Heritage, Summer 2004 Page: 34
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Po6t Ojtice Restoration Spurs Jacksonville Renaismance
The Landmark Inn; courtesy of Becky Darr.
B ecky Darr's life as a business
owner has been filled with
surprises. When Darr began
to plan for a new business venture in
the East Texas town of Jacksonville,
she had no idea that she would be
operating a hotel and restaurant in a
historic building. Originally, she had
plans of starting a document storage
With thoughts of that particular
business in mind, Darr set out to find
a building that would provide plenty
of space. As a child she often went to
the spacious downtown post office in
Jacksonville, so she was familiar with
the stately 1933 Art Deco building
that had stood vacant since 2000.
Due to the location, Darr thought the
sales price would be too expensive.
She asked anyway, and that's when
the first surprise happened: the price
was within her budget. So in July
2002, Darr purchased the limestone
and brick building that was a Works
Progress Administration project.
Built in the Classical Revival style,
the Jacksonville Post Office was
designed by government architect
James A. Wetmore and built by PA.
Sanford. The building had more than
20,000 square feet, including a basement
and two aboveground floors.
As the new owner of the historic
landmark, Darr began to formulate
plans for utilizing the space in the
best manner. Initially, Darr thought
that she would locate her document
storage business in the basement,
lease the first floor for a restaurant,
and have the second floor for
offices-as had been the case when
the building was used as a post
office. Those plans quickly changed.
"A few months into the renovation
and buildout, the lessee for the first
floor restaurant fell through. We
immediately began trying to secure
another restauranteur for the space.
In the interim, this part of the project
stopped, and we began concentrating
on the second floor renovation.
As we moved forward, however, we
began to think that there might be a
better use for that space."
Realizing that they would not have
to make too many changes to the
plans that were already underway
and that Jacksonville had a shortage
of historic lodging, Darr shifted gears
"Since the completion ot this
restoration, others hrom outside
ot the area have bought
old vacant buildings. This project
has proven that investing
in Jacksonville is very good
"We decided that putting in a
hotel was a perfect choice for that
space. With that decision made, we
knew that having a restaurant on the
ground floor was essential." But
when she was still not able to find
someone to take on the restaurant
project, Darr decided to do it herself.
General management with more
than 20 years of food service experience
was brought on board as well
as co-owner Bill H. Bailey Jr.
Together, the team designed a
unique dining experience at Stamps
Restaurant and Bar. In addition to
the restaurant, the main floor now
houses corporate offices, the hotel
lobby, and a common area.
H E R ITA G E SUMMER 2004
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2004, periodical, Summer 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45373/m1/34/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.