The popular restaurant at Hannibal has been closed for several years, but Richard Stewart has rented the downstairs, renovated the property and is set to reopen at 6 a.m. Monday.
The Hannibal community is made up of folks whose handshake is a hearty welcome and whose word is as good as a signed contract. Many of the population have ancestors that homesteaded the land after the War Between the States and bought their first television sets in the 1960s.
Today’s Hannibal consists of modern homes, set back in the rolling green hills and along beside dusty winding roads. There is a cemetery with an historical marker; a small Methodist Church where a preacher comes once a month, (Monty Stewart, retired Methodist minister and lifetime resident, says about the once a month service, “We don’t sin as much as some folks!”) and Hannibal Masonic Lodge #564.
The wooden two-story building where the Lodge members meet was bought and moved from the dying town of Thurber in the late 1920s.
It has been noted that the building was cut into three sections and moved to its present site by mules and horse-drawn skids. It was set down and put back together by lodge members and sits beside Highway 108, 13 miles north of Stephenville.
It is at home on a piece of land that was donated by George and Nora Stewart at the time it was moved. The building belongs to the Lodge that meets upstairs. The bottom floor is leased commercially. Proceeds from the lease with other funds contributed by the Masonic Lodge, are given in the way of scholarships to graduates of Huckabay High School back down the highway a couple of miles.
The bottom floor of the Lodge building has been a store or restaurant most of the years it has set there and watched scattered traffic make its way north to Stephenville or south 13 miles to Interstate 20.
In the 1920s it was a grocery store as it had been in Thurber during the days of the multiple coal mines. The Gerganius family sold groceries there as did several others after the building was relocated from Thurber to Hannibal. These families included the Gordons, Fulfers, Morings, Venables, Gardners, Careys, McInroe Sisters, Stockstills, Halls and perhaps others.
For a while in the 1940s and 1950s there were gas pumps. Several senior citizens admit that as teenagers they sometimes ‘ran on fumes’ as they coasted down Hannibal Hill to get to those gas pumps.
As the need arose, those renting the downstairs began selling light snacks, then sandwiches, drinks and finally somebody rented space and a restaurant was opened. The restaurant was popular from the beginning and has attracted travelers off the well-traveled highway as well as from nearby towns and communities.
Richard has had friends and family to help and the inside of this over 100 year old building has a brand new look.
There is new flooring, paint, kitchen equipment, tables and chairs and a clock that came from the Battleship Texas.
Don Bromwell, a resident of Huckabay, loaned the clock for display.
If this is your first time to enjoy the food and conversation while seated at one of the red and white checked table cloth covered tables, you will be back. If you enjoy fresh-fried catfish, breaded with good Southern cornmeal, ice-tea so cold it grabs you by the throat and conversation punctuated with laughter, you have found what you have been looking for at Hannibal Restaurant.