list of famous people who stayed at the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg
has long been a topic of lively beer hall debate. After participating
in quite a few of these seminars myself I have come to the conclusion
that some famous and near famous people really stayed at the Nimitz,
some may have stayed there and some rumored to have stayed there
Verification of the true Nimitz guest list is difficult and in some
cases impossible. In the early years the hotel kept no permanent
records. The old hotel register dates only from the 1870s.
Even then the list of names is problematic. Some handwriting is
not easy to read.
Hotels back then weren't as "ID" conscious as they are today. A
guest could sign any name he wanted, and no one questioned it.
A reporter who perused the old hotel register wrote that it was
"crammed with signatures of folk from far and near, of notables
from civic and private life, of generals who fought in great wars
and of ranchers and stage drivers and others who entered the portals
of the stately Nimitz Hotel at the crossroads in Fredericksburg."
| Nimitz Hotel
courtesy Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio
ran the gamut from elegant cursive to chicken scratching. One reporter
wrote of the Nimitz register, "There are bold signatures, and delicate
ones, scrawls and Spencerian flourishes."
It appears that Col. Robert E. Lee stayed at the Nimitz as he made
the rounds of Texas frontier forts
including Fort Martin
Scott and Fort Mason.
A San Antonio Light reporter wrote of seeing the signature
of General Phil Sheridan, "signed boldly and authentic beyond the
shadow of a doubt." The general checked in on May 31, 1875, while
on an inspection tour.
Another signature believed to be authentic is Rutherford B. Hayes.
The congressman and former Union general reportedly stayed at the
Nimitz on June 30, 1875. Sixteen months later Rutherford B. Hayes
would be elected the 19th President of the United States.
Others rumored to have stayed at the Nimitz include James Longstreet,
Fitzhugh Lee and Edmond Kirby Smith. All 3 men would become Confederate
The Victoria Advocate insisted that Horace Greely once stayed
at the Nimitz - going west no doubt.
The artist Elisabet
Ney very likely stayed at the Nimitz. Contemporary newspaper
reports indicate she checked into the hotel in 1906 to see the headstone
she carved for Emma Schnerr
at City Cemetery.
The outlaw Johnny Ringo traveled through Fredericksburg,
coming and going, and could have stayed at the Nimitz. Same for
the outlaw Scott Cooley.
The Kerrville Daily Times stated that Jesse James registered
at the Nimitz on June 15, 1875 using the alias "C. H. Howard."
Not sure about that one.
On the subject of outlaws, the San Antonio Light reported
that on March 18, 1879, Little John Straus of the Missouri State
Penitentiary checked into the Nimitz for a brief stay.
Next to the entry in the register someone added "Had bracelets on.
Escaped. $20,000 Reward."
In addition to the names and aliases of guests, the register often
indicated their mode of travel. On November 6, 1873 "Moses K. Kossborough
and horse" registered at the Nimitz. The next day "Chas. Christophel,
San Antonio with 4 horses" checked in.
On October 23, 1873 "W. O. Hutchinson, boss of the El Paso Mail
Line, 6 employees and horses" stayed at the Nimitz.
Some entries in the Nimitz register were never meant to be taken
On December 24, 1876 "Gen. A. O. Cooley, Eureka; Major C. C. Callan,
Dictator of America and Ulysses S. Grant" scrawled their monikers
across the page of the Nimitz register.
According to the Fredericksburg Standard, the general, the
dictator and the president were full of Christmas cheer and "were
well on their way to a jolly evening by the time they affixed their
The short story writer William Sydney Porter, aka O. Henry, reportedly
sat around the bar in the Nimitz Hotel for days drinking beer and
"absorbing the colloquialisms and atmosphere." His stay at the Nimitz
may have inspired his story "The Chaparral Prince."
Wish I could have been there for that one.
November 1, 2019 Column
"Nimitz Museum was home to famous as a hotel," Kerrville
Daily Times, January 9, 1991.
"The Hill Country Admiral," Harper Herald, August 14, 1942.
"Historic Hotel in Bad Shape," Victoria Advocate, January
"A Hotel With A History," San Antonio Light, November 6,
"Names, Names, Names, Here's The Book That's Full Of Them," Fredericksburg
Standard, September 24, 1936.