The Hexagon Hotel at 701 N. Oak Avenue, opened in December 1897. The brick building to the right was the Convention Hall (built in 1925 on the foundation of the Hotel's electric plant) for the West Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention. The Hexagon Hotel was demolished in 1959, the Convention Center in 1977.
A large group of people, most sitting on donkeys, are shown out front of the Hexagon Hotel. Donkeys were used to transport visitors to the top of East Mountain for an overview of the City of Mineral Wells. It appears the party in this picture is preparing for such a trip. The Caldwell family ran the Hexagon Hotel as a boarding house for a while, hence the sign on the second floor of the building. H. L. Milling and his father also ran the hotel for a while, too. The building visible behind the hotel is the DC generating plant that supplied electricity to illuminate the building.
The Hexagon Hotel was built in 1895 by David G. Galbraith, the inventor of the paper clip (not the familiar one, but another one very much like it) , and co-developer of acetate synthetic fiber. According to Ellen Puerzer ("The Octagon House Inventory", Eight-Square Publishing, copyright 2011), the building was twelve-sided, clad with clapboard, built on a stone foundation. Two English stonemasons did all stonework, presumably also the work on the DC generating plant next to the hotel. The rooms within were hexagon-shaped, with a bath being shared between every two rooms. The well-ventilated "honeycomb" structure (a master-stroke in the days before air-conditioning)opened in December 1897. The stone building behind and left of the Hotel is the plant for generating electricity used for light and fans (for a fee) in every room in the hotel. It also contained a steam laundry and an ice house on the first floor. The second floor was given over to a dining room for the hotel guests.
A color photograph of the Hexagon Hotel is shown here. Please note the Convention Hall to the right (north) of the Hotel. The Convention Hall was built in 1925 to accommodate the West Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention, and was built over a portion of the foundation of the electric power plant of the hotel. In 1897 Galbraith was granted, by city ordinance, a 50-year franchise to illuminate the city. The Hexagon Hotel was torn down in 1959. Ira Tawater (who had been contracted to do the work) remarked that "[I]t was the most novel building I have to tear down." He later said that he regretted doing it. The Convention Center was demolished in 1977.
This photograph is a cleaned-up version, by A.F. Weaver, of the Hexagon Hotel, at approximately the time of its completion. (The site has been cleaned, and the trash removed.) Construction of the Hexagon Hotel started in 1895, and it opened for business in 1897, to ameliorate Mineral Wells' torrid summertime heat years before air-conditioning became available, its design was such that it could catch every vagrant breeze, and cool the hotel. A DC generating plant (seen behind and to the left of the hotel) furnished power to an electric light in each room. It was the first electrically-lighted hotel in Mineral Wells. the plant was operational when the hotel opened. There was also a steam laundry and an ice house, as well. The ice house produced its first block of ice in 1903. The builder/owner, Mr. David G. Galbraith (along with five other men) held the patent for acetate. The original photograph, included in the A.F. Weaver collection, shows evidence of construction-related activity and debris along NW Holland Street (now : NE 6th Street).