201,205 S. Bridge Street
Houston-Grandin Building, the two-story cast cement “stone” structure on the corner of Bridge and Second Streets, was constructed in 1908, by Sarah Houston and her brother Oliver Grandin. The building’s first occupants were Kepler’s Jewelry Store and the offices of U.S.A. Construction Company. There were several different business offices located here over the years.
In 1911, Houston and Grandin built a small one-story brick building in the back of this lot, abutting the alley and facing Second Street. This small building housed a saloon called The Mint.
In 1925, Frank Gartiez bought the two buildings. A couple months after he purchased the buildings, he began a construction project to mend the two together. He increased The Mint from a one-story structure to two-stories and built a full middle section to connect the two buildings. At this time, he also connected this structure to the neighboring Overland Hotel, which he also owned. After the expansion and renovations, Gartiez Rooms opened for business in the second story. The portion of the building facing Second Street became Victory Auto, and the offices fronting Bridge Street at ground level were rented out.
Still to this day, the portion of the basement directly below what was originally The Mint, (on the corner of the alley and Second Street) holds clues of prohibition entertainment such as a speakeasy and evidence of a boxing room. Some of the 1920s comics and boxing articles are still stuck on the walls. Even the old wooden doorbell, with cloth wrapped wiring, is still attached to the entryway.Read More