Cutting about ALAMO INN from The Monitor
(published McAllen TX) January 4, 2002

Alamo Inn provides getaway for locals, travelers
The Monitor
ALAMO — It’s not hard to find the Alamo Inn, a small, white, two-story building in downtown Alamo. The six-suite bed and breakfast has become the cornerstone of a growing downtown and keeps people coming back to the area for a taste of small-town hospitality. “We have people that come year after year,” said Keith Hackland, the owner. “People come here because they’re looking for a special experience. We get interesting people in here all the time.”

Hackland, 52, and a native of South Africa, has owned the Alamo Inn for more than four years. He bought it from Eric Orme, a former Alamo resident who owned the buildings for three years. Built in 1919 as the Alamo Land and Sugar Co. Building, the structure over the years has been a drug store, apartments and a bank. “We did a lot of repairs on the building,” Hackland said. “Starting with patching up the holes in the walls, to cleaning the trash and (picking up) broken things.” It took Hackland, his wife Audry Jones, and a multitude of friends about 18 months to remodel the hotel. “We thought we were never going to finish it,” he said. “But we knew we had to, and it was a lot of work.”

Each suite has a different theme, including the Victorian-style Edinburg suite; the Pancho Villa suite, with original pine floors and photos of the Mexican revolutionary leader; and the Padre Island suite, which includes a hand-painted sky ceiling and 10-foot sailfish. Almost everything in the historical suites have original artifacts and antiques from that time period, including a 100-year-old wooden rocking chair and mule harnesses from the early 1900s.

Hackland said running the inn isn’t as difficult as he thought it would be. On any given day, he’s up before 7 a.m. making breakfast for his guests or checking people in. “I’ve even been known to help clean up some of the rooms, too,” he said. “And maybe it’s because I have a lot of hard jobs, but this is honestly the easiest thing I’ve ever done, there are really neat people who stay here all the time, and it’s a lot of fun.”

 Hackland’s first visit to the Rio Grande Valley was in 1967 as an exchange student from South Africa. He attended PSJA High School and met Jones; he came back to Alamo 30 years later and married her. As for his guests, some travel as far as 1,700 miles just to stay in the hotel. “We heard about Keith’s place from a friend of ours,” said Tom Thorpe, who was visiting the hotel with wife Vera. Thorpe, a Madison, Wis. Native, said a friend of his kept talking about the bed and breakfast. “We had been going to Palm Springs for a long time, and it just got too expensive,” he said. “So I called Keith and here we are.” Thorpe said he doesn’t know how long they will stay at the inn. “Maybe a month, maybe two,” he said. “But one things for sure, we will be back … it’s so beautiful and there’s great hospitality.”