The Redlands Hotel was built in 1914 by a group of citizens to provide housing for the visitors to the City from the railroad. Built as a fine hotel with an up date restaurant, ice machine, orchestra and ballroom, it was in high demand until 1918 when WW I caused economy problems. Imagine debarking from a long train ride to walk into the Redlands Hotel’s dining room and an elegant dinner.
In 1919, the building was leased to the I.G..N.R.R. as its home office after its then current office burned. It occupied the building until 1956 as Missouri Pacific Lines, when it moved to a new building on the other side of the tracks. Union Pacific later merged with MoPac Lines.
From 1956 – 1972 it was empty and decaying when the current owners decided to buy it and restore it to useful life. In 1982, it was registered in the National Register of Historic Places and now shines as a beautiful example of hotel construction. The construction is steel I-beam and concrete similar to high rises of today. Brown brick is artistically laid on all five stories with a cap of metal cornice on two sides.
The City of Palestine can trace much of its heritage to the development brought by the railroad and the many men and women whose livelihood was the railroad.
Once again, a visitor can walk into the Redlands dining room for a fine meal, historical surrounding and perhaps learn a new story about this town which had a link to the world via rail as early as 1872. The City of Palestine was formed in 1846 and when the railroad came to the West side of the Courthouse, life changed as it became a bustling city with life brought to its doorstep by rail.
The history of Palestine and Anderson County is dotted with the effect of the train and is forever linked to the rails.
Learn more at the Museum for East Texas Culture or the City of Palestine Library and take a ride on the Texas State Railroad. Sit on one of the benches at the Redlands and watch the trains go by.