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

White Elephant Saloon

(Blach Building)

 
 
White Elephant Saloon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
1. White Elephant Saloon Marker
Inscription. The land on this site, Lot 9, Block 3 of the original town plat of Albany, was purchased in 1882 by noted local restauranteur Charles Hartfield. He planned to build a restaurant next door, and the pending establishment was much anticipated by local diners. Shortly before his death in 1884, Hartfield sold the lot to Alabama businessman Max Blach. Blach was vice president of the Albany Water Company. He and partner N.H. Burns brought a system of running water to the town in 1884.
     Blach began construction on this one-story native stone structure in March 1884. The building was completed in April and leased to J.R. Davis, who put it to its most infamous use. The White Elephant Saloon opened for business on May 1, 1884. Among its instantly popular features was a white elephant display which was removed from the rooftop early in the establishment’s heyday. The perpetrators were believed to be citizens who disapproved of the saloon’s raucous business.
     Despite its popularity, David announced his intent to close the Saloon in February 1886. The Blach building soon was leased to W.M. Wigley, who operated a dry goods and furniture store on this site. Succeeding furniture businesses occupied the building for many years.
     Blach’s heirs sold the structure to S.C. Coffee in 1919. Coffee sold it in 1923 to T.J. Crow, who
White Elephant Saloon and Hartfield Building Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
2. White Elephant Saloon and Hartfield Building Markers
conveyed it to Albany businessman L.H. Hill (1859-1932) in 1925. The structure was used for various purposes over the years: it was the home of The Albany News in the 1940s and was the workshop and office of a pipe organ maker in the 1950s and 1960s. The Hill family maintained ownership of the edifice until 1977.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1998
 
Erected 1998 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 14887.)
 
Location. 32° 43.363′ N, 99° 17.85′ W. Marker is in Albany, Texas, in Shackelford County. Marker is on S. Main Street (U.S. 283) south of S. 2nd Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Albany TX 76430, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hartfield Building (here, next to this marker); Jackson Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); First Producing Oil Well in West Texas (within shouting distance of this marker); Shackelford County (within shouting distance of this marker); Texas Cattle Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The Rev. John Brown, Clara Barton and the 1886-1887 Drought Relief
View to South from Hartfield Building image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
3. View to South from Hartfield Building
(within shouting distance of this marker); Lt. Col. William E. Dyess (within shouting distance of this marker); James Robert Green (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Albany.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
View to North from Blach Building image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
4. View to North from Blach Building
Front of Blach Building image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
5. Front of Blach Building
National Register of Historic Places Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
6. National Register of Historic Places Plaque
The Blach Building (right) and the Hartfield Building (left) image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
7. The Blach Building (right) and the Hartfield Building (left)
The Blach Building image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
8. The Blach Building
View to west across Main Street (US 283)
View to North Along S. Main Street (US 283) image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 27, 2015
9. View to North Along S. Main Street (US 283)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 203 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 10, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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