Downtown businessman Allen Shy this month closed his purchase of Harper’s Hall, the oldest building on San Marcos’ courthouse square.
Built in 1873 as W.H. “Willie” Harper’s livery stable and blacksmith shop, the building also served at some point as an opera house of sorts. For decades, politicians roused Hays County crowds with orations delivered from the building’s second-floor balcony, according to a report published by the city of San Marcos’ Main Street program.
Shy said he plans renovations involving substantial interior reconstruction of the building at 139 E. Hopkins Street. He said he intends to begin work by the fall and will open a historical American-themed tavern in the 8,000 square foot building’s first floor. The property was appraised at $403,000 for this fiscal year by the Hays Central Appraisal District.
Benjamin Mark Brown closed his Draft Choice bar April 1 after being charged by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission with operating under a liquor license issued to the bar’s previous owner, Andrew Gregory Harkin. Brown faces a federal third-degree felony charge of falsifying a government document for allegedly trying to renew his state permit using Harkin’s name.
Along with Harper’s Hall, Shy acquired another of only 12 conditional use permits to operate bars in the central business district, a restriction designed to maintain a balance between daytime and night life businesses. With his wife Jamie, Shy owns J’s Bistro, in the groundfloor of the Roger’s Building at 202 N. LBJ Drive, and co-owns Rocky Larue’s, 138 N. LBJ Drive.
CORRECTION: The story was edited to say J’s Bistro is co-owned by Allen and Jamie Shy, not Amy Shy.