Monday, April 7, 2008

"Our Home" Hotel - Steam Heated and Air Cooled

-click to enlarge-

by Dr. Henry Outlaw

From the Baldwyn News dated May 7, 1970 after fire completely destroyed the hotel:

Just when the hotel was erected is a matter of conjecture. Some reported it was built in 1898. However, Mrs. Tom (Lavada) Gower tells us that the hotel was already constructed when her mother was married in December of 1885. In fact she tells that her mother always related to her that the trees near the hotel were planted or transplanted on her wedding day. She further adds that there were three Walker girls who had hands in the the hotel. First, Miss Hattie Walker, Miss Mannie Walker and Miss Laurie Walker.

Regardless of the age of the hotel, it was a familiar landmark to the people of this area for many years. During its heyday it was a mecca for traveling salesman, drummers and peddlers who traveled by train in the horse and buggy days to peddle their wares. Many came for miles to stay at this hostelry and travel to Kirkville, Pratt, Bethany, Jericho, Geeville, Wheeler and other communities to sell their goods. The traveling from Baldwyn was done by horse and buggies or on horseback using the services of the local livery stable.

Noted for its' fine meals, many people of this area made it a Sunday treat to come to Baldwyn to enjoy "Sunday Dinner" in the elegantly appointed dining room. Miss Laurie Walker operated the hotel for many years. Located just across the street from the hotel was the M and O Railroad. The hotel was a beehive of activity when six passenger trains a day passed through Baldwyn. George Pearce, the porter, met each of the incoming trains to assist travelers with their baggage. He pushed a two wheel cart to and from the railroad station to meet the trains.

The register at the hotel which was kept by George Pearce now rests at the Brice's Crossroads Museum in Baldwyn. It is noted in the register that George had a fine handwriting and entered the weather for the day when he opened each new page of the register.

The following clipping is from the Baldwyn Home Journal which was found in the papers of Miss Laurie Walker after her death and passed on to us by Mrs. R.B. Caldwell. While there is no date shown on the clipping, it is assumed that this is one of the wonderful meals prepared during the days the hotel was operated by Miss Laurie.



Oyster Cocktail
Cream of Tomato Soup
Turkey with Oyster Dressing and Giblet Gravy
Cranberries, English Peas, Cream Potatoes, Escalloped Asparagus,
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows, Pumpkins, Crystallized Apples, Peach Sweet Pickles,
Celery, Olives. Frozen Fruit Salad on Lettuce
Charlotte Rousse
Coconut Cake
Hot Rolls
Brown Bread
Coffee and Milk

Price $1.00
Please make reservations by Wednesday.

The operators of the hotel passed on several years ago and now the hotel has gone up in smoke, but there are those who still remember the days when it was the center of activity in Baldwyn.

Note: What appears to be George Pearce's two-wheeled cart is sitting near the west steps in the photo. The front of the hotel once faced the railroad, but was turned around to face the north for some reason. -CH


  1. Mr. Wallace, Lowell and Snort's dad, bought scrap iron at the hotel and what a mess it was there.

    I guess most of us have a scrap iron selling story. I read some really good ones in the last week, Grover's especially. Maybe he'll put it here if he reads this.

    I picked up and sold some scrap iron all week once and made about a dollar and seventy five cents. My mother made me promise some of it to the Sunday offering plate, so I pledged a quarter, more than 10%.
    When my dad came home from work in Memphis, I proudly showed him the week's work wages. He told me to get a haircut and use the money I made to pay for it.

    So, my planned Saturday fling had hit bottom almost, with 85 cents spent or committed. But, after all, had just as good a time as I would with my customary 25 cents I got for washing the car.

    Milton Copeland, do you remember the old rusty rifle we found in Mr. White's pasture near the old car we played on? I sold it for scrap and it might have been a soldier's rifle from the battle of BCR, we'll never know.

  2. Carl, I had completely forgotten about that, we will never know what era it was from.

    By the way, the Walker sisters were the daughters of Porter Walker who was formerly in the dry goods business with his father-in-law Richard Clayton at Old Carrollville. He also had at least one saloon or tavern and an inn there until the RR missed the town and they all moved to Baldwyn.

    I had always thought that the Walkers built the Home Hotel, however, Porter died in 1875 so that would put the origins of the hotel much earlier than some historians allow.

  3. there was a bandstand on the railroad side of the hotel, and we played on it a lot. It was round, sort of, with a top like a gazebo. The hotel was really "set up" for big business at one time long ago. I would like to have seen it in it's heyday.

  4. Once I saw an old photo of George Pearce at the Baldwyn depot. Is there one available these days?


  5. TMG;

    I also would like to see a photo of him. I have a ton of old photos, but none of him. I will ask Simon Spight next time I see him if he has one. He doesn't have email, or we could find out sooner.

  6. The picture of the old hotel brought back memories. Miss Laura's name was spelled Laura. She was a beautiful lady. They lived in the old antebellum house across from the Presbyterian Church. I was their "squab boy" for several years. They had a large pigeon cote behind the house, on a pole about twelve feet off the ground. Every other Saturday I would climb up and select two squab for their Sunday dinner. The squab could not have any pin feathers at all, just pure fuzz. I got ten cents for my "squab expertise."

    Uncle George was a delightful fellow. He was born in North Carolina and his parents were bought by the Walkers when he was an infant and brought to Baldwyn as house slaves. He was emancipated when he was eight. He knew everything about
    everybody. And he enjoyed telling it to a young boy who would listen. My paper route stopped dead still on days when Uncle George was at the desk and no one was in the lobby.

    There were a few permanent occupants of the hotel. Both outside rooms off the porch on the east side were permanent residents. There were a number of regulars, most scheduled stays.

    The livery stable was the one up almost in front of the hotel, in front of Caldwell Chevrolet.

    The Rotary Club met in the dining room every Thursday. Sometimes during the summer Daddy would take me with him - a real treat!

    Memories are like the old feed sack twine -you pull and it just keeps unraveling!

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