A sepia photograph of a three-story hotel with a few period-era cars parked in front

The Beaton Hotel in Corsicana was once the largest hotel between Houston and Dallas. Corsicana native Ralph Beaton built the establishment in the 200 block of North Main Street in 1900 with money he earned in the oil business. A savvy businessman, Beaton founded the Corsicana Oil Development Co. in 1895 to drill for oil in what became Texas’ first commercial oil field. He invested some of his earnings in the new hotel, which saw increasing demand as more Texans started traveling by automobile. In 1921, Beaton expanded the hotel, building a $40,000 annex that increased its size to 80 rooms, as it appears in this photograph. Unfortunately, Beaton died just a year later. Hotelier Conrad Hilton bought the Beaton Hotel in 1923, making it the fifth property in his nascent empire. The business changed hands at least once more before being torn down in 1971. Corsicana Cleaners & Laundry Service now occupies the space where the Beaton once stood.

From the January 2022 issue
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