By Charlene Carson, Local Historian
Visitors to Salado and locals alike have often wondered, “What is the story behind the log cabin on Main Street in front of the Stagecoach Inn?” Keep reading and you will learn the story of that cabin as told by C.B. and Mary Hodge.
At one time, this log cabin, built in the 1800s, sat on the Claude and Bernice Hodge Ranch, which was about two miles west of Salado on Thomas Arnold Road. In the early 1930s, it was occupied by a Mexican family who worked on the ranch cutting wood.
In about 1934, Claude Hodge gave the cabin to Charles and Eva Stevens who owned the Stagecoach Inn at the time, and the Mexican family moved into another house on the ranch. The Stevens set up a restaurant in the cabin with the intentions of attracting travelers going to the 1936 Centennial in Dallas via old Highway 81. Everyone traveling Highway 81 would pass right in front of the cabin and hopefully stop for lunch.
Eva Stevens served what she called “depression food,” which consisted of fresh fish, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and other homemade dishes. The meals were served family style and cost 35 cents. The cabin served as Salado’s restaurant for several years.
The cabin, which had been put together with ashes, was dismantled, hauled by wagon and team to downtown Salado and reassembled at its present site. Originally it had a dirt floor and a tree was growing through the ceiling.
In the 1980s this log cabin was used as the Stagecoach Inn gift shop. Through the years it has been used as a coffee shop, barber shop, beauty shop, and a home décor shop. When Dion and Ruth Van Bibber became owners of the Stagecoach Inn in 1943, Van Bibber used the cabin as his office.
The current ownership has future plans for the building.
“We have discussed a number of different options for the cabin which will probably happen in the next construction phase of our project,” David Hayes told Salado Village Voice. “The cabin needs significant repairs as so much of the restaurant and hotel did, and we have some ideas that we think will make the cabin look better and be functional.”
“We will probably use it for retail sale of stagecoach merchandise, but we have also talked about opening it up and using it as an access point to the garden below the cabin,” he added.
Stagecoach Inn continues to undergo a multi-million dollar, multi-phase renovation and revisioning of the complex.
“We just finished a conference room we call the Longhorn room, we have just started construction on the Pavilion where the coffee shop was, it will have a fireplace, bar and restrooms,” Hayes said. “We are also building a mineral pool in between buildings 2 and 3.”
“We are excited about the completion of Main Street and ready to get past COVID,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cabin sits on Main Street as a reminder of the rustic charm and the country style of living found in the village of Salado.