Clovis’ hotel business was competitive in 1910.
Newspaper archives tell us the young city created by the railroad as a place to maintain and repair steam engines had at least 16 boarding houses or hotels — though its population was just 3,200.
Photo courtesy High Plains Historical Foundation
Two of the more prominent hotels were the Reidora in the 300 block of Main Street and the Antlers, just across the street at 109 W. Grand Ave.
Hotels would send employees to the train depot with horse and buggy in hopes of recruiting visitors to their rooms for the night.
“Whoever’s cab you got in, that’s the hotel where you stayed,” said Barbara Honea of Amarillo whose late husband’s ancestors operated the Antlers.
The competition led to violence in January 1910, according to The Daily Panhandle, a Texas newspaper.
Dan Lyons, a buggy driver for the Antlers, was shot to death by an employee of the Reidora “over solicitations for their respective hotels,” the newspaper reported.
Lyons’ mother, Mary Lyons, opened the Antlers in 1909 but was living in Amarillo where the family operated another hotel.
The newspaper reported family members took a train to Clovis soon after the shooting, arriving in time to find 19-year-old Dan conscious and conversing, but gravely ill.
He died at noon on Feb. 1, 1910, the paper reported.
“Dan’s brother, Jerry, literally had to be tied up to prevent him from going after the (accused shooter,)” said Honea.
The newspaper reported Lyons’ killer was arrested, but it’s not clear whether the Reidora employee was convicted or even tried in connection with the slaying.
“Dan was a pretty good little Irishman boxer,” Honea said she’s learned doing family research, and it’s likely “they had been having some fights.”
But newspaper articles written by Clovis historian Don McAlavy indicate Lyons was unarmed when he was shot at the Santa Fe train depot.
“Dan Lyons came to Clovis only a short time ago, and has amply sustained his reputation as a young man of worth and business integrity,” The Daily Panhandle reported.
Here is The Daily Panhandle article, courtesy Barbara Honea:
Did you know:
• The Antlers was open from 1909 to 1959. In its prime, it was one of Clovis’ more popular gathering places with a restaurant and bar that closed with prohibition in 1942.
• The three-story hotel opened with 30 rooms, including seven with private baths. It expanded to 47 rooms before closing, but is perhaps best remembered for its second-floor balcony, cattle buyers gathering at the domino table and its large, tile lobby that hosted community dances.
• Today, the site is home to several small businesses including a tattoo shop and adult entertainment store. It’s located south of the Bank of Clovis on the west side of Main.
• Clovis-area rancher Patrick Lyons, a New Mexico Public Regulation commissioner, is related to the Antlers’ former owners. He named a son Dan Lyons in honor of the slain buggy driver. The youngest Dan Lyons will be a sophomore at New Mexico State University in the fall.