German tour group on Rock 'n' Roll pilgrimage stops in East Tex - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

German tour group on Rock 'n' Roll pilgrimage stops in East Texas

Friends of the Mayfair President Ronnie Anderson stands outside the historic Mayfair venue on the East Texas Fair Grounds. (Source: KLTV) Friends of the Mayfair President Ronnie Anderson stands outside the historic Mayfair venue on the East Texas Fair Grounds. (Source: KLTV)
Michael Kirscht is a tourist all the way from Berlin. He's with a group touring the region, visiting historic Rockabilly sites. (Source: KLTV) Michael Kirscht is a tourist all the way from Berlin. He's with a group touring the region, visiting historic Rockabilly sites. (Source: KLTV)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

It's one of Tylers older structures and there is a group that's spent the last couple years trying to preserve it.

The Friends of the Mayfair group is making progress in their project to keep the old Mayfair building on the East Texas Fair Grounds alive.

"This building was built in the late 20's," Friends of the Mayfair President Ronnie Anderson said. "Then it became a big music venue in the 40's, 50's and 60's."

That's when it played host to some of music's biggest stars. Musicians like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis and others tuned in on the old pecan floors.

"You name it, they've performed here," Anderson said.

Which is why a group all the way from Germany made a stop on Thursday.

"I'm from East Berlin and when the wall came down, I bought Elvis tapes and Elvis records," Berlin-native Michael Kirscht said.

He's with a small group of German tourists making their way around the region, visiting old Rockabilly sites. Dressed in 1950's S.E. Hinton style, the group dropped into KSIJ in Gladewater on Thursday morning, then trucked down into Tyler.

"It's cool to see the places where it all happened," Kirscht said.

The international fascination is just another reason why the Friends of the Mayfair want to fix up the property.

"They came all the way to Tyler," Anderson said. "You would think that we'd all want to locally come out and make this something we'd all be proud of."

The group is moving into a fund raising cycle. They say it will take nearly $1.4 million to fix up the venue to its original state.

Right now, there are a few leaks in the roof still. Ceiling tiles are missing. The place, built long before air conditioning, never saw any cooling additions as it aged. Large shop fans circulate air throughout the building for now.

"I've seen great things torn down in Tyler," Friends of the Mayfair Vice President Jimmie Horton said. "If the history of Tyler is not saved and remembered it's lost and gone forever."

And with that note, Anderson adds "you can't build history and you can't buy history, but you can preserve it."

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