A Guide to the Nimitz Hotel Records, 1847-1905
In 1855, Charles H. Nimitz bought the Nimitz, or Steamboat, Hotel of Fredericksburg, Texas, supposedly the last hotel before San Diego, California. Originally only four rooms, the hotel expanded by the 1890s to 50 rooms and housed the Nimitz family beyond the parlor. The hotel included a formal flower garden, a bar, combination casino-theatre, dining room, and bathhouse with bathtubs and privies. The Nimitz family also operated a brewery, a saloon, and a general store at the hotel. After 1888 Charles Nimitz added a steamboat-shaped structure, and in 1906 he deeded the house to his son Charles, Jr. In 1926, a group of local men bought the hotel and removed the steamboat structure. Later that year, they deeded the hotel to the Hotel Nimitz Company. Prominent guests include President Rutherford B. Hayes, Robert E. Lee, William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), Ulysses S. Grant, Fitzhugh Lee, and Elisabet Ney.
Henry J. Schmidt eventually dissolved the Hotel Nimitz Company and sold the hotel to the Admiral Nimitz Foundation in 1964. The Admiral Chester W. Nimitz State Historical Park houses its headquarters in the hotel and has reconstructed the steamboat structure. It is now known as the National Museum of the Pacific War.
The son of Karl Heinrich and Dorothea Magdalena (Dressel) Nimitz, Charles H. Nimitz (1826-1911) immigrated from Germany to South Carolina in 1844 and then moved to Fredericksburg in 1846. He married Sophie Dorothea Mueller on April 8, 1848, and they had twelve children (nine survived to adulthood). Nimitz served in the Texas Rangers and organized the Gillespie Rifles of the Confederacy. He served in the Texas State Legislature as a Democratic representative for Gillespie, Blanco, and Comal Counties.
Kohout, Martin Donell. "Nimitz, Charles W."Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/fni4.html (accessed May 3, 2010).
Kohout, Martin Donell. "Nimitz Hotel". Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/ccn1.html (accessed May 3, 2010).
Toepperwein, Herman. Nimitz: Steamboat Hotel, the Story of a Frontier Inn. Fredericksburg, Tex.: the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, 1972.
The Nimitz Hotel Records, 1847-1905, contain twelve financial ledgers and a hotel register kept by Charles H. Nimitz for the Nimitz Hotel, or Steamboat Hotel, in Fredericksburg, Texas. The financial ledgers consist of accounts, bar accounts, waybills, cashbooks, and bad debts. Prominent names in these ledgers and register include Mormon leader Lyman Wight; cowboy and gunslinger Johnny Ringo; and Samuel E. Johnson, Sr., and Samuel E. Johnson, Jr., grandfather and father of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
This collection is open for research use.
Nimitz Hotel Records, 1847-1905, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers