The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 490
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
One horn was broken from the steer's head beneath the bust
of "Tobe," but was dowelled back so securely by Mr. St. John,
that his assurance that he could "fit-it," stands good for eighty years.
Originally there were sixty rooms, very large, some later were
partitioned, a few added, making a total of one hundred and four-
teen. Square nails were used throughout all woodwork. "It was the
most comfortable, spacious, luxurious, hotel south of St. Louis."
The tragic story of Mr. Driskill's fortunes was given me by some
of the old-timers of the 8o's. He and his sons, with numerous drovers,
left his ranches in South Texas in the early spring of 1888 with some
3,ooo head of cattle for his northern pastures in the Dakotas. On
the way they were caught by one of the most severe blizzards in
history and nearly every head was frozen-many of them standing!
His debts on the Driskill could not be met.
The hotel changed hands several times. One of the owners being
Major George W. Littlefield in 1897.
The hotel was closed several times between 1886 and 19o6, about
which date it was acquired by Dr. E. P. Wilmot. During these
periods a negro man and his wife were the trusted custodians.
Traveling men looked forward to their stay in the Driskill in
the early days of the Southern Pacific and the International and
Great Northern railroads.
The hotel was gas lighted and steam heated. Warm mineral water
from the artesian well was available to all customers. Salt ate out
the casing every few years.
Today's inner dining room has the most beautiful wainscoting
to be found in any hotel of the nation. It was fitted from the
matched mahogany headboards of the first beds which Mr. W. L.
Stark and Mrs. Sully Roberdeau saved half a century ago.
Mr. Stark was manager from 19o6 until June, 1944. He was one
of the most genial and accommodating business men I have ever
Call bells, not telephones, connected the office with every room.
Reverse calls got service.
The bar was one of the handsomest in the nation and now graces
the reception desk.
The corner stone inscription on the East side reads-
J. N. PRESTON AND SON
and on the South side-
THIS STONE PRESENTED
BUSINESS MEN OF AUSTIN
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/518/: accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.