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Sheldon Hotel Remodeling
El Paso, Texas

Description: Sheldon Hotel remodeling
Other Names: none
Address: Mills Avenue, North Oregon Street and Sheldon Court
Type: hotel
Original Client:
Historic Inventory: none
Date: 1909 – 1910
Condition: destroyed by fire, April 9, 1929

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Dimensions and Orientation:
Budget/Cost: $40,000 – $5o,000

Wall Materials: red pressed brick; terra cotta; wood
Roofing Materials:
Other Materials Used:
Remodeling and Additions: lobby tile throughout and rathskeller in basement

Location of Drawings: none known to exist
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Aultman A8052, aerial view of a portion of downtown El Paso, including west facade and light well of the Sheldon Hotel

Bibliography: (1) Washington  the Face of Sheldon Hotel, El Paso Herald, September 15, 1910, page 2 (report on scrubbing the red pressed brick and terra cotta of the outside wall and a report that the woodwork of the building is being painted white)
(2) El Paso Evening Post, November 5, 1930, page 6. An article on Trost & Trost states, When the Sheldon, originally an office building, which stood on the present site of the Hilton hotel, was transformed into a hotel, the remodeling plans were drawn by Trost & Trost.
(3) The exterior of the Sheldon Hotel is illustrated in: El Paso Chamber of Commerce, The Story of a City, 1883-1910 (El Paso: Chamber of Commerce, [1910]), unpaged; and in idem, Prosperity and Opportunities in El Paso and El Paso’s Territory the 1911 Report of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce (El Paso: Chamber of Commerce, 1911), page 53
(4) Cleofas Calleros, El Paso…Then and Now, (El Paso: American Printing Company, 1954), Volume VII, page [76]: brief history of the building, and exterior photograph; page [123]: detail of facade
(5) Frank Mangan, El Paso in Pictures (El Paso: The Press, 1971), page 75 (photograph of exterior)
(6) El Paso Herald December 1, 1909 speaks of the remodeling of the Sheldon Hotel.
(7) El Paso Herald November 24, 1909 Denver Man Wants to Lease the Sheldon Hotel. Page 1
(8) El Paso Evening Post Aug 28, 1929 page 1 ‘Hotel Sheldon, Landmark for 40 Years Comes Down’
(9) El Paso Herald February 19,1910 page 9 ‘$100,000 To Be Spent on Plans’
(10)El Paso Herald September 23, 1899 “Description “hotel Sheldon”

Remarks: The site was used for the Plaza Motor Hotel (originally the Hilton Hotel) Before its construction, the Hilton Hotel was known as the New Sheldon Hotel.

The Sheldon was built in 1888. A four story office building at it’s completion was occupied by doctors, lawyers and dentists. Over the years not all four stories could be occupied. Some of the offices were rented out to and converted into housekeeping rooms. You could see pipes from cookstoves stuck out the windows of the building. There was also gossip about young women of ill repute occupying the rooms. The building fell into disgrace.

In 1899, Dr. Sheldon owner of the building decided to remodel it into a first class modern hotel. The architect for the project was Walter Parfitt from Brooklyn, New York. During the remodeling an additional wooden fifth story was added. Total remodeling cost was $35,000. The Sheldon company owners were composed of Charles DeGroff, Burt Orndoff and Bradford Hardie. There was to be $100,000 to be spent on the rebuilding and refurnishing the building.

Then in 1900, John Fisher (of Hotel Pierson) lease the Sheldon building. Fisher remodeled the offices into hotel rooms. The hotel was a success. President Taft was a guest there when he came to El Paso to meet President Diaz of Mexico.

In 1910, the Sheldon Hotel was sold to the Sheldon Company. The owners composed of Charles DeGroff, Burt Orndorff and Bradford Hardie. The group planned to remodel the hotel building at a cost of $100,000. They hired the firm of Trost & Trost.

The exterior of the building was to remain the same and the main entrance would be moved onto Pioneer Plaza. (originally on St. Louis Street)  The main lobby had a marble entrance. The marble that was used was the finest Vermont marble obtainable at the time. The floors of the lobby, the main and two auxiliary entrances were tiled. A marble wainscoting went 4.5 inches high on the lobby walls. Then the lobby was extended back to make a bigger area and opened into the stores

The main dining room was in the basement of the building. There was three stairways and an elevator from the first floor lobby. There were two smaller private dining rooms off to the side of the main dining room. Also a men’s cafe was conveniently located in the basement. At the completion of the dining rooms and the cafe, there was complete electric power and lighting plant installed the basement, an electric vacuum cleaning system, a Turkish bathroom and barber shop with manicure parlor in the connection.
The hydraulic elevator were replaced with a fast running electric elevators for both freight and guests. The second floor was remodeled from front to rear. New sanitary plumbing system and additional 25 baths were added on the different floors. Mr. and Mrs. DeGroff purchased $50,000 worth of furniture for the hotel from stores on the east coast.

The hotel was sold in 1920, to Albert Mathias for the sum of $500,000. On April 9, 1929, the hotel was destroyed by fire which originated in the upper part of the fifth wooden story.
After the fire insurance claims on the building were settled, Mr. Mathias ignored the request by city council to have the remaining building demolished. In July of 1929, an emergency ordinance was published. The ordinance gave the city council the power to condemn a building and order it destroyed and a lien against the land for payment of demolition.

In September the hotel was torn down and the following month the Hilton Corporation purchased the land to build a hotel.



Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990