Now & Then Texarkana Historical Buildings That Are Fun To Look At
There's a lot of Texarkana history that comes to mind when you go downtown. There are some buildings that have survived the test of time whether they are still active today or right in the middle of restoring and renovating a part of Texarkana's past.
Arkansas Municipal Auditorium
This was once called the Municipal building which housed the city hall, fire station, and auditorium. I can remember seeing Elvis Presley perform when I was just a very small boy, I remember asking my mom, why is that man swiveling his hips on stage. Back in the day, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, and Conway Twitty performed here along with the legendary movie star, Mae West. It's said that the ghost of Mae West still haunts the alley of the auditorium, according to the Texarkana Haunted History Tour.
Today, the Municipal Auditorium is back in operation as a Visual and Performing Arts Center and the fire station still remains. Back in the day, you catch some fireman sitting out front of the building and that hasn't changed today.
The once prestigious eight-story hotel was the center part of a thriving bustling downtown area where visitors stayed who were traveling by train at the Union Station. As you can see from this picture the bottom floor had a drugstore, Grim Drug. There was also a full-service restaurant. It was said in a tour I took recently that the infamous Bonnie and Clyde stay here quite often. Hotel Grim was built in 1925. The Grim was used in a scene for the making of the movie "The Town That Dreaded Sundown," about the true-to-life story of a serial killer known as the Phantom Killer.
Today, Hotel Grim is being bought back to life thanks to investors who wanted to preserve a piece of Texarkana history. When the renovation is complete it will become the Grim Apartments.
Texarkana National Bank
Texarkana National was once a beautiful 10-story building with some very nice architecture and you couldn't but notice the American Flag that graced the building for many years. After many years of looking like this, a more modern look was given to the building in the 1970s but in doing so the white stone facelift covered up the original look of the building.
Today, the former Texarkana National Bank building is in the midst of being fully restored to its original look, thanks to David Peavy owner of Texarkana Renewal Properties. The white facade was stripped off and the original dark brick is being brought back to its former glory, when it's complete it will be apartment lofts and condos named the "Texarkanian" from what I hear. Let's just hope they put the American Flag back on top because the pole is still there.
If you grew up in Texarkana Offenhauser was a household name, most folks during that time had insurance with this local insurance firm that's been around since 1882. Years later they outgrew their former location and moved into a new building on Pine Street where they remain today. Offenhauser remains one of the oldest insurance firms in Texarkana.
Texarkana Museum of Regional History
So, when Offenhauser moved out it wasn't long before the Texarkana Museum of Regional History moved in where it remains today. If you want to learn more about Texarkana's historical past, present, and future this is the place to go. It also serves as the Texarkana Arts and Historic District Visitor's Center.
United States Court House
When this beautiful downtown building was built many years ago it was the United States Courthouse.
Today, it's the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities (TRAHC) building where you can take in a public art gallery. An art show is coming in August where you can purchase art.
There are so many more historical buildings we could add to this list but that's for another story.
See more of Texarkana's past here. And more here too.