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Our Alamo Saloon: a Bit of Backstory

Guest post by History Educator, Kristi Nedderman

The building that we call the Alamo Saloon was originally built as a general store in 1904 in Snow Hill, Texas.


If you drove about an hour from Old City Park, where Dallas Heritage Village is today, you would have found yourself in Collin County in the community of Snow Hill.  Snow Hill was located between Pilot Creek and Indian Creek near State Highway 78, north of Farmersville.


Collin County was established in 1846. Beginning in the 1850s, a community called Thompson sprang up, after the Alfred Thompson family that settled in the area. It began being called Snow Hill in the 1890s and was supposedly named by a group surveying the area while it was covered by a fresh layer of snow; however, no one actually knows the true origins of the “Snow Hill” name (the City of Dallas has a similar mystery about its name, but that is another story).


The Snow Hill Cemetery has been in confirmable use since 1855. In 1872, the Collin County School Board opened a school on the east side of the cemetery. The Thompson School House was abandoned in 1921, and a new one was built nearby. The new school remained in use until October 1948, and children then attended either the Blue Ridge or Farmersville schools. Neither school building exists today. The Snow Hill Baptist Church was constructed in 1900 on land adjacent to the cemetery. The church and the cemetery are still in use today.


In addition to the school, church, and cemetery, Snow Hill boasted ES Kemp Dry Goods &Groceries, which opened in 1890 and was owned by Everett S. Kemp. The railroad had been in Texas for eighteen years; however, no tracks ran near Snow Hill, and Kemp hauled his goods in wagons from either Greenville or McKinney. He sold hardware, farm machinery, pickles, candy, hoop cheese, and dry goods (including salt, sugar, flour, crackers, beans, coffee, and peas).


Kemp’s daughter, Lela Kemp, married David Benjamin (DB) McCall in 1901, and in 1904, with Kemp’s brother Street, McCall constructed a new building for the general store. McCall ultimately became the proprietor in this shop and changed the name to DB McCall General Merchandise. For a time, a man called Roy Belt operated his barber shop from the premises, charging 25¢ each for either a shave or a haircut. In 1925, McCall added a gasoline pump.


Snow Hill was never a large community; the 1940 census listed only 20 souls calling it home. In the 1950s, Snow Hill consisted of the church, the cemetery, and McCall’s Store. It had no school or post office; both children and mail traveled each day to either Farmersville or Blue Ridge. The store closed in 1958 after McCall’s death.


DHV obtained the building in 1977, and it was revived as McCall’s General Store. It currently serves as the Alamo Saloon, where cold root beer, lively music, and games are available weekly.





Sources

Ancestry. n.d. ancestry.com (accessed August 21, 2019).

Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. Saloon building files, 2019.

Nedderman, Kristi. Snow Hill Cemetery photographs, January 4, 2020.

Old City Park. Teacher's Guide to Old City Park. 1984.

Simon, Hal. Email correspondence with the author, March 30, 2020.

--. Email correspondence with the author, September 22, 2019. 

Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide, 1939-1940. Dallas: Dallas Morning News, 1940.

Thompson, Mike. Snow Hill Cemetery, Collin County Texas. March 3, 1919. http://www.uscemeteryproj2.com/texas/collin/snowhill/snowhill

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