Little Rock Inn
In the early 1930's, across
from the grammar school on Nacogdoches
Street stood the Napier Hotel. Next to this hotel was a small building
known as the "Little Rock Inn." It exists now only in memory, but was
a special place for the 30's and 40's generation that attended the two story
grammar school. Built in native stone; it couldn't have been more than
15 feet wide and 18 feet deep. A small bench sat in front, where you
would see children enjoying the treats purchase in the Inn.
Mr. Eli Napier had it built and operated it along with the Napier Hotel. Inside on the left was an ice cream box holding such wonders as Fudgesickles, Popsickles, Double Dip Cones and best of all frozen candy bars and frozen cokes. With a purchase Mr. Napier would had you a long coil of wire to jog up the ice. You stood there while the "Coke" spewed out on your hands to be licked off. All items were 5 cents. In the back stood the stove with a pot of chili and another pot of made up hamburgers - again 5 cents each. Change was made from Mrs. Sanford's apron pocket; she'd hold the hamburger till you paid, drop the coin into her pocket and hold out another burger for the next child. When you asked, she would dip up a bowl of chili and and hand you a napkin wrapped pack of four crackers. Eating was a quick matter at the little counter or outside in the shade, but nothing ever tasted better.
To the right an ice box and three shelves, the length of the store with penny candy galore, and to one side, the more sophisticated 5 cent bars and unimportant things like pencils and paper. Mr. Napier kept count as you selected: "That's one, that's two." dropping them into a small sack. If you wanted more than 5 cents worth, he'd ask to see your money, since most of us had a nickel or less. Very small children had to lay their money on the counter before the transaction began. What a thrill to walk away feeling the knobby package while your friend who'd already eaten his or her candy looked on. "Give me some of yours, and I'll give you some of mine tomorrow."
At the end of the counter was a metal box with a coin slot, a trigger and a viewing window. For one cent you could look at such wonderful scenes as Niagara Falls, Indian Chiefs in full dress, wild animals and tropical flowers. When you left the store, you might meet Mr. Wheeler coming over to check on things, to see that the students didn't linger too long and maybe get something himself.
The "Little Rock Inn" operated into the 1950's, but time and students brought about it close. The building was sold and was used for an office. The little place that had so many memories was torn down along with the old hotel about 1970. It is now a wonderful memory of those who experienced those days with the"Little Rock Inn."