Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Hotel Grim


























The Hotel Grim was built in 1924-25 at a cost of $600,000. It had eight stories and 250 rooms and was quite elegant for its time and place in Texarkana. The architects were George Mann and Eugene Stern. It was named after William Rhodes Grim, a prominent business man. In 1934 radio station KCMC established a studio in the hotel. Bonnie and Clyde were rumored to have made an appearance in the restaurant. The roof was once adorned by gardens and could be quickly converted to a ballroom. It has been vacant since the 1990s. Considering its age and neglect, the Grim is in astonishingly good condition, and I hope someone will save it from total ruin.

Old postcards:



43 comments:

  1. MANY thanx for your Hotel Grim photos. My girlfriend and I stayed and ate there in the late 70's. They would give you cream for your coffee in these tiny white individual ceramic pitchers! I also remember we walked around the town and investigated the old train station which was abandoned then and also quite something. I can't believe the Grim sits vacant!

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  2. Great pics...I'm new to the area and work at the Gazette and often look out my window thinking about the building. What I can seem to find is why did the Hotel close? It seems as if everyone loved the hotel and doesn't make sense why it is vacant. Any idea what happened?

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  3. Hey i love the pictures and one day i hope to buy the hotel grim and fix it back up. I want to make it into apartments and keep the first floor the same but hopefully one day i can just buy it and fix it up.

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  4. Wow, fantastic pictures. I grew up near Texarkana and I always loved the Hotel. Did you get inside the old fashioned way by sneaking in, or were you allowed in? It looks like you saw quite a bit of the building, even the roof!--nevergretel@yahoo.com

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  5. In reply to Matthew, it closed somewhere around 1990 or 1991. It was no longer a bustling Hotel for the rich. It was what it is now, a run down old Hotel. I think it had very poor people, drug addicts, etc living in it, paying weekly/monthly rates for the most part much like the downtown area motels have still. And I'm sure there were LOTS of vacancies any day of the week. I suspect operational costs outweighed profit which is what makes any kind of business close down.

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  6. In reply to mspass7, they are considering making it into condos for the rich and having the lower floors used for "art" purposes. I doubt it will be up for sale any time soon. I have never seen any "for sale" signs on it that I can recall since it closed in 1990 or so. And if it was up for sale, unless you're filthy rich, you wouldn't be able to afford it... even if half the building had fallen in. I suspect it's easily a multimillion dollar piece of real estate.

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  7. i ride my bike past it sometimes and i really want to look in it! my father has a old house down the road and they smell the same, the same old house smell!

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  8. i absolutely love old homes, old factories, old buildings...period!! such a shame that this hasnt been advertised for sale as is, so that hopefully someone will take pity upon an old historic building and create a vision of loveliness once again. i'm all for saving our history, as opposed to most real estate agents who are currently interested in "out with the old, in with the new" approach when it comes to these fantastic old things. and strangely enough, i've seen a lot of them "for sale to be moved"...you know what theyre looking to move them for?? BANKS!! they want to build banks, and of course, convenient stores...what would our history say about us if thats all we leave for future generations?? that we obviously dont care about our history, thats what!! think of all the trees that could be saved if old houses were fixed up instead of building new homes...a lot of things could be saved if only we knew the value of "old"...

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  9. This wonderful historic treasure will not be turned into a bank. One day this Hotel will be brought back to life...
    By the way to all that visit this site- what do you think should happen to the Grim Hotel? Should it be turned back to a hotel? Torn down? What are your thoughts. Thanks!

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  10. It would cost 5 million just to get the asbestus out of it. 5 million dollars just to pay specialists, not including the renovation process. I've broken in a few times, and i must say its filthy. Think how bad you think it is, then times it by three.

