Of all the things you might expect to find in East Texas, a midcentury modern boutique hotel is probably not one of them. And yet Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, is home to The Fredonia Hotel, a charming gem of a getaway that rolls out the welcome mat for locals and visitors alike.
Part of what makes The Fredonia Hotel so unique is its origin story. It was born a community-owned hotel, financed by the citizens of Nacogdoches who in turn got to select everything from the color of the brick to the hotel's name (four-year-old Susan McKinney proposed the winner). Hotel Fredonia opened its doors on April 1, 1955, and between 1955 and 1967 it was believed to be the most successful community-owned hotel in the nation.
Named for the Fredonia Rebellion of 1826, when Haden Edwards and a group of settlers declared Nacogdoches independent from Mexico, the new hotel boasted a "modern contemporary-styled hotel building" which was entirely air-conditioned and featured 100 rooms, conference facilities for 600, a patio, and a kidney-shaped heated pool surrounded by a semi-circle of cabana suites.
After decades of structural changes and ownership transfers, The Fredonia Hotel was purchased in 2016 by local business owners Richard and Barbara Dewitt. The couple vowed to bring the historic property back to life, and after a $18 million renovation it officially reopened on June 26, 2017.
Its modern, luxurious aesthetic also preserves several of the hotel's original features. For example, the original hotel's atrium was built around an ancient Catalpa tree, and while the tree eventually had to be cut down it's now honored with a hand-made iron tree in the current atrium.
Two restaurants, a bar, and a boutique are also onsite, making The Fredonia Hotel the town's go-to hot spot. The chic Nine Flags Bar showcases refreshing artisanal cocktails and delicious food amid a trendy atmosphere of Edison lightbulbs and sumptuous leather seats. The 1st City Café is brunch central on the weekends, while The Republic Steakhouse is a world-class dining experience that's unlike anything else offered in the piney woods region. The Shop is a purveyor of exclusive merchandise that ranges from home accessories to gifts for any occasion.
Either stop in along your Texas travels or make a special trip out to The Fredonia Hotel, where you can experience its remarkable history and bright future for yourself.