There's something about an abandoned building that draws people in. From the outside your mind wonders, what happened here? Why was this once well maintained building or home left to rot.

There was a time when most people only saw these abandoned buildings and businesses from the road. Now, in the 21st century, it's a safe bet that someone is going to sneak inside with a video camera and share what they've found with the world.

That's exactly what happened recently with the old Holiday Inn hotel along I-44 here in Wichita Falls. Nick, who operates a YouTube channel called Exploring with Project BAD, snuck into the abandoned hotel to shoot some video.

While Nick readily admits he's not supposed to be there, it's hard to stop watching as he explores this once beautiful building.

Not too long ago I was part of a team that hosted a conference with attendees from several states at this very location. Even in 2014 it was apparent that the building needed some updating and upkeep, but the staff was outstanding and enthusiastic about making our event a success and making sure all of the guests were happy.

The hotel has also hosted Corvette Club annual gatherings and car shows, wedding receptions, anniversaries, and any number of other events over the years.

Then came the 2015 floods that ended our multi-year drought and soaked the basement and first floor of the Hotel at Wichita Falls. It never reopened after that and probably never will.

Dave Diamond
Dave Diamond

Since that time the building has been visited by a number of people who have either left their mark with spray-painted graffiti or by knocking out new holes and doorways in the drywall between rooms.

With its colorful (retro?) swimming pool area, its beautiful Grand Ballroom, its two-level suites with a spiral staircase between them, it's sad to see what was once one of the nicest hotels and event centers in Wichita Falls come to this, but that's the way of things. With its location prone to flooding from the Wichita River the likelihood of this hotel being cleaned up and reopened or even razed and a fresh building erected is slim. What many in town would like to see is the building gone and a park put there in its place. I'd take that one step further and add a walking bridge from the park area to the falls. Right now the nearest parking place to the falls is Lucy Park and it's a pretty good hike for some to make it all the way to the falls and back.

Dave Diamond
Dave Diamond

From where the Hotel at Wichita Falls sits now the falls are just a short walk.

None of that is likely to happen any time soon, though. The building is not owned by the city so the city cannot step in and remove it. While there is cosmetic damage to the outside and inside there are no structural issues that would make it dangerous enough to be condemned and cause its removal.

For now, the Hotel at Wichita Falls, formerly the Holiday Inn, formerly the Radisson, formerly the Sheraton Inn, stands by the side of the road welcoming Southbound travelers into Wichita Falls, and occasionally hosting a YouTuber with a video camera.

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