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  11. I never said it would be cheap to renovate the hotel. When were you in it last? What was it like in there? You said it was filthy- is that from the birds and the vagrants? So, why do you go in there? Are you curious about it? or just kind of a keeper of the place? Also- what do you think needs to be done with it? It's going to have to be dealt with in the near future. Greatly appreciate your thoughts!!C

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  12. My family and I visited Texarkana this past weekend. We saw a lot of the sites including the two-state post office, Union Station, Ace of Clubs Mansion, Scott Joplin Mural. I was intrigued when I noticed The Hotel Grim. We got into a discussion about how buildings and landmarks get restored- kind of like the Perot Theatre. When I was young, I used to go to a resort every summer in the Catskill Mountains Called, "The Sugar Maples Resort." The place was a palace but, closed down much like the Grim did. If I had a few dollars, I'd make a donation. Whoever is out there reading these posts, it sounds like there would be quite a bit of support toward a restoration project. Can you help make it happen?

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  13. Dear Anonymous August 11th-

    I am glad you had a great time in Texakana and visiting some great landmarks! If the Grim Hotel was open and operating as a hotel would you have dined there or even stayed the night? Would you consider it a vital asset to the downtown area in regards to tourism and community? I'd love to hear your thoughts! It is important to me. Thanks- C

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  14. Dear C,
    We absolutely would have stayed there if the option were available to us. I am one of the few that probably remembers getting "dressed" for dinner. I never took for granted things like eating out or special times with family. Staying at the Grim would have been a special time for us. Kind of like taking a cruise without the water. I think a downtown restoration project should include famous landmarks and hotels like the Grim. It undoubtedly would help bridge the gap between the past and present-young and old. I learned a lot by paying attention to my Parents and Grandparents when they spoke. Older people were not shunned like many are today. People took pride in having nice things and saving up for a special vacation. The Grim would have provided a place for great food, music, and memories.

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  15. Im 24 years old and married to a woman from Fresno, California. I brought her home with me after I got out of the ARMY and shared with her my facination of old downtown buildings. Im from Texarkana Tx and I never have seen downtown where it didnt look aweful. I took an interest because when I looked at these buildings I couldnt believe our citizens and elected officials would all neglect such a wonderful part of who we are and where weve come from. The Grim and McCartney Hotels are great treasures to our city and we need to do something fast! I would love just once in my lifetime to be able to visit and enjoy myself in one of these places. P.S. having a jail next to Union Station is a disgrace. I wonder what genious thought of that? Havinge a jail in full sight of the public if they ever took an interest to downtown and wanted to go there would steer clear of that haggard site.

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  16. wow.... awsome pics!!!!!!!! two friends of mine went in the grim hotel and took pictures and in them was orbs..... so we think that the place is haunted!!!!! but i want to stay about a week in there to see if the old place is haunted!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Orbs are just dust particles in the Air..and just because an Old building is vacant and run down does not mean it is haunted. I have been investigating the Paranormal for OVER 20+ years and I hate when everyone who gets an "Orb" in a picture is thinking it is Ghosts!! As far as the Grim and the McCartney Hotels they are treasures of T-Town, and They should be preserved and refurbished. I remember going in there in the 80's when it was a "Flop House" and even in that state of neglect I was awed at its beauty.

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  17. Hi Anonymous on Nov 2-
    Do you have any of the photos posted online anywhere? I would love to see them. That wonderful building has alot of history and a big soul. C

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  18. Check out this link, it has 74 pics of the grim, inside and out... http://www.slide.com/r/AMVhv_6AkT8lHvqBPXWtVfIB0gRDaUji

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  19. we went downtown the other night My Family and i did to take some pictures for a Family picture trail. I grew up in Texarkana, lived here all my life, my Dad worked for Cotton Belt Rail Road for 35 yrs. i Grew up playing in Union Station,McCartney Hotel,Grim Hotel,Jefferson Coffee Shop, all those places downtown. I've been in very inch of both buildings, know them well. A couple went with us who are close friends of ours went with us to take the Pictures for us. I was showing them some of Union Station and the hotel McCartney,(I really wanted to go inside both of them but with BJC right there and i really didn't want to spend the night in there i desided it might not be the best thing to do.)

