In 1886 when the west was young and expanding, Mineola was just a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroad – the quickest mode of travel and a major artery much like the interstate system. At that point Mineola had only been incorporated for nine years and sat in the heart of East Texas’ timber belt which supplied the bulk of the ties for the T&P Railroad west to El Paso.
The Beckham Hotel building, originally built in 1885, has a colorful, even macabre history. The hotel was purchased by James Lavega Beckham in 1920 after he had worked at the hotel and restaurant since 1910. Between July 1921 and January 1922, the Beckham Hotel was officially established. In 1928, Mr. Beckham enlarged the hotel and completely remodeled it, and it reopened as the ‘New’ Beckham Hotel.
The hotel was originally built with a European design and is quite different from what we consider a hotel room today. These rooms were more utilitarian since most guests would only be in the room for sleeping. The rooms were typically smaller with communal bathrooms, depending on the room type, which was typical of the 1800s. Mineola’s Beckham Hotel was a boarding house and the temporary home to railroad workers, loggers, and cattlemen in its early years.
In 1989, the Beckham was purchased by music teacher John DeFoore, where he worked with some of his more famous students, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, and Michelle Shocked.
Today, this resilient hotel has undergone a major renovation and is now able to welcome its first overnight guests in more that 40 years. The Ballroom is open as well and hosts events like their Annual Kentucky Derby Party, an annual Halloween Costume Party, monthly poker tournaments, and more. It is the perfect venue to host private luncheons, parties, weddings, and receptions.
When you visit the hotel, you will walk into a museum of glass from 1908 to the 1980s. Glass of every color by makers such as Jefferson, Northwood, Fenton, Fostoria, Westmoreland, etc. are featured in the many cabinets and is available for purchase.