Built in 1928
120 S. Main St
Original Use: Hotel
Today: Hotel with restaurant and bar on the ground floor.
In 1927 R.W. Howell decided to purchase the property and turn it into the largest hotel in the city. Austin architect George Louis Walling designed the new building with classical details and distinctly vertical emphasis. When the LaSalle Hotel opened its doors in 1929, Bryan was a bustling railroad stop between Houston and Dallas, and train travelers frequently stayed at the LaSalle. At its opening in 1929, the seven-story LaSalle Hotel was the tallest building in Bryan with one hundred guest rooms, a ballroom and meeting space. The first floor of the building housed a coffee shop, ballroom, gallery, beauty parlor, dining room and two small businesses that faced Main Street. J.C. Jacques bought the property in 1959 and converted it to a nursing home. The home was open until 1975 and then became a resident hotel with small apartments until it closed in 1980. In the late 1990s a private developer, with city backing, began renovations: the hotel reopened in 2000 and the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today the LaSalle Hotel operates as a boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and a speakeasy bar in the basement.
Built in 1911
211-215 S. Main St.
Original Use: Hotel
Today: Professional services businesses on ground floor. Vacant on upper floors.
Along with the LaSalle Hotel, R.W. Howell was responsible for the construction of Hotel Bryan which was built in 1911. The unusual design incorporated a trapezoidal atrium with the real wall not parallel to the front wall. The hotel was well located at the time of opening as the H&TC passenger train station was located just behind the building. Today, Hotel Bryan houses commercial business on the ground floor including a barber shop and a live music cafe on the back of the building and is currently vacant on the upper floors.
Built in 1911
201 S. Main St.
Original Use: Hardware Store
Today: Bookshop and restaurant on ground floor. Loft apartments on upper floors.
The building was built in 1911 by J. Allen Myers, originally housing Myers Hardware, a 3-story building and general supply store with an electric elevator to move supplies and wagons between floors. Constructed entirely out of poured in place concrete and steel, at a cost of $13,440, it was billed at the time as Bryan’s first “fire-proof” building. In 1939, Charles Myers converted the building into the 40-room Charles Hotel. Major renovations at the time included adding windows to each hotel room and the Art-Deco facade. It remained a hotel and boarding house until the 1980’s when it fell into disrepair. In 2004 the building was renovated into loft apartments. Today, the Charles Hotel has loft apartments on the upper floors and a bookshop and restaurant on the ground floor.
Built in 1906
200 S. Main St.
Original Use: Wholesale Grocery Store and Cotton Exchange
Today: Restaurant on ground floor and event venue on upper floors.
J.W. Howell constructed this building in 1906 as the Howell Wholesale Grocers building. The first floor housed the grocery business and the second and third floors contained professional offices and the Brazos Cotton Exchange. The upper floors were closed to the public in the early 1960s, preserving them intact in their original state. In the early 1980s the building sat vacant until 2006 when a local developer purchased the building and restored the second and third floor office suites, adding an elevator and air conditioning. Today, Papa Perez Mexican Cuisine occupies the ground floor and the original Brazos Cotton Exchange is now an event venue.
Carnegie History Center
Built in 1902
111 S. Main St.
Original Use: Public Library
Today: Public Library and Genealogy Center.
Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie firmly believed in self-education for everyone and that libraries helped those who helped themselves. He would provide funds for the construction of libraries if a city would provide a suitable site and agree to provide money equal to at least one tenth of the construction grant annually in order to maintain the library and purchase books. Bryan, Texas was among the early cities that took advantage of his offer. In 1902, Bryan was fortunate enough to have among its citizens several intrepid ladies who found their city to be, to say the least, uncivilized. These ladies founded the "Mutual Improvement Club," and set out to improve their home town. In 1902, Mutual Improvement Club leaders Mrs. Rose Fountain Howell and Mrs. George M. Brand encouraged member Miss Lillie Wilson to contact her brother-in-law, Thomas W. Stewart. Mr. Stewart had been introduced to Mr. Carnegie by his father, and Miss Wilson asked Mr. Stewart to write Mr. Carnegie on Bryan's behalf. Mr. Stewart wrote Mr. Carnegie on 24 January and 17 February 1902. On 8 April 1902, Mr. Carnegie's secretary, Mr. James Bertram, replied in the affirmative. The City fathers of Bryan sent a telegram to Mr. Carnegie that same night informing him that on 5 March 1902 the newly elected City Council had set aside a site for the library and voted assurance of $1,000 yearly for upkeep. The building was opened to the public in December of 1903. The Carnegie was restored at a cost of over ten times the $10,000 construction cost, and would not have been possible without a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation and generous gifts from many individuals and from groups like the Woman's Club (originally the Mutual Improvement Club), and the Friends of the Bryan + College Station Public Library. Restoration was completed in July of 1999, and the rededication was held on 10 July 1999. The Carnegie History Center houses many local history collections that cover not only the local area, but also adjoining counties. The staff is constantly searching for local history and local photographs of this area throughout its history. Among the showpieces on the first floor are the Ana Ludmilla Gee Ballet Collection, Harvey Mitchell's verneir compass and sketch for the original site of the City of Bryan, and a miniature replica of the "Blue" or "Steamboat House," an early Calvert home destroyed by fire. Other important collections are city directories and telephone books, rare adult and children's books. The second floor is dedicated to genealogical research, with materials emphasizing ethnic and areas from which many immigrants came to this area.
Built in 1910
107 S. Main St.
Original Use: Masonic Lodge
Today: Masonic Lodge and barber on ground floor.
The Brazos Union Masonic Lodge No. 129 has been at its current location in Downtown Bryan since 1910. Operating as a Masonic Lodge since it opened over 100 years ago, it is one of the many historical charms in Downtown Bryan. Learn more about the Brazos Union Lodge history: https://www.brazosunion.com/about/history/. A Mason is a member of the oldest and largest goodwill fraternity in the world, known as Masonry or Freemasonry. Masonry teaches that each man has a duty to make life better, not just for himself, but for everyone. Whether that means helping to clean up the environment, volunteering on civic projects, or helping a child learn how to read – Masons make a difference every day.
The Queen Theatre
Built in 1885
110 S. Main St.
Original Use: Hotel
Today: Single screen movie theater
A movie theatre has been at this location since 1913 and named “The Queen” since 1914. It was originally located in the three-story Exchange Hotel built here in 1885 (originally opened as the Stoddard Hotel in 1885, then was sold and changed to the Exchange Hotel in 1889).The Schulman Family purchased the theatre business in 1926 and the building in 1938. It was replaced by a modern structure with steel framework, air conditioning and indirect lighting designed by Pettigrew and Worley of Dallas. The tall, white facade was topped with a revolving, neon-lit crown. It reopened on November 21, 1939 and continued for over 30 years as a single screen movie theater. Vacant and in disrepair, the building was purchased by the Downtown Bryan Association in 2010 and restoration began. A community wide effort took place over 8 years and the Queen was finally restored and reopened May 4, 2018. With state of the art audio and visual equipment then Queen Theatre shows classic movies and is available for rent for special events.