South Texas’ Historical Preservation

Project Restoration of Downtown Cotulla Launched

By Bryan Vargas  
Photography By Rodolfo Guzman

Recently, Ceci and John Keck hosted a reception in their Laredo home for Paula Coates and Bill Buntin, who introduced the start of their new project to revitalize Cotulla’s historic downtown to a group of 60 South Texas ranchers and friends. The couple has purchased the Gallman/Kerr building located on Front Street and they are planning a historic restoration and rehabilitation in order to create a sports bar in the full basement and a quality full-service restaurant on the first floor. We love the history behind this. Built in 1883, the Gallman/Kerr building was the first masonry brick two-story commercial building constructed in Cotulla. It previously was a dry goods and mercantile store and served as the offices for Cotulla State Bank, chartered in 1907.

The building has retained many historic features that include its stamped-tin ceilings and the bank’s walk-in vault. Coates and Buntin have engaged architect Jack Rice Turner who will work with the City of Cotulla, it’s Main Street Board, and the Texas Historical Commission to preserve and restore this community’s historic building and they estimate the work should be completed and open for business in six months.

Seen in the crowd were  Bill Cotulla, former Mayor of Cotulla and Chamber of Commerce President; Jim Gates, Vice President of Jourdanton State Bank and his wife Shanna; South Texas ranchers Linda and Buddy Bruni, Alice and Steve Whitworth, Larry Friedman and Kathleen Dawson, Fernando Zuniga, Evelyn and Caroll Summers, Patsy Leigh, Executive Director of Cotulla Main Street and Jorge Kurzcyn, who will craft the furniture for the bar and restaurant.

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