Southern Hotel Modernization & Exterior Renovation- Texas Historical Commission- Project
Summit Building & Design- Construction Company eyes long awaited project Southern Hotel.
The Southern Hotel, a three-story Victorian Commercial structure in the 1200 block of Matamoros Street, was among the community’s flagship hotels at the start of the 20th century. It is historically and architecturally significant as an example of the Victorian Commercial architecture that developed at the start of the 20th century when Laredo’s economy benefited from the development of agriculture, petroleum, and railroad-related industry. Hotels like these served as a temporary home for the flood of workers that Laredo attracted in the boom years between the arrival of the railroads in 1881 and the emergence of the region’s oil and gas industry in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Southern Hotel itself evolved as an outgrowth of its neighboring Hamilton Hotel in the “Roaring 20s.” A large portion of the Southern Hotel’s structure dates to the original Hamilton Hotel constructed in 1889. Brick making became a major export industry for Laredo in the late 1880s. The Jarvis Plaza area itself was the outskirts of town and considered unsuitable for family living until after 1886 when the International and Great Northern passenger station was anchored at the end of Matamoros Street. The nearby neighborhood of St. Peter’s soon evolved after the railroads began to bring a steady stream of passengers on buggies and later taxis up and down Matamoros Street. Railroad related industry brought many new families from throughout the world to Laredo’s doorstep and attracted entrepreneurs to invest in the town’s booming economy.
The original three-story Hamilton, constructed at a cost of $50,000, was the first major investment in this new part of town, followed by the federal courthouse. Additional rooms were added to the three-story structure, along Matamoros Street, and handsome Victorian storefronts were constructed for its southern façade between 1909 and 1925. Currently attached to the Hamilton’s east flank by a small retail hair products store, and facing south, the Southern Hotel was very much part of the larger hotel established by an entrepreneurial group of businessmen, including A.C. Hamilton in 1899. By 1900, D.J. MacDonald became the proprietor of the most
“Perfect and Palatial Hotel in the City.”
By the end of its second decade, the Hamilton had outgrown its potential to serve the captains of the petroleum industry. Between 1923 and 1927, its ownership invested in a brand new Hamilton, a Spanish Colonial Revival high rise which currently dominates the block. It was not until the “New Hamilton Hotel” was constructed that the Southern Hotel established its own identity. A portion of the original Hamilton, and a 1920’s addition were retained and incorporated into the Southern House, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Misener through the late 1950s. The storefronts during this period include the Southern Bar, operated by P.L. Clark, Laredo Steam Laundry, Roark Insurance Agency, and at the southeast corner, Wright’s Garage.
Southern Hotel Modernization & Exterior Renovation– Texas Historical Commission- Project. The desire of its previous owners, expressed in a 1980’s newspaper article. Is to return the Southern Hotel to its former glory as a fine hotel was never realized. It remains a fine architectural example of Laredo’s commercial boom of the 20th century and awaits its next incarnation. Summit Building & Design- Construction Company eyes long awaited project Southern Hotel.
by Design Team:
- Sepulveda Associates Architects, Inc.
- Howland Engineering Company
- NRG Engineering Company
- Synergy Structural Engineering