Barb’s Blast from the Past

by Barbara Machado

Two years ago, I rejoined the THLA staff to assist with the Short Course at the University of Houston. It took about five minutes to recapture the excitement and joy of being a part of such an enthusiastic group of instructors and hoteliers.

At the end of the course, I volunteered to write the history of this remarkable annual event to capture not only its continued impact and success but to take a closer look at its graduates to document their progress as hoteliers.

On my first trip to the office in Austin, I was introduced not to a basement file cabinet but to a bookshelf containing bound volumes of the Texas Hotel Review magazines dating back to its beginning in 1938. One day with that first volume made it clear that this journey was going to be much bigger than the history of Short Course!

At this point, my research now includes newspapers stretching back into the late1800s to a small group of hoteliers who would establish themselves in San Antonio first as the”Keepers” and then in 1914 as the Texas Hotel Association.

Currently, I’ve covered the first 50 years of not only the Texas Association but San Antonio’s group, the Short Course, photos and bios of over 100 hoteliers during this period and compiled a cross-reference on Texas Hotel-Review’s 12 annual magazines from 1938 through 1959. The most amazing discovery in this enormous cross-reference effort has been the magazine’s appeal across the US and Mexico.

The stories, detailed articles on specific hotels in this era” the advertisements and development of hotel groups during that period have been fascinating. THLA’s staff has offered me the opportunity to share some of these exciting old stories in upcoming Review newsletters.

I hope these trips back in time will encourage you to learn more about your hotel and your local Association’s history. 

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