Blackstone Hotel, Carlton Hotel and Early Motels in Tyler Texas
Postcards represent yet another media, in addition to text, stories and photographs, that enables us to visualize, and remember, the past.
Knowing the value that such cards possess in documenting the past of Tyler and East Texas, we have assembled a small collection of historic postcards, and present them on this website.
Thus, this section attempts to build a more complete collection depicting the architecture of Tyler and East Texas during the first 50-60 years of the 20th Century. It is hoped that its availability will provide another media contributing to the enjoyment and edification of those of you with East Texas connections.
The Blackstone Hotel in Downtown Tyler
The 5-story Blackstone Hotel was constructed at a cost of $500,000, and opened in downtown Tyler at the corner of Broadway Avenue and East Locust Street on November 29, 1922.
A 9-story addition was completed in the 1930s, providing 64 additional rooms. Air conditioning was also added.
Original configuration of the 5-story Blackstone Hotel
Blackstone Hotel showing the addition of the 9-story tower
In 1955 the hotel was renovated and enlarged again, adding an east wing of 30 rooms and a parking garage. The outside facade was changed to include New Orleans-style wrought-iron features (see postcard below).
Hotel Blackstone after the 1955 renovation with New Orleans-style iron works
The hotel was closed on December 31, 1975, and imploded in October of 1985
(watch a YouTube video of the Hotel Blackstone implosion)
Matchbook Covers from The Blackstone Hotel
"Tyler's Finest Food & Service"
"Famous for Good Food"
"Air Conditioned Rooms"
"Dining Room & Coffee Shop"
Phone LY 2-6511
Earlier aerial view of downtown Tyler, showing the location of The Blackstone Hotel and Blackstone Office Building
The Blackstone Office Building
South Broadway entrance to the Blackstone Office Building, circa 2011
In 1938, construction began on the 6-story Blackstone Office Building to the north of the hotel, at a cost of $100,000. It was built in response to state and local demands for more office space as the oil boom brought new business to Tyler. Construction was completed in 1939, and replaced a large 19th century residence still in use as a boarding house in the mid-1930s.
The building was a free-standing structure, not attached to the hotel. It featured a distinctive tower on the southwest corner of the building. It was one of the first office buildings, if not the first, in Tyler to be air conditioned.
Designed by Fort Worth architect Preston M. Geren, the Art Deco-style building housed offices for oil companies, geologists, entrepreneurs, attorneys, engineers, and other businesses.
The building was also the location of the Tyler Union Bus Terminal from the late 1930s to the 1950s. With Tyler's bus station on the first floor throughout World War II, the Blackstone Building was a busy place, with thousands of military personnel accessing nearby Camp Fannin. The bus terminal facilities on the first floor were remodeled into offices during the 1960s.
Interior office spaces on floors two through six were rehabilitated in 1998 for office use, with original interior doors, perimeter wall surfaces and elevators retained. During the 1998 rehabilitation the first floor was changed into a lobby area with reception and meeting rooms and finished with Art Deco influenced stone, tile and metal detailing.
A small one-story addition at the rear of the building contains offices and The Genecov Meeting Room. It was erected about 1965 and enclosed the original bus passenger loading area.
Present-day view of the Blackstone Office Building, Line Street Entrance, with The Genecov Meeting Room to the left
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
The Blackstone Office Building is still occupied and in use today, by the Tyler Chamber of Commerce, Tyler Economic Development Council, GroupM7, and other tenants, at 315 North Broadway Avenue.
Blackstone Office Building, 315 N. Broadway Avenue, with the Blackstone Hotel to the south
The Carlton Hotel in Downtown Tyler
The former Carlton Hotel, Tyler Texas, 2011
The 16-story Carlton Hotel opened in downtown Tyler at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Elm Street on November 20, 1954. Built at a cost of $1.8 million, the Carlton was a 200-room, full-service hotel that hosted functions including banquets and school proms.
The hotel's amenities included a coffee shop which seated 120 people, a ballroom, meeting halls, a main dining room and three private dining rooms. The 115,000-square-foot structure also featured a three-story, 126-space parking garage, as well as a rooftop swimming pool and cabana that were added in 1955.
A glitzy opening featured a floor show featuring film star Gloria de Haven and bandleader Joe Reichman. A crowd of about 4,000 persons visited the Carlton during its opening weekend.
The Carlton Hotel closed on November 18, 1971 after serving Tyler residents and visitors for 17 years. It housed Smith County offices beginning in 1977, but is currently abandoned.
It was announced in October of 2021 that a new project is being launched to restore the Carlton. The project will be a joint effort by Tyler-based Fitzpatrick Architects and NORF Companies of New Orleans. The restored structure will feature mixed-use, multi-family housing with more than 100 residential units. It will also have commercial space, a rooftop pool, and a cabana.
Carlton Hotel entrance, Tyler Texas, 1955
Former Carlton Hotel entrance
Hotel Carlton ... "Swimming Pool in The Sky"
The Plaza Hotel
The National Hotel
The National Hotel, located at 212 East Ferguson Street, was built in the latter part of 1889 (photo to the right).
About 1915 it was renamed the Hotel Tyler, and later the Milner Hotel. It was closed in the mid-1950s, and was demolished soon afterwards.
St. Charles Hotel
The St. Charles was located on the corner of East Oakwood Street and North Spring Avenue, across from the Cotton Belt Depot. It closed in the late 1940s, and was demolished in the 1970s.
As Tyler grew and expanded, stays at downtown hotels started to decline. The Carlton Hotel closed in 1971, and The Blackstone Hotel in 1975 along with The Plaza Hotel.
A new lodging model was emerging: Motor Courts, Motor Hotels, or "Motels". More people had automobiles, and wanted the flexibility to park near their lodging. In Tyler, Alamo Plaza opened in the 1800 Block of W. Erwin Street, along with others around town, like these ...
The Alto Motel
Alto Motel, Dallas Highway 64, west of Tyler near the airport. Opened in 1952, closed in 1964.
The Kingsway Inn
|The Kingsway Inn, one block south of Loop 323 on U.S. Highway 69, Tyler, Texas. Phone LY 3-0103.
Swimming pool, TV in every room, meeting rooms available up to 100. Adjacent was the Round Table Restaurant.
"Where food and lodging are fit for a King"
The Dixie Motel
Dixie Motel, on Highways 155 and 271 North, at 1812 East Gentry Parkway in Tyler. Owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. C.V. Gordon
More Tyler Vintage Postcards