Details for White Elephant Saloon (Atlas Number 5507014887)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507014887


Marker Number 14887
Atlas Number 5507014887
Marker Title White Elephant Saloon
Index Entry White Elephant Saloon
City Albany
County Shackelford
UTM Zone 14
UTM Easting 472121
UTM Northing 3620587
Subject Codes
Marker Year 1998
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location S. Main St
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text (Blach Building) 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 in 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, Davis 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 occuped 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 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