Riley’s Tavern In Hunter, Texas
When the cotton industry was flourishing, the town of Hunter sprang up along what is now considered Hunter Road. It was originally a stagecoach route from New Braunfels to San Marcos and also part of what is now the El Camino Real National Historic Trail. Early on in the 1880s, a saloon or gathering place known as Galloways in Hunter became a place for residents to socialize. There were several businesses in Hunter that were active until the decline of the cotton industry in the early 1920s. In the 1920s, another business sprang up in Hunter, the making of plaster figurines that were sold up and down the road from several stands. The sale of the figurines sustained several families in the area through the Great Depression. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the once active saloon in Hunter became active again under the name of Riley’s Tavern. J.C. Riley at age 17 was the 1st to obtain a liquor license in Texas after the repeal. Riley’s Tavern at 8894 Farm to Market 1102, Hunter, Texas, 78132, is still in existence after 100 years of being a saloon and 79 years after the repeal of Prohibition. Most of the building and many of the fixtures are original from the late 1800s and Riley’s still maintains its old time charm as a gathering place to socialize and listen to music.
Riley’s Tavern was alternately a tavern, then a house and then a package store and tavern. It was first the Galloway Saloon, then the home of the Bernardino Sanchez family in the 1920s and early 1930s and then became a Package Store and Riley’s Tavern. , On one of the original signs for Riley’s Tavern, you can see the imprint of a previous sign for Riley’s Package Store. (see Exhibit E) In the 1930s, there is record that the building was rented to Old Man Riley by the Sanchez family for $4 a month and then finally sold to (J.C.) James Curtis Riley (son) on November 3, 1942.
The little old tavern has been in operation for over 100 years. The first owner, Mr. Galloway, J.C. Riley’s uncle, ran it as a local saloon and store in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The square nails used in the original construction are still visible. It has the original bar-back and remains exactly as it was built except for an addition to the back made many years later to make room for the pool tables. J.C. Riley reported that the original bar was 22 feet by 2 feet out of a solid piece of black walnut however his mother sold it for five dollars.