So it turns out you can find a lot more information about the Blazilmar when you search Google with that spelling (instead of the incorrect “Blazimar” I had in yesterday’s post)! Many thanks to Gary Shelton for correcting that, as well as posting some nice historical photos yesterday!
My guess is the “Blazimar” spelling comes from trying to make the (incorrect) Zizinia surname work instead of Zilker…
What’s really fantastic is that I took this photo of an old Chevy C10 (I think it’s a ’64 – can somebody help me with that?) across the street, and it’s got the correct spelling right there on the door. D’oh!
I stopped to photograph the truck because it reminds me of my great-uncle Gene’s [Eugene Strickland’s] truck (though it was red instead of blue). I rode with him to the old country store down at the crossroads many times in that truck… and it’s also the only vehicle I ever saw my father hotwire (after he borrowed it to drive to Raleigh to pick something up, and I dropped the keys behind the seat while he was loading up – I guess I was maybe two or three then)!
But that’s another story…
My guess about when the current Blazilmar was constructed was also incorrect. It was actually built in 1917… so I guess Bland, Marse, and Zilker decided that replacing the original Murphy building was better than improving it.
By December 22 of that year, progress on the new building had reached the point that it was expected that it would be ready for occupancy before the New Year, and a formal grand opening was planned, perhaps as early as Christmas Eve! (See this clipping from the December 22, 1917 edition of the Taylor Daily Press)
The linked newspaper clip is fantastic because that gives me a few more details about Howard Bland… he’s listed as “Colonel Howard Bland” (so I’ve gotta track that down), and he’s also president of the company operating the hotel (Zilker was vice president and Marse was the secretary).
Oh – and the Blazilmar Garage is listed in the 1932 Taylor telephone directory! The garage doesn’t appear to have been officially associated with the Blazilmar, though. The November 1, 1917 edition of the Taylor Daily Press reported that Barney Benefiel would be moving his garage across the street from the (still-under-construction) hotel, where it would take the name “Blazimar Garage.” That was probably a shrewd business move on his part!