Remembering The 1897 Hexagon Hotel

HEXAGON HOTELThe fabulous Hexagon Hotel opened its doors in December of 1897. The six-sided structure was located at 701 North Oak Avenue in Mineral Wells, Texas.  Its builder, David Galbraith, is credited (at least in Mineral Wells) with having invented the paper clip.

The Hexagon was the first hotel in Mineral Wells to have electricity in every room. It also boasted of the fact that every room also had outside exposure, something very important in our hot Texas summers over half a century before air conditioning became the norm.

The hotel was nothing short of  magnificent for the day. Constructed with square nails and wooden pegs, its four staircases spiraled the five floors from top to bottom. The lobby was tiled with hexagon shapes of brown, tan, and blue. All rooms were hexagon in shape, with a bath located between every two rooms, a luxury in itself!

“The evening of the hotel opening, Mineral Wells witnessed its first electric lighting with DC electricity supplied by the newly installed electric power plant adjoining the hotel to the north. The power plant also housed the ice plant and the steam laundry.”

As has happened to so many of our beautiful Texas landmarks, the Hexagon Hotel was razed in 1959; however, it was only after at least one of the owners had done everything in her power to save it. The following appeared in the February 5, 1958, edition of the Dallas Morning News.

“The Hexagon House of Mineral Wells, one of Texas’ most popular tourist attractions, will be torn down soon,” says one of the three owners, Mrs. Ann Meriwether.

“Mrs. Meriwether, who lives in the huge honeycomb of stone, steel and timber, says she has written to a wrecking company razing the 61-year-old landmark.

“We have an average of 40 persons a week go through the house, almost all of them from out of town,” says the charming Mrs. Meriwether. “And hundreds more stop just to see the exterior. Yet we can no longer afford to keep up the 30-room, 4-story house just so tourists can look at it.”

“Most of the people of Mineral Wells just think of the Hexagon House as a bunch of sticks,” said Mrs. Meriwether. “Yet I showed two busloads of New Englanders through recently, and they said it was one of the most beautiful and interesting old houses they’d ever seen.”

“Mrs. Meriwether’s father, the late David Gehugh Galbraith, was a great admirer of bees. And he modeled the stout old house’s floor plan after a honeycomb.

 I am too young to remember the Hexagon; however, my grandfather knew it well and made sure that I learned of it as well as of days gone by in Mineral Wells. I suppose he kept the old postcards of the hotel until the day he died.

I am too young to remember the Hexagon; however, my grandfather knew it well and made sure that I learned of it as well as of days gone by in Mineral Wells. I suppose he kept the old postcards of the hotel until the day he died.

“Each room has six sides. All the rooms have outside ventilation and most rooms have windows which face in three directions. The walls on the ground floor are thick native stone. The heavy timbers used in the rest of the house were constructed under Mr. Galbraith’s very critical eye, with each piece of wood dipped into creosote before it was put in place.

“Mrs. Meriwether says that it will almost break her heart when the beloved old house is wrecked. She added: “There is a fabulous amount of heart of pine interior trim throughout the house that, I understand, can’t be bought in a lumber yard. The lot is near the best part of Mineral Wells business district and should be very valuable when cleared. I have just written my last letter to the Texas Historical Society, telling them that I can no longer afford to save the house.”

“The tile floors on the first floor are in hexagon patterns. Even the dishes in the kitchen are hexagon shaped.

“A visitor from New Mexico who was here last Saturday, said it would be a reflection on Mineral Wells and the State of Texas if the Hexagon House has to go down,” said Mrs. Meriwether. “There’s nothing else I can do though.”

“The Hexagon House is still in good physical condition.

“’Only one of the four staircases squeaks,’” said Mrs. Meriwether.”

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to Remembering The 1897 Hexagon Hotel

  1. Susan Lindsay says:

    The First Miss Texas was crowned in Mineral Wells Texas during a Historical Pageant at Mineral
    Wells Field in the mid 1930’s. Can you give me information about this “First Miss Texas”?

    We have an article from a Mineral Wells newspaper (w/out a date) and some articles/photos of our
    mother (deceased) who we believe is the recipient of this crowning. We are trying to put a date on this time in History for our family.

    Please give us some idea of where we might find info or talk to someone who might be able to help.

    Susan Veltmann Lindsay

  2. Dave Jared says:

    The City of Mineral Wells attempted to buy the Hexagon House from Ms Meriweather and her relatives but they each wanted to be made millionaires by the sale and the City simply couldn’t afford their demands. If anyone is to blame for it being torn down, it was Ms Meriweather and her family who thought to become fabulously wealthy from the sale. They didn’t even get rich by having it torn down since it was demolished for the salvageable materials…which were considerable.

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