You Best Start Believing in Ghost Stories. You're In One: Texarkana Recap

October 10, 2019


It's October and thus the "official" start of spooky season, though some of us have been celebrating since the end of August (hey, if it can be Christmas in July at Hobby Lobby, I can celebrate Halloween in August)! Since October is the month of all things macabre, I thought I'd kick it off with a recap of my experience in Texarkana, which is quite literally, a ghost town.

On our way to Dallas last month, we stopped through Texarkana to get out of the car for a few hours, maybe eat some lunch, check out what was there, etc. The main draw was that Texarkana is located in 2 states, so that was kind of cool in its own respect. The post office there literally straddles both the TX and AK state line, hence the name. There's a sign and everything, so its legit. How often can you say you've actually been in 2 places at once?



So we got out, wandered around the outside of the post office before heading out in search of lunch. The post office has gorgeous Beaux Arts architecture, but even if you don't know Frank Lloyd Wright from Frank Sinatra or Frank Gehry from Frankenstein, you can still appreciate the artistic building for what it is. Leave it to Texas to adorn their post office with cattle skull patina. Yaaaaaas!


As we were driving around the really small downtown, we noticed that it was extremely empty. There wasn't ANYONE around, and all the buildings looked completely abandoned, like one day everyone just picked up and left all at once for some mysterious reason. I was very intrigued, to say the least, and I wanted to know more.



But first, I required sustenance to fuel my sleuthing, so we found one of the few (maybe only?) operational open spots in town, which was luckily for us, a brewery. I mean, if you're going to live in what is essentially a ghost town, at least have good beer, right? This place was Pecan Point, a local brewery nestled in an old, historic building. The beer was actually pretty good, and the appetizer we got was jalapeno cream cheese stuffed balsamic strawberries with prosciutto - basically dinner masquerading as dessert from the looks of it (sorcery, I tell you).



The mint green dilapidated door in between both entrances to the brewery caught my eye and I love that the number above it is 213 1/2, like this mysterious door may very well have been the backdoor to Platform 9 3/4 or something (but probably the Leaky Cauldron, more likely). This town was weird AF, so honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this door went literally nowhere (it's that kind of town).


Next, we sauntered back to one particular building that I had to explore: Hotel Grim. You wouldn't know it now, but this place must have been the shit back in the day. Obviously, by now everything had been boarded up and it's not like we could just walk inside, but I did find where people had been getting in. Of course, I'm not an idiot, so we didn't try to go in, but it was apparent that others definitely had. I've listened to one too many episodes of My Favorite Murder to know this place had "NOPE" written alllllll over it (and if the psychos didn't get us, the mold and asbestos would).




So I did a little research on this hotel. It was built in 1924, but abandoned in the 90s. The hotel is eight stories tall, with 250 rooms, and cost about $600K to build. Back in its prime, the lobby had marble floors and grand chandeliers, and the hotel featured a cafe, coffee shop,  beauty parlor and barber shop, and the top floor was a "garden room" that could convert to a ballroom. This spot played host to many parties in the 30s, often full of lots of jazz and its fair share of illegal card games. Plenty of people have attempted to restore the hotel over the years, but inevitably, the cost of renovation is just too high, and so it has sat dormant and in a grave state of disrepair for decades.


It is rumored that Bonnie (you know, of Bonnie and Clyde) made a pit stop here and was spotted eating a sandwich at the cafe. As for ghost stories, some who have ventured inside have reported getting pinched or feeling their hair pulled; others claim to have seen the silhouette of a woman in one of the windows, and some paranormal investigators have captured the sounds of an opera singer. The energy here was definitely palpable. Haunted, says I (and if you're as captivated as I was by the ominous hotel, you have to check out this video of the interior by some crazy kids that actually went inside).

But Hotel Grim isn't the only spooky building in town. I think the creepiest award goes to the train, station, which is actually still a functional Amtrak station. I mean, I don't think the terminal building is, but the actual tracks are still in use. This building is truly a vision though - the architecture is really cool, and I bet the interior back in its prime was probably pretty magical. Now it's just freaking eerie (but I'm still here for it).


Creepiest moment of the day? Spotting this in the window. Probably just dumb kids, but still. My true crime-obsessed brain can spin so many scenarios around this one, so who knows.


We went around the back to where the tracks are, but everything was boarded up. The closest I could get to the inside was just going up some stairs, but even the 2nd level was blocked off, and you'd have to pretty much have to have death wish to get in that way. So I sat on the stairs and looked pensive and only mildly worried that a psycho would materialize from the rafters and shove me off the platform & onto the tracks below.


The train station is probably also super haunted, and in my Google travels, I came across a few ghost stories and urban legends about this place. According to some websites, railroad workers have seen a woman in blue standing on the platform. Others believe the spirit of Ed Coy or Will Driver (both were part of killings in the area - one in 1892 and the other in 1907) can be seen moving along Front Street as a headless man.

Oh, and directly across the street from the station? Surprise, surprise, another abandoned hotel: the McCartney Hotel (haunted). The old historic Perot theater in town is also haunted but fully embracess the weird by offering ghost tours (& is showing Halloween movies as well! I would totally go see Hocus Pocus there). But really, I mean at this point, what isn't haunted in this town?



But in all seriousness, we were respectful of these buildings of yesteryear. We weren't trespassing or trying to break in anywhere (we couldn't even if we wanted to; but again, I'm not an idiot), and I sure as hell wasn't trying to taunt any ghosts because I didn't want any bad juju following me home. I'm definitely one of those people that believes in the paranormal (I've had my share of experiences but I'll save those stories for another time), and my husband is particular susceptible to attracting & sensing otherworldly energies, so we just mostly wandered, explored, and documented. I've always had a fascination with the macabre, so walking around a literal ghost town was just fascinating. I couldn't fathom how an entire downtown could be so empty - so many abandoned and busted up
buildings that all held so much history.


I can only imagine this place on Halloween night. Good thing it was September.

Stay sexy and don't get haunted by a ghost,
-Shell



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