A Phoenix is often used as the symbol of rebirth – for overcoming hard times. The symbol in downtown Texarkana is the moon. A silver moon to be exact. Silvermoon on Broad opened its doors in September of 2011 and has since become a beacon of optimism for downtown and standard for the rush of revitalization.
The owners and proprietors, Josh and Diana Morriss, have made it their mission to set an example for others that care about Texarkana – its history and its future. Standing in
the beautiful surroundings of the four buildings that make up The Silvermoon on Broad, you’d think they’d always looked this way, but it was out of the ashes and rubble that the Silvermoon rose.
As early as 2002, the city of Texarkana, TX was bull-dozing properties all around the Silvermoon’s location. The 200 block of Broad Street lost the end building in 2002, but because the adjoining buildings were eligible for the historic registry, the city wasn’t able to
demolish them. The history of the location is rich. It had once been a hotel for rail workers called The Silvermoon, Beasley Music store, and Timberlake Hardware.
When the Morrisses purchased the buildings in February of 2007 on the recommendation of then-director of Main Street Texarkana, Bethany Hanna, you could see the sky from the bottom of the three-story building.
Hanna had said that if something wasn’t done about the property soon, they could lose the entire block of buildings.Having not been properly maintained, the many years of neglect had taken its toll, and all of the buildings were decaying. “They were in awful shape,” Josh Morriss explained.
“We did have a structural engineer tell us that they could be saved. The one question I forgot to ask him was how much it would cost to save them,” Josh joked.
Once the decision to purchase and revitalize was made, the next decision was who would do it correctly and well. The couple needed a historical restoration architect, and Tommy Jameson of Little Rock was the one most recommended. The revitalization started by emptying the building of rubble. Sixty-three tons of “junk” was emptied out by the couple and some very helpful friends.
In all, the reconstruction took four years to complete, but each detail was carefully orchestrated. The Morrisses tried to reuse old materials in the new space; Old beams were repurposed to become the wood floor in the gallery. An old mural from the previously housed “Singer” sewing machine store was saved in the new courtyard space. The rustic feel of the walls was kept in several spaces to keep the character.
In September of 2011, the rebirth was completed. The official opening was even celebrated with a musical. Mr. Morriss had written it. Texarkana the Musical ushered in a double premiere with The Silvermoon on Broad. In the years since opening its doors, the Silvermoon has housed and hosted numerous weddings, open houses, receptions, parties,
class reunions, dances, marriage proposals, business meetings, and performances. It was rebuilt to be a meeting place, an events center.
The Silvermoon on Broad has received the ALT magazine Best Indoor Wedding Venue award for four years running. The beautiful craftsmanship and style make it a wonderful place for pictures as well. And its effect on downtown? The beautiful Silvermoon on Broad has been both an inspiration and a catalyst for growth.
More and more business-minded people have seen what the couple strived to do, and have made their own efforts to not only visit the area more often but plant the seeds of their businesses in downtown also. Just drive around downtown today and look at the signs for places like Flour Child Fine Foods, Pecan Point Brewery, Verona, BubbleCraft Soapworks, The Beauty Barr, Knock on Wood, the Ritchie building etc. The Silvermoon has made it possible for others to see the possibilities of the downtown area and the benefits of revitalization.
It took a big step of faith from Josh and Diana Morriss to buy those decaying buildings over 10 years ago and start this project for the good of Texarkana. Yet, we are so thankful that they did. Slowly and surely, life is coming back to downtown. The ‘Moon has risen.
If you’d like to have your event at the Silvermoon, you may contact Diana or Josh Morriss at 903-792-0562 or visit their website to find information on their very flexible style of hospitality at silvermoononbroad.com.