Proud of East Texas: Tyler's Mayfair building

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler's Mayfair building, located on the East Texas Fair Grounds, doesn't exude much glamour these days, but in its prime, the Mayfair was the venue for some of the greatest stars of entertainment.

"We were the first people to bring him to Texas."

Billie Perryman, wife and business partner of legendary DJ, Tom Perryman, helped her husband book a young Elvis Presley at the beginning of his career.

"He didn't drink, he didn't smoke. The girls liked him."

Billie, whose banana pudding was Elvis's favorite food has many Elvis stories from those days. One of her favorites is about a little girl who sold her jacket so she could buy a ticket to an Elvis show at the Mayfair building.

"The show was only a dollar so she sold her jacket so she could get the money to come to the show."

Young unknowns like Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Ray Price, Johnny Horton and so many other future stars of country music, got their starts with Tom Perryman's help.

Jimmy Horton is a member of Friends of the Mayfair, a nonprofit organization working to save the historic Mayfair building.

"There's just so many people that have come through there, well-known names like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn. I mean it just goes on and on."

Not only has the Mayfair, originally built in the late 1920s been a stage for the famous, it's also been intertwined with the lives of East Texans.

"During World War II they brought soldiers from Camp Fannin and held USO dances here. Several people from Tyler met their mates and married the people they met from the USO dances."

While Horton says the restoration of the Mayfair building will be costly, contributions of any size are welcome. All contributions, great or small will help to continue the Mayfair building's rich history for future generations.

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