    We then drifted over to The Grim. In the early 80's my house burnt and my mom and i stayed in the Grim while our house was being rebuilt. i had been in the grim many many times growing up but had never really lived there.it was in sad shape then but it was a place to live and it was cheap. the Grim was and is a Magnificent place i was showing them things about the old place that most people don't know about, I would really like to get back in and see the old place again. One day maybe someone will do something with all these old buildings. I really won't hold my breath on this but one can dream. i noticed that the sign said on the grim, a deal to turn it into a apartment, condo deal. i hope it works out and if if does then the hotel McCartney should be next as it was even better than the grim in many ways. anyway just wanted to share the story and say thanks for the pictures and the memories. W.C. McDaniel
    I can be contacted at:cmcdaniel4879@gmail.com

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  20. Dreams vs reality. Sky-high renovation costs for the Grim would need a Donald Trump to pull it off. The Donald, if he could get banks crazy enough to loan the $, would not invest in a backwater like Texarkana. Stick to your memories & photographs-they're all you can afford.

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  21. This is incredible! Im from Hope, AR and ive been obsessed with Hotel Grim for a long time. Not only were you brave enough to break into this spooky place, but you took some really great photos!

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  22. Anything is possible. The Grim Hotel is possible. It will not be an easy task nor inexpensive, but the potential is amazing! Rebuild downtown, bring in jobs, strenghten the local economy and bring more business to downtown. Besides, somethings should not go to waste. C

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  23. I am so excited about the new proposal to renovate the Grim! Ever since i moved to Texarkana and saw the Grim for the first time i have been in love with it...im not sure why but i feel there is something just so special about the place...it is just so beautiful even in these pictures and once she is back in shape it will be so amazing!

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  24. Some recent news:

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/texarkana-tx/T7BDS17HC3GKHJICP

    http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/localnews/2010/11/27/a-grim-proposal-for-city-52.php

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  25. How many folks would like to work together to make the dream of restoring the Grim (and downtown) a reality? Change is coming...
    C

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  26. i want so badly to save the poor placeit really means alot to me even though its just a run down old building my great great grandfathers wife used to work the front desk...and one of her coworkers had a thing for her husband..'my grandfather' and he had been hearing rumers of her sleeping around in the rooms..well he went up to see her for lunch and the women told him what room she was in and he walked right in the room and shot the man right between the eys with his wife in bed right beside him he called the police before hand of course and they took him to jail when my great grandfather came to bail him out they said he had no bond it was a legitament reasone to kill the man he should not have been in bed with his wife...after he shot the man he sat the gun down sat on the edge of the bed and looked at my grandmother and said you dont ever sleep around again and we never speak of this again he told the same thing to my great grandfather and it stayed that way untill they both passed away and the cat was out of the bag i cant yet find anything on the story of the killing yet...i have looked vigorusly...but have failed there are also sightings of a women going into one of the top floor windows after a cold chill passes infront of the doors and bonnie and clyde did pass through the grim at one point...my grandmother spoke with the two not nowing exactly who they where!!!!the building means alot in the aspect of memories of a great story and a happier time when people got punished the right way....none of this the murderer down the street has right crap...i wish we could go back to those times i dream about it often......maby someday people will open there eyes...

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  27. I was born in Texarkana and my Grandmother lived her retirement years on the 3rd floor. During my wandering years I lived there for a year on the top floor and work as a desk clerk on the thurs-mon shift. I also remember the old elevator that was manual that I had to operate occasionally. My Grandfather retired with Mopac and was a switch engineer there at that RR yard. It was in decline when I worked there. It had a seedy culture in the basement bathrooms. The Trailways bus drivers from Houston had regular rooms 365 reserved.

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  28. I was a little girl the first time I spotted the Grim and was completely in love! I am now 23 years old, and try picking and finding everything I can about the Grim. I haven't been brave enough to break in the Grim, but it would be magical to experience such a thing. Although, it does look to be pretty closed up now days. I really enjoyed the pictures! Thank you!

