“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kerrville in Kerr County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Famous Door Cafe

The Famous Door Cafe Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, December 5, 2020
1. The Famous Door Cafe Marker

The Famous Door served the African American community in Kerrville for seventy years as a café, grocery store, and most prominently, as a dance hall. Henry Kelley established his café and grocery in the 1920s, at a time when Jim Crow laws segregated and restricted all aspects of life. The café became an important part of the African American community, hosting a 1938 dance for Emancipation Day and a 1942 dance to benefit the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (later the March of Dimes). Edward Bratcher, Sr., a prominent African American chef at the Bluebonnet Hotel, became manager and changed the name to Bratcher's Place. In 1944, property owner A. L. Lewis sold Bratcher and his wife, Cordellia Mills Bratcher, the restaurant and other adjacent property.

With segregation excluding African Americans from music venues, entrepreneurs created an alternative known as the Chitlin' Circuit. Tour stops hosted local performers and nationally-known jazz, rock and rhythm and blues musicians. During this time, the restaurant began hosting musical acts and changed its name to the Famous Door Café, advertising as being "Famous for
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Friends, Food and Fun." As new musical trends developed, The Famous Door integrated its lineup, including groups from Kerrville and San Antonio often credited as early developers of Psychedelic Rock in the 1960s. Patrons later recalled The Famous Door as the first integrated business in Kerrville that welcomed all customers before it closed in 1996. Music provided a common language that helped bridge cultural and generational gaps.
Marker is the property of the State of Texas
Erected 2012 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 17751.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1938.
Location. 30° 3.429′ N, 99° 8.672′ W. Marker is in Kerrville, Texas, in Kerr County. Marker is on Barnett Street, 0.1 miles north of Webster Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 215 West Barnett Street, Kerrville TX 78028, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mount Olive Baptist Church (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Doyle Colored School (about 500 feet away); Barnett Chapel Methodist Church (about 700 feet away); H-E-B (approx. 0.4 miles away); Scott and Josephine Carr Schreiner
The Famous Door Cafe Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, December 5, 2020
2. The Famous Door Cafe Marker - wide view
The new owners are currently restoring the building to reopen in the future.
(approx. 0.6 miles away); Beitel Lumberyard (approx. 0.6 miles away); San Antonio & Aransas Pass Passenger Train Depot (approx. 0.6 miles away); Zion Lutheran Church (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kerrville.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 12, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 289 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 12, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 23, 2024