Texas Ingenuity History

 

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"I do love the book. I'm glad I got a chance to buy it.  Any time you write a book - I WANT IT!!!" L. V.,(Dallas)

I think you've got a hit on your hands -- judging by the way the guys were reading it yesterday! They kept going--"I didn't know this"... or, "oh, yeah, I remember this"...What FUN! I gave out 7 of your Texas books at the family Christmas get-together yesterday--and now I need to buy another 3. P.S. (Athens)

"I started it tonight and found it to be interesting and written in very simple language which makes it a fast and easy read.  I will be buying more copies soon." B R. (Dallas)

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Best Texas Hotels

The Adolphus Hotel (Dallas; tel. 800/221-9083 or 214/742-8200)

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas; tel. 800/422-3408 or 214/599-2100)

Hotel Zaza (Dallas; tel. 800/597-8399 or 214/468-8399)

Stockyards Hotel (Fort Worth; tel. 800/423-8471 or 817/625-6427)

Four Seasons Hotel Houston (Houston; tel. 800/332-3442 or 713/650-1300)

Hotel Derek (Houston; tel. 866/292-4100 or 713/961-3000)

Lancaster Hotel (Houston; tel. 800/231-0336 or 713/228-9500)

Omni Corpus Christi Hotel (Corpus Christi; tel. 800/843-6664 or 361/887-1600)

Isla Grand Beach Resort (South Padre Island; tel. 800/292-7704 or 956/761-6511)

Omni La Mansión del Río (San Antonio; tel. 800/830-1400 or 210/518-1000)

The Watermark Hotel & Spa (San Antonio; tel. 866/605-1212 or 210/396-5800)

The Driskill (Austin; tel. 800/252-9367 or 512/474-5911)

Four Seasons Austin (Austin; tel. 800/332-3442 or 512/478-4500)

Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin; 1705 S. Quinlan Park Rd.; tel. 800/847-5637)

Cibolo Creek Ranch (Shafter; tel. 432/229-3737)

Gage Hotel (Marathon; tel. 432/386-4205)

Historic - The Excelsior House (Jefferson; 903/665-2513 or 800/490-7270)


 

 

 

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Hilton Hospitality and Style

Conrad Nicholson Hilton, 32 years old and fresh from the battlefields of World War I, came to Texas in 1919 to find his fortune. Little could he have realized what an impact this trip to the Lone Star State would have on his life and the world.

Connie (as his family called him) was born in San Antonio, New Mexico, in 1887, the second of seven children of Gus and Mary Hilton. Friends knew Gus (August) as a tall Norwegian who could strike up a conversation with anyone, and usually did. He had a keen nose for business and stepped out to take risks when there were profits to be made. Connie's mother, born Mary Laufersweiler, had an opposite personality. Quiet and full of faith, she led her children with a gentle, determined, and firm hand.

As a $15-a-month clerk, young Connie cleaned, stocked, and ordered supplies for his father's general store. Unlike today's stores where everything is priced, clerks of that era had to negotiate prices with customers. A certain code of ethics existed between the contentious parties where, in the end, each one of them had to think they got a good deal. Connie got good at selling and one day decided to spend some of his hard earned money on a personal luxury, an L. C. Smith twelve-gauge hammerless shotgun. He placed an order. When his penny-pinching father found out about it, he gave his son a piece of his mind. Not because of what he'd ordered, but how. For the twenty-pound shipping charge paid to deliver the rifle, Connie could have shipped a hundred pound of goods.

 "You threw away an eighty pound opportunity. You could have gotten a keg of nails for the same freight charge. You'll never get rich that way."

Although Connie enjoyed his small hometown, he also had ambition. He tried his hand at several different careers including managing his sister's singing trio, and politics, where he won a seat in the New Mexico State Assembly when it first became a state. Neither of these careers satisfied him.

. . .continues. . .

Hilton Mobley Cisco Texas

Recent photo of the refurbished building that was the site

of the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas.

(Courtesy Cheryl Lindsay, Conrad Hilton Community Center.)

. . . Conrad Hilton, the shop manager, the politician, the banker, and the Army Lieutenant found himself the proprietor of a first class flophouse hotel in the middle of a West Texas oilfield. The Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas, had become the first "Hilton" hotel. That night the hotel was full, and Connie and his partner slept in the office.

Extra

 

. . .All of Hilton's experiences of the past blended together into a torrent of ideas on how to make his hotel produce more money. What he’d learned from his father's obsession with squeezing every penny out of every square inch of a business led him to take quick steps to improve the cash flow of his new business. He tore out the cafeteria and added more rooms. After all, there were plenty of "hash-houses" in the city. He shortened the reservation counter by half and put in a tobacco and newspaper stand. A corner that housed a large palm tree became a small novelty shop. This became a pattern for future Hilton Hotels. Every bit of space must have a purpose, and every resource must be utilized.

... Little by little the building took shape. In August 1925, the last rug was laid and the last doorknob was polished. The Dallas Hilton opened. It was an immediate success.

Hilton Dallas 1925

Dallas Hilton Hotel from a postcard circa 1925

Texas Tidbit: Two top companies that set world standards for sophistication and style started around the corner from one another in Dallas in the 1920s – Hilton Hotels and Neiman-Marcus.

The story continues in the book Texas Ingenuity... For complete information on this and other Texas stories...

 

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