Lately, if you've been downtown Texarkana you have probably have noticed all the changes going on from the historic Grim Hotel to the bank building which are both being restored back to their original beauty. I went for a walk downtown recently and memories of my childhood started coming back to me.

As I neared the Union Station memories of the Jefferson Coffee Shop came to mind. If you grew up here, you should have some memories as well. You see, back then there were no Starbucks, as a matter of fact, there were several coffee shop diners in this town. However, the one I remember the most was the Jefferson Coffee Shop adjacent to the old McCartney Hotel.  Not only did they specialize in hot fresh coffee daily but they also served up some great home-cooked food. It was the place where Texarkanians gathered before or after church and passengers from the nearby Union Station would frequent on their way through Texarkana. No matter what time of day you visited the coffee shop the service was always friendly. The Jefferson Coffee Shop with its tall picturesque windows, pattern tiled flooring complete with stools and tables that gave it that diner feel was reminiscent of a Humprey Bogart movie. Booths were eventually added in the 1950s giving it that nostalgic malt shop look and feel.

History tells us that in 1963, a fire broke out and destroyed much of the shop prompting it to finally close its doors in 1972. The Jefferson Coffee Shop was located on State Line Ave when the state line went all the way to Union Station but eventually was blocked out because of the Bi-State Justice Center that was built. One of my favorite memories was going there with my grandfather where he would always buy a cigar from their display case.

Downtown Texarkana was a robust community back in those days, and I am pleased that many investors and the local business folks are trying to restore some of the glory days of our past to the present. If everything continues the way it's going downtown, the future looks bright for generations to come.

Do you remember the Jefferson Coffee Shop?

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