Holder's Hideaways: Stonewall Saloon

St. Jo, TX (KAUZ) - Today if you drive around the town square in St. Jo, you'll be greeted by cars and small shops. But back in the days when St. Jo still had an "e" at the end and North Texas was known more as the Wild West, you'd get a different greeting.

"The cowboys had to have a chance to go to town to pick up some supplies and maybe to let off a little steam," said Dick Cain, Stonewall Saloon Museum Board of Directors.

The Stonewall Saloon was the first permanent structure in St. Jo.

"The saloon began to serve the cowboys on the Chisholm Trail. They had to hold their cattle up sometimes whether it was because of a flood, too many cows or whatever to go across the Red River. They were held in this area because their was good grass and good water," said Cain.

The saloon was constructed in 1849 and soon St. Jo filled in around it.

But by the 1920's, the saloon hit a roadblock it couldn't get around.


Over the next few decades, the saloon became a bank, a doctor's office, even an office for an oil company.

But as times continued to change, the building that once housed the popular saloon experienced even more ups and downs.

"The building fell into disarray and in the mid-50s, H.D. Field put the building back together and made it a museum. So it ran that way for a few years and then it fell back into disrepair," said Cain.

Today the building is in better shape than ever as locals in the community decided to restore the saloon to what it once was.

"We had to redo the walls, we had to redo the roof of course, and we had to redo the floor so it was a pretty good project to put it back together."

Starting in 2011, the renovations will wrap up by the end of the year according to Cain.

The museum sports many pictures and artifacts that showcase life back in the saloon's prime.

If you notice, there is a couple splotches on the mirror. Those are actual bullet holes. You realize they didn't have as much power back then and that mirror is very, very thick."

While the saloon doesn't have a liquor license due to being a museum, Cain says they like to keep the tradition alive by hosting poker nights where they allow visitors to bring their own alcohol.

The museum hosts around 2500 to 2800 visitors a year.

Cain says that shows people still have an interest in the rural areas of America.

"People want to connect with history, living in the city you don't get a lot of that these days. They want to come back and take a look at it and they're very appreciative of our ability to show what went on through photographs through artifacts," said Cain.