The Grim Hotel rises above most buildings in downtown Texarkana, Texas, and sits right across from the Arkansas border.
Actually its a few feet away, and you’ll leave Texas in a short walk East.
The towering brick, with its broken windows now sits empty, but the history goes deep, and the stories of folks still alive tell of special events inside this hotel. On the roof, fancy dances and parties took place, with bands and music, and suits and party dresses. And yes, hundreds of homemade rolls were baked in the kitchen at the restaurant.
The bakery brought visitors in for pie and coffee, and some stories tell of gambling and poker in corner rooms, and in secrets spots. Even famous people stayed in the rooms, , and a few criminals wandered by too, like Bonnie and Clyde.
In my novel, “Untied Shoelace”, this landmark brings my characters inside for a birthday supper. Grandma Elsie, Priscilla, and her son, Taddy, and our hobo girl, Shoelace. Now the book takes place in 1946, and back then you could see Union Station. Now there’s a big jail blocking your view. But in the book the towering building rose to the sky in clear view.
In the pages of the novel, Tin Can Mahlee, another hobo meets up with Shoelace after leaving her on her grandma’s porch. Shoelace is a hobo girl, and she runs down the sidewalk to the only mom she’s known who doesn’t want her anymore.
And their conversation leans toward distrust and with Shoelace trying to persuade Tin Can Mahlee to keep her, and their emotions rumble like a train coming into the station.
I loved including the Grim Hotel and painted a picture of how the lobby appeared back in those days.
But a secret lurks behind the bakery counter, and a murderer stands in the shadows outside, and life begins to look grim for the residents in Texarkana when a serial killer shocks everyone. (This is still a cold case even today in 2017, the Phantom Killer.)
In 1946, people will nail their windows shut. Doors will be locked for the first time. Pots and pans will be draped with string in the bushes, just in case someone comes in the yard. Guns will be loaded, and the Texarkana will run out of bullets, on the Texas side and the Arkansas side. No one will drive to lover’s lane again. No one will walk after dark. No one will feel safe for months to come.
And Shoelace (in the book) will have more than one encounter with this killer, and she WILL see his eyes!! Eyes that will haunt her and cause nightmares for this little ten year old, girl!
Get Your COPY of “Untied Shoelace” and go inside the Grim Hotel with the locals, the wanderers, and the scoundrels.