Vandal strikes museum

(VHA Photo | DB) The historic Clark Hotel Museum was vandalized last Monday.
(VHA Photo | DB) The historic Clark Hotel Museum was vandalized last Monday.

Year’s end marked by vandalism

By Lisa Morton

Culberson County Sheriff Deputy Olivia Legarretta was dispatched Monday, December 31, to the Clark Hotel Museum on Broadway on a reported break-in. Damage to a window on the ground floor west side was discovered. The broken window was discovered on Sunday and eventually reported to museum director Patricia Golden on Monday. After Officer Legarretta’s initial processing of the scene, Golden’s subsequent survey revealed that nothing seemed to have been stolen and no other damage other than the broken window was found. The Advocate was requested to be on hand to document exterior damage and any possible interior damage.

The local landmark is no stranger to vandalism. Golden did not want to compromise any evidence that could result in an arrest this time around. Break-ins have occurred in the past, and the building itself survived a devastating fire in 1987 where extensive interior damage occurred.

Recorded as Texas Historic Landmark in 1971, the plaque states: “First permanent structure in Van Horn. Earliest portion (built 1901) housed original city post office. Main portion was built in 1905-06 by John Cox of concrete blocks handmade by crew on site. In 1911-12, when Culberson was newly organized, served as the county courthouse. Until 1918, when converted to hotel by Fred Clark, structure was site for theatrical programs and school graduations and housed a saloon, offices, and all kinds of shops.”

Golden hopes the investigation will result in the arrest of a suspect with serious charges stating that the museum belongs to all the citizens of Culberson County and Van Horn and this violation should be felt by us all. If anyone has information about or knows of any unusual activity that occurred at the museum this past weekend, please call the Sheriff’s office at 432-283-2060.