MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) - It's been sitting vacant for years, but a Marshall man decided it was time for it to be brought back to its former glory, with a few updates.
The 120-year-old Ginocchio Hotel is open for business; at least the restaurant is, anyway. It's right next to the Marshall Train depot at the end of Washington Street.
It was built over a century ago and has garnered a historical marker. Alan Loudermilk is a patent attorney who decided he couldn't let the Ginocchio Hotel, where four U.S. Presidents have stayed, just rot away.
"I saw this building in 2009 and I said it really needed to be saved because I was afraid the curly pine might end up; the building might be harvested of its curly pine and destroyed," Loudermilk said.
But what is curly pine? It's came from a tree that was affected by microorganisms which caused the curl. Well that's the theory anyway. It may be the most curly pine in one place in existence. Loudermilk says it's probably worth:
"One or two million dollars," he clarified.
And it's everywhere, from the unfinished rooms upstairs to the staircase to the bar. But to get to the point of opening a restaurant, there were a lot of holes to fill.
"It took us a year and a half to get the building secure," Loudermilk explained.
His commitment is why he thinks it will work this time. Several people have tried unsuccessfully to reopen the Ginocchio over the years.
"We tried to stay true to the quality of the brick and the woodwork and the tile and the stained glass that Charles Ginocchio had, but also bring some high tech into it," Loudermilk said.
That would be the kitchen, but there is also some early tech.
"The Edison Arches. These are some of the first electrified structures in this part of the world," Loudermilk revealed.
And they still work.
Loudermilk also got back the original bar which had made the rounds to a store front then when prohibition hit:
"My joke is it ended up in a place where we drank illegally. So it ended up at a camp out by Caddo Lake," Loudermilk revealed.
Somehow the bar, covered in curly pine, survived a fire that burned that place down. Eventually it was recovered and donated to the Marshall Depot across the tracks, and everyone felt it needed to come back home to the Ginocchio.
"Kind of on loan, but when we took on this restoration they said this is its home and this is where it will always be," Loudermilk recalled.
So Charles Ginocchio's vision is coming back to life thanks to Alan Loudermilk and his partner.
"We're just cherishing what Charles Ginocchio started," Loudermilk added.
The bar was recovered and donated by a man you may have heard of: Mr. Don Henley.
The restaurant is phase one. Phase two will be a brew house and outdoor venue, and phase three will be renovating the second story. The Ginocchio Restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday evenings.