Archive for the ‘bed and breakfast’ Category

MonFeb201114

M-K-T Locomotive Boiler Explosion, Smithville, TX

 

Explosion rocked Smithville

Thursday, February 3, 2011 | Denis McGinness, Smithville Times

Ceremony to commemorate dark day in history from 1911 

 Like tracks weaving through a rail yard, Smithville’s history is intertwined with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, affectionately dubbed the Katy. On Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m., at the Gazebo, a ceremony will be held to commemorate a dark day in that history known as “The Terrible Explosion at Smithville.” 

 The ceremony will take place 100 years to the day and almost to the minute that the disaster took place.  

The tragic event occurred when a boiler on one of the huge switch engines exploded from massive steam pressure at the large MK&T Railroad roundhouse facility on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1911 at about 2:10 p.m. 

“I am unaware of any greater tragedy that has befallen this city,” said Bruce Blalock, railroad historian and a member of the James. H. Long Railroad Park and Museum board. 

 Dozens of Smithville residents can be seen taking in the scene of a boiler explosion on Feb. 8, 1911 that killed 10 men and injured several others. Pictured to the right, the remains of the switch engine after the boiler blast. Prior to the explosion, the engine had been located in the center of the picture between two locomotives. Bruce Blalock/Courtesy Photo Dozens of Smithville residents can be seen taking in the scene of a boiler explosion on Feb. 8, 1911 that killed 10 men and injured several others. Pictured to the right, the remains of the switch engine after the boiler blast. Prior to the explosion, the engine had been located in the center of the picture between two locomotives. Bruce Blalock/Courtesy Photo 

 The commemorative ceremony will be simple, according to Blalock, with a recap of the event, a reading of the names of those railroad workers who were killed, a moment of silence and the ringing of the train bell. 

 The tragic story starts with switch engine No. 233, which had just been turned out from the maintenance shop after overhauling. Mechanics were making adjustments to the safety valve, or pop-off valve, on the huge steam engine when the explosion occurred. 

 It is suspected that a defective steam line to the pressure gauge prevented the workmen from knowing the actual pressure in the engine and they tightened the pop off valves until an estimated pressure of 800 pounds. per square inch was hit, rupturing the boiler, blowing the engine forward 75 feet and sending the rail tender backward into the turntable pit. 

 Ten men were killed outright by the powerful event, two died later and several had serious injuries. Killed instantly were H. E. O’Rourke, Charles Gray, Thurston McNeill, Harry Clark, Will Phelps, F. Barino, Aaron Harless, Phil Hubbard, Albine Mitchell and Henry Stoglin. 

 O’Rourke’s body was identified by his foot, which had one toe amputated. The bodies of Charles Gray and four others were found under Engine No. 550, which stood on one side of the switch engine. One body was found under Engine No. 327, which was on the other side. One body landed on a house more than 300 yards from the explosion. 

 The Katy’s division surgeons in Smithville, Dr. J. H. E. Powell and P. Chapman (who had offices over the Hill and Trousdale buildings, respectively) were overwhelmed giving proper care to such extensive injuries so a special train was arranged to bring physicians from La Grange. Then at 6:30 p.m. on the day of the accident, a special train took six of the most seriously injured to Waco to the Katy hospital facility there. 

 According to a Houston Chronicle story published on Feb. 9, 1911, part of the engine’s firebox flew through the air and landed in town alongside Mohler’s grocery store, (105 W. Second St.) breaking the leg of his delivery horse. The story said most of the glass in adjacent buildings was shattered, as were fixtures in buildings along Second Street. The explosion caused a shock wave that “set the entire people wild with excitement.” 

 Pieces of the engine were also thrown six blocks from the rail yard. Smithville resident Johnny Stalmach picked up one of those pieces and put it in his yard. The twisted steel sat for 98 years, until, realizing the historical nature of the wreckage, Ruth Stalmach Whitehead and the Stalmach family got the idea to create something from it that would commemorate the accident. 

