GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - Soon, all that will remain of one East Texas hotel is memories.
The Locke Hotel in Groveton came into existence with the timber boom in the early 1900s, but after years of abandonment, the building will soon be torn down.
With each step through the building, Alton Mericle walked softly over boards that were barely holding together.
"The roof started leaking, and no one did anything about it, and it started to decay rather rapidly in recent years," Mericle said. "Someone could have put a stop to it if they got a new roof."
The hotel was built at the turn of the 20th century as a popular stop along the timber railroad routes.
It was popular enough that urban legends still exist of it being a common hide-out for one of America's most notorious couples.
"Supposedly, Bonnie and Clyde stayed here. Bonnie stayed here while Clyde was in prison," Mericle said. "She would ride the train that came right by here. There is also a rumor that Jesse James and his brother stayed here, but I think they were gone before this place was built."
While physical proof is limited, a letter sent to a Houston newspaper from the Groveton post office seems to back up the claim.
"This is a letter to the Houston post to say that they were not with Raymond Hamilton when I believe they held up someone, and a highway patrolman was killed," Melissa Kemper said. "They were trying to keep Hamilton innocent."
Kemper, Mericle's daughter, considers herself a local historian, and she said there is so much to learn about the building.
"I love Groveton history, and to learn things about the hotel is very exciting to me," Kemper said.
With the hotel being in its final days, Mericle says it's tough to think about.
"It's going to lose a lot of its history when it's gone because this place has a lot of history whether it's documented or not," Mericle said.
Mericle said the demolition crew specializes in reusing old wood, and anything that is salvageable will be recycled to be used in future building projects. Once the wood that can be used is removed, the rest of the building will be demolished.