Landmark Inn State Historic Site

By: Ruben E. Ochoa

Type: General Entry

Published: March 1, 1995

Updated: September 3, 2016

Landmark Inn State Historic Site is on the west bank of the Medina River in Castroville, Medina County. In 1849 Frenchman César Monod, who became mayor of Castroville in 1852, purchased a town lot from Henri Castro; he bought an adjoining lot from Michel Simon the next year. There he built a large one-story structure with a rear detached kitchen. Monod used the main structure as a home and a dry-goods store. Irish merchant John Vance purchased the property on February 23, 1853, and built a 1½-story family residence between the original main structure and the Medina River. He also added a second story and first and second floor galleries to the main structure to make the Vance Hotel. A two-story bathhouse built in the courtyard during the Civil War provided the only man-made bath between San Antonio and Eagle Pass. Vance sold frontage along the Medina River to George L. Haass and Laurent Quintle in 1854. The partners built a dam to divert water through an underground mill race to power a two-story stone gristmill. In 1990 the well-preserved mill and arched stone waterway offered visitors an instructional view of the pioneer agricultural industry.

Joseph Courand purchased the mill property in 1876. That year the first issue of the Castroville Era was published in the Vance Hotel. Courand's mill prospered for several decades and around 1900 was expanded to include lumber milling. In 1925 Jordan T. Lawler acquired the mill, inn, residence, and outbuildings. He converted the mill to an electrical generating plant that provided Castroville's first electrical power. Around the time of World War II the hotel was renamed Landmark Inn; it was donated to the state of Texas in 1974. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department conducted an extensive archeological survey of the site and discovered numerous artifacts, primarily under flooring where the general store stood. At the same time the inn, gristmill, bathhouse, kitchen, and grounds were renovated, and a museum and other exhibits were installed. The area was opened as a historic site in 1981. The inn accommodates overnight guests in rooms featuring furnishings reminiscent of the 1940s. Effective January 1, 2008, operational control of Landmark Inn State Historic Site was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission.

Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). Mark Parsons and R. E. Burnett, Landmark Inn State Historic Site: Archeology Investigations, Medina County, Texas, 1975–1980 (Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 1985). Visitor Guide to Castroville, Texas (map, Castroville Chamber of Commerce, 1988–89).


  • Archeology
  • Land Sites
  • Peoples
  • Irish
  • Business

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ruben E. Ochoa, “Landmark Inn State Historic Site,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2022,

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March 1, 1995
September 3, 2016