 The Railroad Museum, through the help of historical author David Herrington and art promoter Richard Latham, is working with local artist Russell Smith to create a memorial sculpture that will be dedicated the first week in May during the annual Katy Railroad employee reunion. 

 Blalock said the public is encouraged to attend the commemorative event and visit the museum to learn more about the history of the accident and the Katy Railroad in Smithville. The museum houses documents, photos and memorabilia of the MK&T Railroad’s long history in Smithville. 

P.S. Bruce is the owner of the Katy House Bed and Breakfast, named for the M-K-T Railroad, the Katy. 


MonJan201124

Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament in Smithville, TX

Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament – new event for our Thunder on the Colorado Biker rally. The Tournament will be held at Riverbend Park here in Smithville, TX

  Our Bed and Breakfast rooms are filling up fast. Please make your reservations as soon as possible. (512) 237-4262

 Here is the basic information on the Tournament:   2011 Entry Form  Friday, March 18 – Riverbend Park, Smithville, Texas

Players must be seated by 8 p.m.  Tournament ends at 11 p.m.

 ($30 entry fee gets $10,000 buy-in and full three-day admission for Thunder on the Colorado Biker Rally.  Additional buy-ins available for first hour of tournament.  For rules and additional information, visit http://www.thunderonthecolorado.com/.  Participants must be at least 21 years of age.  No guaranteed spots for walk-ups as seating is limited.  Prizes for top 4 finishers.  No cash prizes.)

 Player name: ____________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________

City: ________________________ State: ______ ZIP __________

Phone: _________________________________________________

Email: __________________________________________________

Checks should be made payable to:

Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 716,  Smithville, TX 78957

 For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards (circle one):

 VISA         MASTER CARD      AMERCAN EXPRESS    DISCOVER

 Name on card: _____________________________________________________________

 Card number: ______________________________________________________________

Exp Date: ____________ Signature: ____________________________________________

Questions?  Email chamber@smithvilletx.org or call 512-237-2313


SatJan201122

Bed and Breakfast Myths-A better way to stay!

B&B Myth Busters- some facts from the Katy House Bed and Breakfast

Are you shying away from staying at a B&B because you’re not sure what to expect?  Research shows that B&Bs and country inns are sorely misunderstood.  We’re here to explain why B&Bs are a better way to stay.  Younger travelers think B&Bs are for “oldies” and others believe the B in B&B stands for boutique or expensive. Let’s debunk some of those B&B myths and learn more about today’s B&B experience.

“But I’ll have to eat with people I don’t know!”

Today’s B&Bs are split with about half offering private tables for those who’d rather not eat breakfast with others and the other half serving family style so guests can meet one another.  Some innkeepers even serve breakfast in the room. And just to set the record straight, you won’t be eating Cheerios with the owner’s kids either, separate living quarters for the innkeepers and guests are standard at all B&Bs.

“I don’t want to share a bathroom!”

According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and BedandBreakfast.com’s innkeeper surveys, more than 97 percent of B&Bs offer private baths in some if not all rooms.  For those looking to economize on rates, a shared bath option is available in approximately 12 percent of B&Bs.

“It’s so expensive!”

Actually, when you add up all the extras including complimentary breakfast, snacks, beverages, wi-fi, movies and parking, then compare prices to local hotels in your travel destination,  chances are you will find as much as a $175 per day savings.   We recently compared Boston B&Bs to hotels, and here’s what we found.  When the hotel’s higher rates were figured in, we realized a daily savings of $175 a day!

“B&Bs are only for couples”

While every B&B has some romantic aspect to it, there are plenty of inns and B&Bs that specialize in other aspects of travel.  You’ll find that inns B&Bs are a better way to stay for families, business travelers, even those traveling with pets.

They’re old buildings and I need my wi-fi connection

Recent surveys of innkeepers conducted by BedandBreakfast.com show that more than 91 percent of inns and B&Bs offer complimentary wi-fi connections.  Innkeepers throughout North America understand that guests travel with a full load of tech-items.  Many are adding iPod docking stations and power strips to rooms to allow plenty of wattage for powering up tech toys.


FriJan201121

Bed and Breakfast Award -Katy House in Smithville,TX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 15, 2011

 Sallie Blalock (512) 237-4262
 
Katy House Bed and Breakfast CHOSEN AS BEST OF THE SOUTHWEST IN THE BEST OF BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM AWARDS

 Smithville, Texas – Katy House Bed and Breakfast in Smithville was selected as Best of the Southwest in the annual Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards, 2010-2011. The Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards are based upon a qualitative and quantitative review of the nearly 50,000 independent reviews submitted to BedandBreakfast.com, the leading online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide.
 
“BedandBreakfast.com surveys show that independent reviews are the most important factor when choosing a B&B. In fact, according to BedandBreakfast.com’s most recent survey, 96% of consumers consider reviews to be somewhere between important and essential when selecting a place to stay, and 12% will not make a reservation at a property without them. We’re delighted that inn-goers concur that Katy House is deserving of its accolades from travelers,” explained BedandBreakfast.com’s Sandy Soule, one of the most highly recognized authors and a spokeswoman for the B&B industry. “Clearly, Sallie and Bruce Blalock earned stellar reviews from inn-goers for its quality accommodations, breakfasts, amenities and wonderful hospitality and service,” commented Soule. 

“It’s a true honor to be chosen for a Best of BedandBreakfast.com award, and we thank our guests for the positive reviews that resulted in this award, stated Sallie Blalock, Katy House innkeeper. “It is gratifying that our guests took the time to share their comments about our hospitality, accommodations, breakfasts and attention to the details which set Katy House apart,” commented Blalock. Here’s an excerpt from one of our reviews:” I have rarely felt as relaxed as I did at Katy House Bed and Breakfast. Sallie and Bruce are the perfect hosts and Smithville is a blast to explore.”  1/17/2011

 
About the Katy House: Opened in 1994, in the beautiful old railroad town of Smithville, Texas. This historic home is decorated in American antiques and railroad memorabilia. All guest rooms are on the second floor. Each room offers a queen-sized bed with private bathroom, cable TV and wireless internet. Included are the spacious Texas Special Suite with a private balcony, the Katy Limited and the charming Bluebonnet Room. The Katy’s most private accommodations are separate from the main house: The Katy Tower with rocking chairs and balcony is located in a small building in the back yard. The Conductors’ Quarters also offers a sofa-sleeper to accommodate families and extra guests. The outside rooms are “Pet Friendly.” A delicious full country breakfast is served in the main dining room every morning. For more information, please call 1-(512) 237-4262 or www.KatyHouse.com

 
For a complete list of all winners, including regional and international Best of BedandBreakfast.com Award winners, please visit www.BedandBreakfast.com and click Winners 2010-2011.

Founded in 1995, BedandBreakfast.com is highly recommended by The New York Times, Real Simple, Forbes, Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY and many others. To learn about more than 11,000 other perfect choices for your next B&B getaway, visit BedandBreakfast.com, the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide. A variety of search functions and extensive maps enable inn-goers to find the perfect B&B. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase The Getaway Gift Card from BedandBreakfast.com, welcomed at over 4,000 B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, read up-to-date trip reports on The BedandBreakfast.com Blog, read and write independent reviews, and post questions on expert-hosted message boards.

BedandBreakfast.com is owned and operated by HomeAway, Inc., the worldwide leader in online vacation rentals, representing more than 475,000 paid vacation rental home listings across 120 countries.

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High resolution photos available upon request (include this if you have high-res photos)

Sallie Blalock
Katy House Bed and Breakfast
201 Ramona Street, Smithville
512) 237-4262
www.Katyhouse.com


TueJan201118

Poetry Readings in Smithville, TX

Spoken Word Reading  

Samantics2  

Join us for Poetry Readings   

206 Main StreetSmithville, TX   

 512-377-9244   

www.samantics2.com   

Ring in the New Year   

 Fourth Saturday in January January 22, 2011  

6:30pm – whenever  

 206 Main Street  

Smithville, Texas Come stay in one of Smithville’s Bed & Breakfasts   

512-377-9244

www.samantics2.com  

    


FriDec201017

Katy House B and B sends Christmas Wishes

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Bruce and I love this time of year. The Katy House is decorated for Christmas, the weather is cooler and downtown Smithville is decked out for the season with trees and four-foot Gingerbread Men up and down Main Street. As guests come and go this season, we are reminded that the very best thing about owning a Bed and Breakfast is the wonderful and interesting people we get to know.

This is a perfect time of the year to give a gift certificate to the Katy House. You know someone that would love to come and visit Smithville. One night is $160 for two, including breakfast, all the trimming and the taxes. We’ll mail the gift certificate to you, or send it to the recipient. It will be a gift that will be remembered for years. Maybe it’s time for you to return to Smithville, so buy one for yourself!

The Annual Festival of Lights, December 4th, was a fun-filled Saturday, with a lighted night-time parade then a free live theater production called “Frosty vs. the Abominable Snowman,” by Smithville Playhouse. The movie, “Beneath the Darkness,” filmed part of the parade. As the Smithville High School Band marched and played, a man ran through the band, with a policeman chasing him down.

Smithville continues to be a “film friendly” community. “Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn will be in theaters May 27.th In the last year there have been several films made here. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting with John Schneider, Jenn Gotzen, Ernie Hudson, Robert Davi, Will Wallace, Joe Estevez and Erin Way. They were here in the spring filming “Doonby.” Watch for these movies to open in 2011: “Tree of Life,” “Five Time Champion,” “Natural Selection,” “Doonby,” “Bernie” and “Beneath the Darkness” as all or part were filmed here. Dennis Quaid’s trailer is parked across the street right now.

We’ve had a fun and busy year at the Bed and Breakfast with lots of wonderful guests that are now friends. Bruce has now retired from the Union Pacific Railroad. He still runs trains as a volunteer engineer for the Austin Steam Train. He has also been restoring the caboose and it will eventually be a guest cottage.

The Katy House Baked Egg recipe is perfect for a special breakfast for visitors.
Just email us and we will send you the recipe.

We hope you have a blessed Christmas Season and hope to see you in Happy New 2011!

Sallie and Bruce Blalock
And Corgis Buddy and Carter
stay@katyhouse.com
www.KatyHouse.com
(512) 237-4262
Smithville, Texas 78957

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FriNov201026

Smithville’s Festival of Lights Dec. 4th

Smithville, Texas Festival of Lights, a wonderful family festival,  is December 4th, 2010.  It is a fun day filled with a Main Street 5K, pictures with Santa, Holiday Markets, Art Shows, Kids’ Fest, Tricycle Races, Candyville Game, Train Rides, Gingerbreak Man Cookie Bake, a Lighted Dowtown Parade, and much more.
Here is what Playhouse Smithville has planned. Don’t miss it!
Playhouse Smithville’s Frosty vs. Abominable Snowman, written & directed by john daniels, jr., will open on December 4th and will run four performances:  12/4 (2pm & 7pm) and 12/11 (2pm & 7pm).   Come down to the Smithville Festival of Lights celebration on December 4th and enjoy a day of great family entertainment including Playhouse Smithville’s production of Frosty vs. Abominable Snowman outside for the whole town to enjoy.  Come see Ivory the North Pole’s star reporter sing “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and hear Frosty sing “The North Pole Boogie”!  A cast of sixteen characters sing and dance in an American Idol style musical revue.   Tickets are available at www.playhousesmithville.com or call (512) 360-7397.
 
For more information on the Festival call the Smithville Chamber @ 512 237-2313
For lodging, try one of the great Bed and Breakfast in Smithville, found on the Chamber page.

