For the purpose of accommodating the various visitors, traveling businessmen, port personnel and other "allied trades people" constantly staying in Texas City, the Texas City Improvement Company constructed a three-story hotel at the corner of what is now Texas Avenue and 5th Street, calling it the Southern Hotel (Benham, 1987). It was built with imported cypress wood and contained 70 rooms, a large foyer, formal ballroom, two parlors and accompanying dining facilities. It even had a garden with a fountain on the outside (Southern, 1963). With the hotel's completion in 1894, it became the de facto social center of the small port town.
Orchestras and other musical bands were hired to play for guests who ranged from rich oil barons to longshoremen. Though it was considered lavish for the time period, the hotel was still without baths in the rooms and guests had to use men's and women's lavatories to wash in (Southern, 1963).