17 July 2011

Stamford Inn

Farmer and I took a day trip to Albany and Stamford a couple of weekends ago. We have driven through both towns several times in the past and thought they were interesting towns that had a story to tell. So why not check them out in more detail? While we were driving into the 'metropolis' of Stamford, I spotted a large, dilapidated building a block off the main road. I told Farmer to take a RIGHT so I could snoop. This is what I found..

What the Stamford Inn looked like back in all its glory.

It was pretty eerie walking through the halls of a structure that had once hosted many guests and been part of many happy times. I could feel negative energy...was it the building itself? Sadden by the outcome of her once majestic body? I think I would be...or was there another story behind the layers of debris that littered the floor.

After leaving, I was thinking it through...what happened? What was the eeriness that I felt. Was it just the sight of despair? Probably...but then it clicked. I remember reading about a hotel that had caught fire and lives were lost...

The story is..

For many, many years Stamford was a town on the highway that connected Dallas or Houston to Lubbock, Amarrillo, and beyond. Elvis Presley performed here, twice. Will Rogers made his appearance at the annual rodeo. This city was a big deal back in the day... So, with all this hustle and bustle, build a comfortable and luxurious inn for the weary traveler to hang his hat. The original building was built in the early 1900s and became an icon for the town. However, tragedy struck on Christmas Eve 1921. A fire broke out in the building..everyone was saved except a mother and her two children and a man that had stayed behind to help the family. To this day, no one knows how the fire started.

Stamford was still going strong so they rebuilt. They decided to modernize and was inspired by the Spanish Revival (Texas Tech was just starting to come to life and the same design ideals were popping up around West Texas). The biggest concern was for the new building to be elegant but strong and fire proof. Concrete was fire proof right? Well it may have been fire proof but not I-20 proof. The new interstate stopped the heartbeat by pulling the plug on small towns' industries across the state-including Stamford. At one time communities could rely on themselves with hard working citizens and locally owned businesses. But once the interstate came into play it diverted travelers to stay at Best Westerns and eat at McDonalds.

The Inn held on as long as it could but eventually closed in the 70s and became a private club. Sadly, the last leg of her life resulted in what many historic hotels are now...she turned into a nursing home..hmmmm. Not only did the building sigh with depression of what it has become..but think of the building being used as the last chapter of a person's life. Not what the blueprints for her creation intended her to do.

What I found interesting is that both buildings, the colonial style inn with wrap-around porches and the spanish revival/mission inn both had similar porte cacheres. The entrance to comfort and luxury and the exit for new experiences. The porte cachere represents the beginning and the end of both buildings. Centrally located at the heart of the building with arched openings it reminds me of a portal hole...to where..I do not know.
But I can't help but think that this "portal" may have been the passage for the many lives that were lost. It was their entrance (or exit?) to the next level of existence. Heaven? Hell? The Unknown? Whatever it may be, I believe it symbolizes the passage to their new adventures beyond this world.

I know this is a much different post than the others but I thought it would be fun to exercise my brain and think about the symbols and the energy of this once vibrant building. It is beyond repair...plus who would visit? The town is as dusty as the parched cotton fields that lay on the outskirts of the town. 'Tis a shame but I suppose it is the chain of life.

You must Live and Die for others to be born to Live and Die.


  1. Very interesting post! Love the photos and hopefully I can get there to see it in person.

  2. Very informative and interesting blog. I would like to see towns like this be resurected or atleast be self sufficient enough to sustain itself like to good old days!

  3. You're the best. Thank you for a great history lesson! I would have wanted to explore, too! Have you ever explored the old railroad depot in Dublin? It's so majestic! I hope it's not torn down. :( Keep up the great work!

  4. Cindy, you would take some amazing photos, I know it..especially with your layers of texture. It would definitely bring out the eeriness to the place. It is so sad, what a beautiful building, both of them, once were.

    It would be amazing to to revive small towns across the state...implode I-20?? That would be the best solution, but doubt that will EVER happen.

    Andra, I have always been intrigued with the Dublin Depot. Can you just walk into it? I always imagine "Farmer's" grandparents meeting there when Otto would come to visit Eleanor. Again, a place for joy and sadness..when loved ones arrive and then when they have to leave. I would love to look around and see it. I sure hope it will stick around..I reeeeally wish these towns were so much cleaner than they are but..it is the $$ and none is there..it's all in McDonald's and Wal-Mart's pockets!!