WedSep201015

Playhouse Smithville adds Children’s Theatre

We are excited that Playhouse Smithville is having Saturday Morning Children’s Theatre. The Theatre is one block from our B and B, on our historic Main Street, here in Smithville, Texas.  See the announcement:

 Auditions for Young Actors: Cereal Thrillers, Playhouse Smithville, September 18     

Snap, Crackle and Pop (TM Kellogg’s Cereals)

 (www.playhousesmithville.com)

 PlayhouseSmithville.com announces auditions for

 Cereal Thrillers

 

 Saturday Morning Children’s Theatre

 

 Playhouse Smithville is putting out a call to young actors of any age over six.  Cereal Thrillers, written and directed by the Playhouse Artistic Director john daniels, jr. (sic), needs Snap, Crackle, Pop, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry, Sugar Bear, Trix and Silly Rabbit, L. C. Leprechaun, Crunch Berry Beast, SeaDog, Jean LaFoote and of course the Cap’n.

 Come be in a silly, serial-cereal play, a “who or what done it.”  Adults, children and families welcome to audition.  Cereal Thrillers begins Playhouse Smithville’s Saturday Morning Children’s Theatre.  The show will play Friday evenings October 15 and 22, Saturday mornings October 16, 23, and 30 and one special Sunday October 31 matinee which will include a costume contest before audience and cast members go out trick-or-treating.

 Cereal Thrillers auditions Saturday, September 18 at 2:00 PM.  Come dressed to play and have fun. Playhouse Smithville, 110 Main Street.   For more information or to purchase pre-sale tickets visit www.playhousesmithville.com or call 512 360-7397.


FriJul201016

So You Want to be an Innkeeper?

So You Want to Be an Innkeeper?

 Here is some information for all of my guests that someday want to be a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ owner.

If you would like to talk to me about the class, please call: Sallie Blalock, Katy House, 512 237-4262

Aspiring Innkeepers Workshop to Be Held September 13 in San Antonio, TX

 

                The Texas Bed & Breakfast Association (TBBA), the state association of inspected inns, bed & breakfasts, guesthouses and distinctive hotels, will hold its Aspiring Innkeepers Workshop in San Antonio on September 13, 2010  

            Often referred to as “America’s Most Envied Profession,” operating a bed & breakfast is a serious business that requires personal commitment, business acumen and high standards to be successful.  TBBA offers the “Basics” workshop to help people who are interested in entering the profession.  The day-long seminar covers topics such as Getting Started, Financial Realities, Marketing & Advertising, Standards and Quality Assurance, Industry Resources, and insights about what the lifestyle is really like from seasoned professionals.

             This is the only workshop of its kind in the State of Texas offering aspiring innkeepers a chance to develop the necessary skills to be leaders in their industry.  With travelers becoming more sophisticated and discerning, successful inns must continually strive to meet and surpass the travelers’ expectations.  TBBA provides the resources to help inns meet this goal.

The workshop will be held at:  Alamo Street Victorian Inn

                                                 951 S. Alamo Street

                                                 San Antonio, TX

                                                 800-630-3722

Cost of the workshop is:
Basic & Full Member – $100 per person plus $37.50 for basic manual

 

     NON Basic or Full member $225 per person includes basic manual
The cost includes breakfast, lunch and all materials other than the manual.

If you need reservations for Sunday night, please call:

Aaron Pancoast Carriage House – 800-225-4045 – stay@nobleinns.com

Alamo Street Victorian Inn – 800-630-3722 – stay@alamovictorian.com

Arbor House Suites – 888-272-6700 – arborhaus@aol.com

Brackenridge House B&B – 800-221-1412 – brackenridgebb@aol.com

Gardenia Inn – 800-356-1605 – relax@gardenia-inn.com

Ruckman Haus B&B – 866-736-1468 – theruckmans@earthlink.net

The Inn at Craig Place – 877-427-2447 – stay@craigplace.com

For more details contact the TBBA Administrative Office at 1-800-428-0368 or info@texasbb.org.  A printable registration form, is available at www.texasbb.org.

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