Finkelsteins, along with their four children, started the business, around 1904,
in a three-story brick building that had once been owned by the Masonic Lodge.
According to the paper, it was located on land where the Texaco station stood
In 1909, the Finkelsteins built the structure that would become
Fink’s Hotel and go down in history as one of the most admired establishments
in the city. No doubt this was due to the kindness of its owners.
said that the Finkelstein family had a deep faith in God and believed in sharing
all they had with others, rich and poor alike. The tastes of the hotel’s customers
ranged from beans and biscuits to caviar and champagne. And evidently the menu
was such that guests, no matter what their status in life, could come away satisfied
with the cuisine.
Fink’s Hotel was known far and wide as a place where
people were never turned away, regardless of their ability to pay. In the early
days, persons on horseback or traveling in carts and covered wagons would seek
lodging at the hotel. The newspaper reported that many came via the Old Spanish
Trail seeking fortune in the deep Southwest.
Immigrants arriving at the
port in Galveston
were told about Fink’s Hotel and encouraged to seek it out if they were traveling
through the area. Old timers said that gypsies visited Hallettsville
annually in those days. They camped on the outskirts of town. Often times they
remained an entire season and would do their peddling and begging from the back
door of Fink’s Hotel.
The establishment was a favorite of tramps and they
would leave messages on gate posts for other hobos – informing them that “Dad
and Mother Fink” would always give them food and shelter on those cold, dreary
During the depression in 1933, Fink’s Hotel struggled like all
the rest but they survived. While many small businesses went under, the Finkelsteins
continued on while feeding more unfortunates, free of charge, at the backdoor.
to the paper, both Mr. and Mrs. Finkelstein passed away in 1938, leaving the hotel
to their four children – three of them stayed on and managed the business.
1940, a dreadful flood hit the town and while many establishments were submerged
in six feet of water, Fink’s Hotel personnel gave free coffee to anyone who cared
to be served. The hotel became headquarters for the American Red Cross during
that terrible time.
Difficult days came upon the aged hotel in 1945; business
was at its lowest and the owners decided it was finally time to say good bye –
in early 1946, the doors of Fink’s Hotel were closed for good. The newspaper article
concluded: “With the removal of Fink’s Hotel there remains only cherished memories
to those who hold the old landmark a treasure house of bygone days.”
story of the Finkelstein family is typical of the character of folks back then.
In those days, people truly cared for one another. Just like the strangers who
visited Hallettsville so
long ago would find a fitting motto in Fink’s Hotel: “Where there is room in the
heart, there is room in the home.”
Star Diary February
6, 2010 Column
With A Past