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  29. I've always been interested in it. I know who the owner is, and if I ever get the courage to ask for the keys, I plan on going in during the day and taking pictures.

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    1. i would ask for the keys anytime i love that building!!!!!!!

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  30. I kinda wonder why Ross Perot hasn't put a little money into saving the Hotel. It would be nice if he did something for a historic thing.

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  31. Bonnie Parker ate a sandwich in the Grim Hotel whilst Clyde and herself were on the run. This historical appeal may be a catalytic impetus to some wealthy oil or long horn man to invest in your project to restore it, mind you you'd probably have more luck with common folk, the wealthy don't like being separated from their Benjamen's much; like gettin blood out of a rock.

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  32. Hey I just noticed the last anonymous post was on my 52nd birthday. I was 35 :).

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  33. I would love to go into The Grim. I live in Oklahoma the Grim with a beautiful rainbow behind it is the screen saver on my computer. I go downtown just to look at it. It's magnificent.

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  34. So who is the person C who has replied to most of these comments? If there are this many people interested in downtown why can't we get something done? I don't know much about this hotel, I've always been more interested in the train station. I've been in there twice and its amazing. I spent forever getting in touch with the owner because I wanted to get married in there. He called back today and of course told me no. He is just letting it rot with no plans for the near future to do anything with it.

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  35. I lived and worked there from 81 to 83 restoring and renovating what we could of the old place. I patched an 8 foot hole in the dealing in the zazarak club on the 2nd floor. Watched tornados from the roof, had a suete on the 7th floor, my own elevator, the old hand operated 2 speed, was incharge of running the 1911 locomotive boiler. Just for fun, I had a way of getting on top of the passenger elevator and could control it remotely, I would mess with drunks and friends, LOL!!!! I had alot of fun there. Sorry to hear she closed up.

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  36. Please help this building! It has been in texarkana for years and it needs restored!

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    1. That will never happen. The cost would be outrageous. And even if you did fix it up to its original grandeur who wants to go stay in downtown Texarkana.

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    2. Needs to be restored for what? Not like anyone wants to go stay in downtown texarkana.

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  37. I used to like old buildings until I worked in NYC on a project for a 3-month stint- upgrading cellular base station equipment for T-mobile on rooftops. Many old buildings there and still in use, and too many are a bear to work in. I went inside the Grim back in 1995- the back door was just open. Looked in every room- it was a wreck then, but the grass above the lobby staircase was intact then- now it's not, and letting the weather in. Most of broken windows are caused by vandals, and that lets the water in, speeding up the decay. The interior of a building is like a sugar cube, melts with water contact.
    Wish all you want, but here is that building's fate- it will sit there until the end of days, slowly decaying into the next century when it will become unstable, and then they will tear it down. The roof will collapse in the next twenty years.
    Why- because there are not enough people in Texarkana, and there are not enough people with money to have a renovated downtown. There are a lot of poor people in T-Town who do not have disposable income to patron whatever business that could be installed in to the Grim. Towns like Texarakana grow north- they generally do not renovate old buildings that large on the south side. Let's just say someone did a partial repair- the business, like all the ones that came and went in the renovated Union Station, would fail, and the building, like Union Station, would fall back into disrepair. A bar or night club on the 1st floor you say- who wants to go drink next to the police station... A full renovation of the Grim would be in excess of 10 million. Sorry, you may not like this, but seen it, seen it, and saw all before- this is how the story will end. And, think about it- when was the last time T-town got a new, interesting building? All they do is cut down trees and put up square wooden structures. There was a neat bank building built in the 1980s just south of Central Mall- really ahead of its time, very neat design- what do they do- tear it down and build a two story square!

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  38. BTW- $900,000 could barely get the first two floors up to building code, much less make it nice. I would like to see how they came up with this estimate for a full refurbishment.
    Another fact, the last month of its operation was October 1990.

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