the Antlers Hotel in Kingsland
threw open its doors in 1901, the resort featured gas lights, running
water, telephones and every other modern convenience, except electricity,
which, like flush toilets and automobiles, the builders considered
a passing fad.
The idea for the Antlers began in the 1890s when the Austin and Northwestern
Railway extended its line from Burnet
Along that line the company built a depot in the small town of Kingsland
at the confluence of the Colorado and Llano
Railroad employees and train travelers soon learned what locals had
always known. There was a rugged natural beauty unique to this part
of the Hill Country.
Humans had been drawn to this place, where 2 great rivers come together,
since prehistoric times.
A part of the magic of the Llano
country is the sharp contrast between the harsh landscape and
the sparkling waters of the Colorado and its tributaries. The reflection
of boulder-strewn hills in the shimmering pools of the Llano has mesmerized
travelers for centuries.
To take advantage of the beauty and the mystery of Kingsland, the
railroad built a hotel across the street from the depot. The builders
named the hotel after the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado,
completed just a few years earlier.
Antlers in Kingsland
had 11 guest rooms, kitchen, dining room, game room, bar and bath.
During the busy season capacity could be stretched by putting cots
and hammocks on the veranda.
Built in the Victorian style, The Antlers is a two-story wooden building,
symmetrical in front, with massive covered porches as wide as a highway.
The building is oriented to capture the breeze on warm summer days.
It has 12 foot ceilings and in the days before air-conditioning used
a system of doors, windows and transom windows to move the inside
Captain A. N. Leitnaker, president of the Austin and Northwestern
Railway, described the Antlers as "a two-story hotel or outing lodge,
with a frontage of 100 feet, surrounded by broad verandas, lawns,
flowers, trees and fountains affording an uninterrupted view of the
Llano country scenery."
"We also have a pretty lake, 5 miles in length. This artificial lake
is formed by a lock thrown across the Colorado. The fishing above
and below is fast and exciting."
|"A special feature
is Riverside Park which fronts on the lake. The park is connected
to The Antlers by telephone for the convenience of campers who may
not establish a commissary so that they may order meals or lunches
at any time having them sent to the park or in readiness when they
reach the hotel." The Antlers was doing takeout before takeout was
| The hotel soon
was a favorite of cattlemen and a regular stop for drummers (salesmen
who got the attention of buyers by literally beating on drums). To
encourage tourists, and to drum up business for the hotel, the railroad
ran special excursion trains from Austin
And the railroad made it easy. A roundtrip ticket cost $1.50.
Business was brisk, in the beginning, until the automobile began eroding
train travel. By 1920 the occupancy rate at The Antlers dropped significantly.
Then in 1922 a fire ravaged Kingsland.
The depot across the street burned to the ground. While The Antlers
Hotel survived, it never again regained the level of popularity it
once had. Lonely rooms and the great verandas sat vacant for weeks
at a time.
In 1923 the Barrow family Of Austin
bought The Antlers and used it, off and on for the next 70 years,
as a private family retreat. It was a boarding house for a time in
the 1950s. Boarders could rent a "warmly heated room" for $6 a week.
Then in 1993 new owners bought the tired old hotel, and after a 3-year
facelift, The Antlers threw open its doors again. Today travelers
looking for a quiet place to take in some of the finest scenery the
Hill Country has
to offer can rent a room at The Antlers in Kingsland, electricity
and flush toilets included.
| © Michael
15, 2021 Column
"Antlers Hotel Is Kingsland Resort," Llano News, May 31, 1962
"Antlers Hotel Has Been Opened," Llano News, June 2, 1914.
History of the Antlers Hotel Kingsland, Texas. Available at the hotel.