White Deer Land Museum

The Holland Hotel Was A Landmark In Early Pampa

T.D. Hobart was concerned not only with the sale of White Deer Lands to potential stock farmers, but he also offered to donate land for purposes that would contribute to the permanent development of the properties under his control. However, it was stipulated that land donated for a specific purpose, such as a church or a school, should revert to the land company if it was not used for the designated purpose.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Hobart was especially interested in acquiring an agricultural experiment station, a Presbyterian college and a hotel. Apparently the experiment station and the college did not materialize. It is believed that the present Pampa High School building (111 E. Harvester) was constructed at a location known to early Pampans as “the college land.”

Before George Tyng left Pampa in 1903, he gave Hobart some insight into the character of people who were needed to settle on White Deer Lands. Tyng declared that what Pampa needed was “a twenty-five cent meal hash house. People who are willing to pay fifty cents a meal or for sleeping want clean beds, table cloths, napkins and good grub. That kind do not buy frontier homes four hundred feet above drinking water.”

Perhaps Tyng’s most practical advice was that wallpaper for the hotel “should be strong, pretty and cheap. Patterns (should) reflect light as much as possible without too gaudily displaying dirt, tobacco juice, etc.”

Alfred Ace Holland, an employee of the land company, came from the town of White Deer and leased the company boarding house completed by Tyng in 1892. In the lease with the land company, Holland promised to “be clean and to serve a good meal for 50 cents.” M.K. Brown and A.H. Doucette were two of the boarders.

Later Holland bought the boarding house and opened the Holland Hotel. He added rooms to make a total of 16 with the original boarding house being the east side of the hotel. Two Holland daughters, Hazel and Helen Joy, were born while Holland operated the hotel. One of the streets in Pampa was named for Hazel.

On September 12, 1911, Alex Schneider, Sr. bought the Holland Hotel and changed the name to the Schneider Hotel. In 1915 the addition of a west wing brought the total number of rooms to 24. The population of Pampa was about 1,000 in the early days of the hotel.

Some of the West’s richest and most famed men and representatives of some of the largest syndicates and businesses of the time passed through the doors of the Holland (later Schneider) Hotel. The hotel ranked up front with the best in the area at that time.

On an excursion trip in 1905, William Crockett Archer came from Lamar County to the Texas Panhandle. He decided to migrate to Gray County and on a return trip to Pampa he brought his father, William Jasper Archer. They were met by M.K. Brown and driven in a new White Deer Land Company hack to view land.

The next year three related families came to make their homes west of Pampa: W.J. and Josephine (Cobb) Archer with their son, Washington Enos Archer, and their daughters, Mattie and Robbie; W.C. and Verna (Glover) Archer with their daughter, Mallie; and Steve and Margaret (Archer) Baird with their children, Helen and William. All arrived by immigrant car at Pampa on March 3, 1906, except for W.E. Archer and Steve Baird who arrived March 6 on a freight train with the families’ livestock and furniture.

The three families stayed at the Holland Hotel and at McCarty’s Boarding House before buying a home in southwest Pampa where they lived until they bought land. While they waited for lumber to be shipped from Paris, Texas, for their separate homes, they lived in a big barn in the W.J. Archer farm six miles west of Pampa.

W.C. Archer’s farm, four miles west of Price Road, contains the east side of the playa lake on the north side of the Borger Highway. In addition to Mallie, the children of W.C. and Verna Archer are Freda Ethlene, Kate Susan, William Buford McKinley, Quentin Roosevelt and Lillian Jaynelle. Quentin R. Archer married Velda Richards, and they now reside on the old home place.

Steve Baird’s farm was one-half mile west of Price Road, and W.E. Archer’s farm was one and one-half mile west of Price Road.

After the First National Bank in Pampa was robbed on March 31, 1927, the robbers hid for several hours in the home of W.E. Archer and his sister Robbie. While lawmen were hunting for the robbers, they were examining their “loot” and playing cards with the Archers.

The family of James Calvin and Julia Marie (Bombarger) McConnell also came from Lamar County to Pampa in 1906. From the White Deer Land Company, J.C. McConnell purchased Section 185, half in Gray County and half in Carson County. Eventually J.C. McConnell and his sons owned about 5,000 acres of land in a region where much oil and gas development took place.

Assisted by his four sons, James Walter, Roger Stanley, Lee Calvin and Ollie Floyd, J.C. McConnell built a ranch home eight miles southwest of Pampa in Gray County. Charlie Thomas drilled a water well at the site. There were only two watering places between the McConnell home and Pampa; one was on the McKay ranch headquarters and one was on the Jap Archer farm.

The daughters of J.C. and Julia McConnell were Fannie (Mrs. Brady Cobb), Essie Mae (Mrs. Mae Boone) and Avie Estelle, who married John M. Bell, Jr.

Walter McConnell returned to Lamar County and married Girtha Stalls on November 17, 1907. With her brother, L.L. Stalls, they arrived by train at Pampa on December 2, 1907 and spent the night in the Holland Hotel. The next morning Charlie Tignor drove them to the McConnell farm in the White Deer Land Company hack.

Two sons were born to Walter and Girtha McConnell: Louie Earl on December 18, 1909 and Claude Russell on February 12, 1915. Russell and Earl McConnell both graduated from Pampa High School in 1931. They attended Amarillo Junior College and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

The first gas well in Carson County was drilled by the Last Chance Oil Company on McConnell Section 201. It was located a few yards east of the Lakeview School which Russell attended as a child.

Earl McConnell spent three years making an exact replica of the first oil well drilled on White Deer Lands, the Gulf No. 2 located in Carson County. This replica, which has been donated to the White Deer Land Museum, is on temporary loan to the Pampa Economic Development Corporation for display in the Southwestern Bell Telephone Building at 315 N. Ballard.

In November, 1905, Charles P. Sloan, a member of the Fort Worth Star Telegram Old Timers Club, came in a wagon from Breckenridge, Texas, to Pampa. His family, who arrived by train on March 9, 1906, included his wife (Tallulah Bell) and children: Fred, Caril, Vera (Mrs. Mel Davis) Beatrice (who married Ed Dunigan) and Ralph.

Mrs. Sloan had been told by close friends that Pampa was the “jumping-off place,” and when she arrived, she believed it. There were a few scattered buildings and a population of approximately 72 persons counting the families and the section hands.

The Sloans’ first home was a dugout three miles north of Pampa near Walnut Creek. Later the Sloans moved into the first two-story house built in Pampa (711 E. Browning). When the Holland Hotel was filled to capacity, guests were sent to the Sloan home.

When Mrs. Sloan arrived at Pampa, there were two babies (one was Ralph Sloan and two pianos. One piano belonged to Mrs. J.C. Rider and the other to Mrs. Sloan Mr. Cranker, who rode the trains to and from Miami for two years to give piano lessons in the Sloan home, was Pampa’s first piano teacher.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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