Star Hotel-Lester House
In November 1881, E.N. Waldrep who had a store facing the railroad, erected a hotel immediately east of his store on the corner of LaSalle and Texas Avenue where Comanche County Tractor is today.
An ad in the August 16, 1884 De Leon Examiner announced that the hotel had recently changed hands and was under new management and had been thoroughly renovated and refurbished. The proprietor was Mrs. S.E. Waldrep.
The hotel burned around 1890 and was rebuilt on that same site. Both apparently operated as the Star Hotel. The second Star Hotel was still in operation in May 1900 as reflected in a Sanborn-Perrin Map Co. insurance map. That building is believed to have burned later that same year and was replaced by the Pittman Hotel in 1901.
Waldrep is believed to have left De Leon for Gorman following the first fire. The ownership succession of the second hotel is not clear but it is believed that Mr. and Mrs. Richard Kee operated the second Star Hotel for a period and were later followed by Alonzo L. D’Spain, a founding member and minister of the First Christian Church and publisher of The Watchman. D’Spain advertised in the Fort Worth Daily Gazette in the classifieds under Hotels from at least April 3, 1895 until February 1896.
Apparently following the second fire, the owner of the Star acquired the former home of J.I. Campbell and reopened the Star Hotel in that residence on the southwest corner of Reynosa and Austin. One of the subsequent operators of the hotel was “Jot” Miller who left De Leon around 1911 for Oklahoma. He returned to De Leon for a visit in March 1940 indicating it was his first time back in 28 years.
On January 29, 1912 Mrs. A.L. Lester took over the hotel operating it for several years as the Star Hotel and later changing the name to the Lester House although it was usually referred to as the Lester Hotel. Fifteen years later, on Monday July 11, 1927 workers began demolishing the Star Hotel building. It was replaced with a new 27 room brick structure which ultimately operated as the Anthony Hotel. The Anthony closed in the 1960s.
Although a part of the right side of the above photograph was cropped in the early day printing, the original negative shows that the room rates were $1.00.
(There are various spellings in written references for Waldrop including Waldrup, and Waldrip. One source says that the first hotel was opened by W.P. Ferguson on the lot now occupied by the Wall of Recall. That does not appear to be correct since Boliver Higgingbotham opened a store there in 1882.)