Growing up in Tulia I remember the old Hotel Tulia, it was where Tiny Preston, our “gentle giant” resided. Tiny, half brother to “Amarillo Slim,” would respond when asked how tall he was, "6 feet 14 inches."
He was a welder by trade and loved children. He regularly ate lunch at the Western Café on Highway 87 when it was a busy thoroughfare going through town before I-27. He could sit on the stool at the counter and touch the ceiling.
Willie George owned the Western Café and stood about 5 feet nothing, she and Tiny were a sight together. Willie’s brother, Jack Love, owned the service station next to the café and when you put gas in your car you also got your windshield washed and your tires checked.
In the 1960s Hotel Tulia was totally remodeled, inside and out, and renamed the Elm Tree Inn. It had red wallpaper and a wonderful restaurant. Everyone went there for Sunday lunch after church and for other special occasions.
Through the years it was sold and resold and sadly, in the late 1980s, burned. So now, at 200 W. Broadway we now have a vacant lot where weeds thrive in the summertime.
Tiny and Willie and Jack are all gone, along with many other wonderful characters of my younger years. Tulia had many interesting and dear people and I miss them all greatly. I also miss Hotel Tulia.