A mysterious hotel in downtown Brownsville, that many see but few enter, News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez went inside and shows viewers what it looks like now and what it was like almost one hundred years ago.
“This hotel is legend,” said Eugene Fernandez, Historic Brownsville Museum Manager.
It was built during the late 1920s, and opened its doors for the first time in 1927. It was regarded as the social hub of the Brownsville Community.
“The people that were here, the stars, Hollywood celebrities of all kinds came through those doors and went into those rooms,” Fernandez said.
Howard Hughes, Joan Crawford, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart stayed at suites on the top floor of El Jardin.
“There was a buildup of los Ebanos subdivision. All of the main commercial structures in town, the banks and all of that were booming,” he said. “If you’re old enough to have been in this hotel during its heyday it was a glamorous occasion even towards the end.”
The hotel fell on hard times due to lack of patronage and closed its doors forever in the mid-1980s. It’s stood empty and deteriorated for years and lovers of history are dreaming of the day it will open again.
“It’s more important to do it for that next generation that has never seen the hotel because then if they see it come out of the ashes like a phoenix they will see a grandeur that was here and it’ll put them in awe,” he said.
In 2016, the Texas Historical Commission’s Town Square Initiative team at the request of the Brownsville Main Street Program and property owner at the time, conducted a feasibility study on the hotel, but no plans of reopening are set in stone yet.
The study showed the development cost summary for the hotel would total more than $15 million.