We purchased our building at 925 Main Street, Bastrop, Texas on February 6,2015. The building had been empty for 6 years and was badly in need of some tender loving care.
Our building is not on the Register of Historic Places in Texas, but the site and brick walls are definitely historic. We were able to trace the deed records back to 1851 when Mr. Constant K. Hall, a merchant, sold the property to Charles Wood in 1851. Charles Wood must have partnered with J. M. Royston, and the two of them sold the property to Moses M. Dimon in 1857. Dimon opened a Dry Goods and Grocery store in a wood frame building on the site. A fire destroyed most of downtown Bastrop in 1861 and the building was destroyed in the fire. Dimon must have decided to cut his losses and sold the lot to Louis Phelps after the fire, although we were not able to find that deed. Louis Phelps then sold to J.C. Higgins in 1868. J.C. Higgins partnered with C. B. Garwood and operated a mercantile store at this location. The only photo we could locate from the late 1800s shows that the new building built after the fire was brick and had a fancy brick façade with the name J.C. Higgins visible on the front. We have been told it was Higgins who had the new building constructed of brick to comply with the ordinance passed by the city that all buildings would be constructed of brick because of the previous fires in the downtown area.
Carrie C. Higgins, second wife of J.C. Higgins, inherited the property after her husband’s death in 1895. Her daughters, Lielah T. Holland and Mary Fairbanks McCall inherited the property when Carrie passed away in 1907. The executor of the will sold the property on their behalf to T.A. Hasler in July of 1908.
T. A. Hasler sold the property to L.W. Olive in September of 1908. L.W. Olive opened a Dry Goods Store called Olive & Son at this location and ran it for about 30 years. Olive’s heirs, Sidney C. Olive and his wife Ella Belle Olive, sold the building to Judge Jack Griesenbeck in 1973. Judge Griesenbeck also owned the building next door at 927 Main Street and ran Griesenbeck’s Furniture Store and the two buildings shared a common wall. A doorway was cut into the shared wall to join the two buildings and Jack used our building to store furniture and mattresses. Judge Greisenbeck sold the property to Mary Ogden Shultz in 1993. Mary Odgen Shultz converted the building to a private residence that she shared with Joann Schaefer. Both women passed away in 2009, and Mary left her half of the property to her friend Violet John, and Joann Schaefer left her half to Patricia Goertz. We do not have knowledge of the full story, but were told that there was a communication problem between Violet and Patricia, which led to the property sitting vacant for 6 years before they were able to agree to sell it. Many other people tried to purchase the property, but were not successful. We are thankful that we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
By searching through old copies of The Bastrop Advertiser newspaper we were able to find ads that showed that the building was home to many business over the years. It was Dimon Dry Goods and Grocery, Higgins & Garwood Mercantile, Olive & Son Fancy Dry Goods, Griesenbeck’s Furniture, Dora’ Dress Shop, Kragh’s Jewelry, and Bastrop Meat Market to name a few.
When we purchased the building in 2015 we owned and operated Relics Jewelry & Gifts and had been renting a small building at 601 Chestnut Street from 2014 to 2015. We needed a location with better foot traffic and decided to look for a building on Main Street to purchase instead of renting. Our search led us to look at a few available properties and ultimately to purchase this wonderful piece of Texas history.