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The Hotel Ritchey was built in 1886 across from the Southern Pacific train station and cattle-loading pens that were the commercial heart of Alpine, Texas. First name the City Hotel, the building was sturdily constructed with 18-inch adobe bricks and cypress wood framing. For almost a century it offered a bed for the night, stiff drinks and home-cooked meals to ranchers, cowhands, and railroad workers. Cowboys used to have shooting contests on the balcony by taking aim at silver dollars on the stockyard pens across the street. It is rumored that the back of the hotel was once a bordello. The Ritchey’s walls have witnessed a lot. Despite being designated a Texas Historic Landmark in 1965, the Ritchey was abandoned in the 1970s.
The historic Hotel Ritchey has waited patiently for a new life and new purpose for nearly half a century. The Ritchey will be a social hub where locals and visitors alike will want to start their day with coffee and later kick off their boots after a day working on a ranch or hiking in Big Bend. It’s expansive, adobe-walled courtyard is the perfect setting for parties, live performances, and outdoor film screenings. Marrying the best of Alpine’s past and present, the Ritchey will showcase the rich history and vibrant arts scene of far West Texas.
Mattie Matthaei (owner of Ritchey) was a successful builder and developer in Austin before moving to the Big Bend region 7 years ago. Mattie says “Most of my career has been spent restoring old buildings, so I immediately fell for this shuttered, Old West relic when I first arrived in Alpine. I have reached the limits of what I can personally do to restore the Ritchey. The building has been so neglected that banks won’t touch it, so now I need your support to finish saving it.”
Mattie has started a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $85,000. The fund raised will be used to structural repairs, electrical upgrades, install plumbing–which the building has never had–and reconstruct the two-story porch, which will have the best mountain sunset views in Alpine. Together we can turn the Ritchey into a community arts space and a saloon, serving coffee, wine, beer and locally prepared food.
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For more information, please visit Hotel Ritchey’s Indiegogo page: