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The Crockett Hotel

History: 
    The Crockett Hotel
 in San AntonioHistory: 
    The Crockett Hotel
 in San Antonio

History

Early San Antonio
In 1718, Governor Martin de Alaroon founded the Mission of San Antonio de Valero near the San Antonio River, the first Spanish mission in the area. In 1724, the mission moved east to its present site and an acequia was begun to water the mission fields. The land on which the Crockett Hotel sits is located between the two branches of that Acequia Madre, just south and east of the mission property. It was not until 1758 that the Alamo was built.

First Land Owner of this Location
By 1773, refugees from an abandoned mission in East Texas arrived and petitioned for the distribution of mission lands in order to support their families. In 1793, such a decree was finally carried out. The land on which the Crockett Hotel is now situated was given to Juan Bautista de la Zerda and was used for agriculture cultivation for the next 50 years.

This uncultivated land stood just east to the Alamo, the famous “Cradle of Texas Liberty.” The grounds of the Crockett were part of the battlefield. During the night before the “Battle of the Alamo,” hundreds of troops moved into the area where the hotel pool is now situated. The southeast palisade was defended by the colorful Davy Crockett, for whom the hotel is named.

A prosperous French-born merchant, Augustese Honore Grenet, purchased the property in 1874 and operated a general merchandise store on the site. G.B. Davis bought the land in 1887, as part of a judgment for the estate of Honore Grenet.

This land changed owners three more times before being sold to the International Order of Odd Fellows on January 30, 1907. It was this fraternal organization that built the lodge hall and hotel (now the Crockett) in 1909. Oddly enough, one of the five men who formed the San Antonio Lodge #11 of the International Order of Odd Fellows in 1849 was J.J. Giddings; the same John James Giddings who had owned the site upon which, over 50 years later, the lodge built its structure.

The “Hotel Crockett” is Constructed
The celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the laying of the cornerstone of the San Antonio Odd Fellows Temple took place with great ceremony on April 26, 1909. The 275 brothers dedicated the top two floors of the six story structure for lodge purposes and the first four for a hotel. The hotel’s first proprietors were F. Peck and William Nagel.

In 1927, a west wing was added, a seven story addition done by architect Henry T. Phelps of San Antonio. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows maintained ownership until 1978 when it was purchased by an investor from British Columbia. A 60 room wing was constructed to serve the needs of the city for visitors to Hemisfair, the 1968 world exposition held in San Antonio. This event is considered the birth of tourism to the city.

In 1982, San Antonio native, John Blocker, bought the Crockett at the urging of his wife, Jeanne, whose sister, Mary Ann Castleberry, was a past president of the San Antonio Conservation Society. At that time, the property was carefully renovated in order to be faithful to the original building.

Using photographs of the existing structure, the architects uncovered original brickwork, windows and storefront structures, cleaned and repaired trim and cornices, and restored the lobby to its original condition. In addition, an atrium was constructed, guest rooms added and others refurbished.

As a result of this careful renovation, the Crockett Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Structures and architects Ford, Powell, and Carson received Historical Preservation Certification from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The hotel was again thoughtfully restored in 2007 to its current condition and celebrates 100 years of service in 2009.

The Crockett Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2010, dates back to 1909.


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