During the late 1860s, James Booker Davenport, George Hay and Charles Schmidtke conducted business as “Davenport, Schmidtke and Hay General Merchandise.” Located in a two-story stone building near the old Jail House, Davenport, Schmidtke and Hay General Merchandise was a thriving business.
Upon the retirement of James B. Davenport, Schmidtke and Hay continued the business until 1874. At this time, HH Carmichael bought an interest in the business, and erected the building currently located at 200 Main St, Bandera TX. With the retirement of Charles Schmidtke, the business began operation as “Carmichael & Hay Merchantile”. The business remained in operation until 1903 when the economy crashed and the business failed.
Mr. Carmichael passed away in 1913, and Mr. Hay moved to Hondo and operated a confectionary business. The building was used for various businesses from 1903-1920.
In 1920, approximately 200 ranchers organized the “Bandera County Ranchmen and Farmers Association” and purchased the Carmichael & Hay stone building and turned it into a wool and mohair warehouse. In addition to the warehouse, the business supplied ranchers with many of their ranch supply needs. The Wool and Mohair warehouse brought hundreds of thousands of dollars into Bandera’s economy, in addition to providing many job opportunities.
The rock building with its long and interesting history began as one large room. It is also credited with having one of the oldest elevators in Texas. The recent discovery of the name “HH Carmichael” in the upper beams of the elevator indicated that it was installed after he purchased the business interest in 1874. Records show that the elevator was shipped by rail to San Antonio from Chicago.
The “Old Timers” tell of a tunnel that ran from the basement of the building to the rock house across the alley road. Stories abound as to the purpose of the tunnel, but unfortunately it caved in when the road to the jail was built due to the heavy traffic.
The Wool and Mohair Warehouse remained in operation until the 1970s, when it became the Bandera Ranch Store, offering feed, seed and ranch supplies to Bandera County farmers and ranchers.
In 1998, the building housed an antique mall named “Love’s Antique Mall.” This business was purchased by Tom and Mary Jane Crowe in 2013, and was renamed “Western Trail Antiques, Mall of Bandera” to bring recognition to the history of the Western Trail and its significance to the history of Bandera.
In the summer of 2015, local ranch owners and real estate business owners, Mason and Rochelle Hunt met with the Bandera County Ranchmen and Farmers Association. An agreement was made to allow the Hunts to purchase the grand historic building. New Years Day 2016, It was with great pride and appreciation to the reputation and success of the business inside the Marketplace that the Hunts purchased that as well!
Be sure to look for the old photographs, at our register, of days gone by while making your purchases! If asked, we will also love to show you some of the historic binders and ledgers found in the attic!