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Crockett Hotel in Bonham, Texas

Photo of a fire
An uncaptioned and undated photograph at the Portal to Texas History from the Austin Public Library, labled "Bonham, Texas" led me to do some detective work.

A mystery photo? Not any longer!

1. I found this photo on the the Portal to Texas History and wondered... where could this be? It was labeled "Bonham, Texas" and belongs to the Austin Public Library. It is not mapped, however.

2. The fantastic folks at the Fannin County Museum of History have a public archival interface (take note, all other archives!) and through them, I learned that the Sadler, Coleman & Co. implement store depicted being saved from fire in the photograph is now the disused building of Smith, Moore & Williams at 223 N. Main Street.

3. The Sadler, Coleman & Co. building was erected in the 1880s according to the 2021 newspaper article located in the Fannin County Museum of History Archives, meaning that the wooden building that's burning next to it was most likely erected a bit earlier (or a lot earlier) than that.

4. Sanborn Maps from the 1880s lead me to believe that the burning building was the Crockett Hotel in Bonham, Texas, but that the Sadler, Coleman & Co. building did not exist in the 1880s.

5. The brick building for the Sadler, Coleman & Co. Implement Store does not appear on Sanborn Maps until 1897. Prior maps show a long, wooden building at the corner of Main Street & Oak, today's Main Street & 3rd.

6. Hence (fancy word!) this calamity occurred sometimes between 1897 and 1902, as the 1902 Sanborn map shows that the Sadler, Coleman & Co. building expanded its footprint where the Crockett Hotel once was. It's easy to recognize the expansion, because the building has the same architectural details.

8. THANK YOU for attending my TED talk. No, seriously, I'm forever grateful that RRH readers participate in my bizarre hobby :)

The 1888 Sanborn Map of Bonham shows the wooden Crockett Hotel next to a wooden implement warehouse.

Sanborn Map
The 1897 Sanborn Map of Bonham shows the Crockett Hotel next to a brick structure - Sadler, Coleman & Company!

By 1902, the Crockett Hotel is no longer on Bonham's Sanborn Map. Instead, the whole half block's been extended by an interconnected buidling - the Sadler, Coleman & Company Store at the corner of Main and Oak (at this point, now 3rd Street).

Saddler, Coleman & Company at Oak and Main with a float and a storefront during a parade. This photo was published by the Bonham Daily Favorite to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Smith - Moore- Williams store, which bought the building and took over the store (Fannin County Museum of History Archives).

The Smith-Moore-Williams Store when it was still operational (Bonham Daily Favorite).

The Crockett Hotel once stood on the left side of the brick buiding before fire took it away and allowed the Sadler, Coleman & Company building to expand, which then became the Smith-Moore-Williams Store.

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