Downtown Corpus Christi is full of old buildings that have been re-purposed and put to uses other than those for which they were originally built. In some cases, the look of the building bears no resemblance to its former self. In others, "the look" is still there, but its function is totally different from that for which the building was first constructed.
This is the case for the building that sits on the corner of Mesquite and William Street, now called Lomax Street.
Today, the building is the home of a place called "The Exchange", a casual dining pub with live music, pool tables, a comedy club night, etc. (I've never been, but sounds like a neat place).
Before The Exchange, the building housed a number of different restaurants that came and went like clockwork. I most remember "La Bahia", which occupied the building for a number of years in the early 2000's.
The building sits on a site with lots of history behind it.
In the late 1800's, it was the site of Louis de Planque's home and studio. He was one of the foremost photographers in the state, photographing virtually every prominent person in South Texas between 1875 and 1898 (including my great-great grandparents and my great grandmother). Photographs taken after the great Hurricane of 1919 show that only a single house, facing William remained standing on that site. It had been the former studio of Louis de Planque.
Sometime in the late 1920's, the building that now houses The Exchange was constructed, but not for use as a restaurant.
Its original purpose was to house the "Heyser-Edwards Ford" dealership.
That company then sold out to Roy Murray in 1934 and he operated the Ford dealership in the building until at least 1943.
In 1947, the building was converted into an office supply department store, housing the company of "Maverick-Clarke".
It operated in the building until 1973 when the name was changed to "Litton Office Products Center".
Litton appears to have gone out of business there sometime after 1976.
Robert Parks is a special contributor to KRIS 6 News. Parks was a history teacher at Carroll High School for 19 years and is now retired. His knowledge of Corpus Christi history makes him a unique expert in the subject.