My time in Texas has brought me to the place where Hilton Hotels first began: the old Mobley Hotel in rural Cisco, TX.
I’ll start with the Mobley Website, which can be found here.
In 1919, Conrad Hilton made his way to Cisco to purchase a bank. That transaction failed because the seller changed the price last minute and Conrad failed to get his foot in the banking industry. He went across the street to the Mobley to “lick his wounds” and plan what his next move was going to be. When he arrived, he found that the Mobley was insanely crowded – lodging options were sparse to non-existent in that moment in time. Conrad was turned away at the front desk – they told him that all rooms were rented and that he would have to come back in 8 hours.
The Mobley was in such demand that it filled every room for guests to sleep in every 8 hours, and people would rotate out in shifts to sleep. Conrad sensed an opportunity and spoke with the hotel manager, Henry Lanford Mobley. By the next day, Conrad had purchased the hotel instead of the bank he originally came to Cisco to buy. Business was absolutely booming. Shortly after his success with the Mobley, Conrad went on to purchase a string of other hotels, across Texas, then across the United States, and eventually across the world.
The Mobley changed hands a few times after Conrad was forced to sell it. Eventually it fell under the jurisdiction of the University of Houston (which is where Conrad Hilton established a school for Hotel Management). The University of Houston, along with the Conrad Hilton Foundation put a staff in place to run the Mobley as a museum dedicated to both the history of Mr. Conrad Hilton and the city of Cisco. The building was completely renovated internally in 1985, with some upkeep over the years; most famously when Hilton sent in a volunteer team to re-paint and fix a few things up in 2017 to prepare for Hilton’s 100 year anniversary.
Here’s a sampling of the photos I took during my visit:
Photos of photos don’t really do the place justice. It is absolutely worthwhile to visit the Mobley, in fact the current curator confirmed my suspicion that several current (and possible former) Hilton team members have been making pilgrimages to the Mobley, just as I did.
Here’s to the next adventure!