|Hill Hotel in Aquilla, Texas|
In the early 1900's, roads were poor and travel was primarily by horseback or horse-and-buggy. Traveling even short distances such as from Dallas to Waco could require several overnight stays.
Residents in towns like Aquilla opened hotels to provide travelers with overnight accommodations. At one time, Aquilla had three hotels – the two-story Hill Hotel with a curved porch on each floor, a second hotel that included a barber shop and the telephone exchange, and a third one across the street from the bank.
|Whitney Hotel around 1912|
When the Ford Model T was introduced in 1908, automobiles began to become more affordable for many people. Roads improved and travel between cities became much more prevalent. Hillsboro was on the main north-south road going through central Texas, and eventually at the intersection of three highways. It was a convenient place for people from Dallas and Waco or Austin to meet to conduct business.
|Johnson Hotel, Hillsboro, Texas|
All of this meant that the demand for hotels in Hillsboro increased tremendously during the 1920's and 1930's. Three and four story hotels were built to accommodate the public. Hotels printed postcards for their customers, and ran ads to attract new business. One such ad read:
"The Hillsboro Hotel, conducted by Mrs. Bettie Foote, is an excellent place to board. Her table is always supplied with the best the market can afford. Boarders, especially those who have to put in their ten hours a day, find it greatly to their convenience, because they can depend on getting their meals at an early and regular hour. Mrs. Foote is a nice lady and thoroughly understands hotel keeping. The reputation of this hotel is well-known throughout the county, and her county friends know when they come to town and stop at her hotel they will get a good meal, and pay a reasonable price for the same."
|Hotel Del Mar, Hillsboro, Texas|
As travel became even more prevalent, one-story motels like the Good Luck Courts and the Sands Motel opened. During the 1960's and 1970's when the Dallas Cowboys' football games were blacked out in the D/FW area, fans would travel to Hillsboro for the weekend to watch the game being broadcast on television stations out of the Waco-Temple area. Dick West, owner of the Good Luck Courts, would even rent out chairs in the front lobby just to allow visitors to watch the games. Many of these fans were regular customers, enjoying Dick's company as much as they did the game.
|Hotel Wear, Hillsboro, Texas|
Beginning in the 1960's, the current Interstate system of roads in the United States began to redirect traffic from the center of towns. Traffic through downtown Hillsboro began to decline. Chain hotels opened on the interstate, and downtown hotels eventually closed.