the rooms that were rented to individuals as discussed above. In addition, in five of the rooms, we attempted to keep the height of the ceiling near its original position so that you could see the original size of the rooms. The ceiling height helped in keeping the room reasonably comfortable during the hot summer months, since there was no air conditioning.

 

 

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