J. P. Bryan “Looking Back” at Texas History with Birthday Celebration

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J. P. Bryan will celebrate his 80th birthday at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas, on January 17, 2020, “Looking Back” at his five decades of preserving Texas history. The conversational “Looking Back” program also includes dinner and raises funds for the Marathon History Museum and Marathon Library restoration and expansion.

The program promises to offer fascinating insight into Bryan’s lifetime of service and preserving Texas culture. Tickets to attend the event are available through the Gage Hotel. Bryan has served on the Texas Historical Commission, the Historical Foundation, the Institute of Texas Cultures, and the Pioneer Arts Foundation.

Renovating Gage Hotel Revitalizes Marathon

J. P. Bryan "Looking Back" at Texas History with Birthday Celebration

Photo: Facebook/Gage Hotel

Houston oilman Bryan and his wife, Mary Jon, purchased the deserted Gage Hotel for only $30,000 in 1978. Their dedicated restoration efforts brought the beautiful Mission-style hotel back to life, filling it with some of the Western art they had collected over the years. The Bryans’ efforts helped revitalize the remote West Texas town of Marathon (population 430) to become a popular tourist destination.

The Gage Hotel was built by rancher Alfred Gage in 1927 as a base for his immense ranching empire of 500,000+ acres. Gage hired acclaimed El Paso architect Henry Trost to design his Spanish-style hotel. Sadly, Gage only lived a year after the hotel opened. Famous guests who stayed at the original Gage Hotel during that time included Western novelist Zane Grey. He is believed to have written one of his best-known novels while staying there.

J. P. Bryan Sixth Generation Texan

J. P. Bryan "Looking Back" at Texas History with Birthday Celebration
Photo: Jo Ann Holt

A sixth-generation Texan, Bryan is a descendant of the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin. Bryan is a dedicated conservationist, preservationist, and a passionate collector of Western art and artifacts. Like most Texans, he has a special love for the rugged landscape of the Big Bend region. He recognized the historic value of the abandoned hotel and its importance to the region. He spent the last four decades working to restore the property and town.

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