Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Travel Guide: Dabbs Railroad Hotel in Llano, Texas (The Haunted Bonnie & Clyde Hideout)

If you were travelling the Austin and Northwestern Railroad in the early 1900s, you would have wished to stay in your seat to ensure that your train car continued down the rail expansion to Llano, where it ended just minutes from the picturesque shores of the Llano River. You could have unloaded and walked for less than a block along the Llano streets to your nice overnight accommodations at the Dabbs Railroad Hotel! The melodic sounds of the Llano River, breezy porches, and grounds of shady glades provided rest and creature amenities for travellers. Unfortunately, the train to Llano no longer runs, although the tracks are still in place. The Dabbs, thankfully, do as well.

Built-in 1906, this historic two-story railroad hotel is now a bed-and-breakfast destination in Llano. The Dabbs features seven rooms, an enclosed sleeping porch, and four historic train hotel baths. All of these have been restored but adapted for modern amenities. Free “fluffy” bathrobes are provided, and the soothing sounds of the Llano River.

On the north of the river in Llano, at 112 E. Burnet St., is the Dabbs Hotel. When the hotel is not booked for group events, individual rooms are available for rent.

History of the Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Dabbs Railroad Hotel

The Dabbs Railroad Hotel is a rich, colourful, and notorious landmark. This motel sheltered numerous people, including railway and bank robbers, gold and silver prospectors, miners, ranchers, law enforcement officers, and even criminals like Bonnie and Clyde. The Dabbs, which opened in 1907, primarily serviced railroad employees on the Historic Austin and Northwestern Railroad region, from Fairland to Llano. Before returning to Austin, these workers dined and stayed the night. In addition, trains were bringing livestock, cotton, and minerals extracted from over thirty-seven mines in Llano County at the time. At one point, the hotel even functioned as a bordello.

The Dabbs Railroad Hotel is situated beside the lovely Llano River. The nicest view, virtually in our backyard, is the enthralling vista of the Llano Bridge, which frames the magnificent waterfall cascading over the dam and falling over the rocks. The Llano River, on which the hotel is built, originates near the town of Junction, where it begins its one-hundred-mile journey to the Colorado River and Lake L.B.J. This spring-fed creek is well-known for its beauty as it winds through the Hill Country.

This area is known as the Llano Uplift, and it is one of the state’s major geologic characteristics. Guests at the Dabbs Hotel are lucky to enjoy direct access to the river, where there is a quiet spot to swim or sunbathe. This freshly refurbished hotel transforms an already intriguing historic site into a unique event space for all occasions or simply an elegant getaway from reality.

Ownership of Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Chuck and Brittany Baker acquired the Dabbs Hotel in downtown Llano’s Historic Railroad District. Brittany was born in Llano and grew up on the family ranch approximately 20 miles northwest of town, where the family company has been passed down for generations. A Texas Tech University graduate, she spent 25 years teaching, first in Snook and then in San Antonio, where she worked in real estate and interior design.

Brittany met the love of her life, Chuck, in 2015, and they quickly chose to return to her hometown of Llano, TX. Originally from La Vernia, Texas, Chuck had always worked in construction and operated a successful painting business where he also acquired crafts that would aid him later in life when he worked restoring homes and businesses.

Chuck and Brittany both have railroad ancestors. After returning from Vietnam, Chuck’s father worked as a track inspector for the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico for the rest of his life. After 42 years as a telegraph operator at the Llano depot, Brittany’s grandfather retired from the railroad. Her mother worked in and operated a water well company across the street from the Dabbs Hotel for 33 years.

She recalls spending time in the depot with her grandfather as a child, riding the bus to the tracks after school to go to her mother’s office. She would look across the tracks at the Dabbs Hotel, which had seen better days at the time, never realising that one day, that special place with so much history would be hers.

Dabbs Railroad Hotel Development


It was a new venture for both of them, and the new entrepreneurs had never worked in the hotel industry. Brittany decided to create a wine bar in Llano after one of her numerous trips to Napa. They purchased and rebuilt an old wine bar on the square, renaming it The Barrel House, and residents and visitors flocked to the new bar and music venue until the epidemic forced them to close.

Everything changed when they were in the process of purchasing the building. They rejected the opportunity to buy the facility and walked away from a booming business because they were afraid of the future. One and half years later, they sought a better location to reopen The Barrel House and located the right spot that was no longer available for purchase. Unfortunately, the proprietor of that firm also owned the Dabbs Hotel, which was up for sale and directly over the railroad lines from the business they wanted to purchase. When they realised that restarting their dream business was not going to materialise, the Dabbs began calling to them. The dream evolved into a historic end-of-line train hotel on the Llano River at this point.

Chuck worked extensively for months after purchasing the hotel in October 2021 to bring it up to modern standards for their visitors while Brittany designed the property. All of the effort put in by both parties paid off. The metamorphosis from the little motel it once was is remarkable and continues to this day. Guests may now stay in magnificent riverbank elegance at the Dabbs Hotel.

Historic Dabbs Railroad Hotel

The Dabbs Railroad Hotel in Llano was the end of the line for those journeying west by train more than a century ago. To accommodate those travellers, the Dabbs was built.

On the hills of the Llano River, the Dabbs Railroad Hotel and B&B, which opened in 1907, has an iconic status in Central Texas, the Texas Hill Country, and the Llano community.

The Dabbs is a living museum that offers a one-of-a-kind hotel experience. It is the last of the old Texas Railroad and River Hotels and a one-of-a-kind event location that is lovely, charming, and sophisticated.

Since the early 1900s, this freshly renovated historic hideaway has served as a hotel in Llano. The hotel was the last railway stop along with the old granite quarrying. This iron-horse road stretched through the Hill Country, connecting Austin and Llano and following the general paths of the Texas Colorado and Llano Rivers on the edge of the wild Texas frontier. Therefore, it was necessary to change to a stagecoach at the Dabbs Hotel to travel further west.

The Dabbs Railroad Hotel is not only iconic but also infamous!

The hotel’s history is rich, colourful, and infamous, as it was a favourite hangout of Bonnie and Clyde! The Dabbs Railroad Hotel has seen train and bank thieves, gold and silver prospectors, miners, ranchers, law enforcement officers and outlaws, and even the hotel’s ghost. During the height of Llano’s ancient, wild frontier days, the hotel even served as a bordello for a short time!

Over the past 115 years, the Dabbs Railroad Hotel bed & breakfast in Llano has seen its fortunes grow and fall. The historical accommodations aren’t for everyone, but the hotel is a sanctuary along the banks of the Llano River in the Hill Country for individuals who share a sense of history and togetherness.

The Dabbs is reminiscent of a bygone period of hosteling.

The hotel isn’t a run-of-the-mill chain hotel; it’s an experience!

It does, however, feature conference facilities, a large dining hall, a professional-grade kitchen, and one of the nicest views of the river, the old iron bridge, and the county courthouse on the other side. In addition, it features a lovely planted backyard with a deck that overlooks it all. The Dabbs is a blank canvas waiting to be painted with stories and experiences.

Years of remembrances have polished the well-worn pine walls. The hotel was constructed when Llano was a resort town at the end of the railroad line. Families from Austin and Houston would visit for vacations.

Bonnie and Clyde, soldiers from Fort Hood, and travelling salespeople visited the hotel. Aside from being a hotel, the structure has also served as a private residence, a hay barn, and a fried chicken restaurant.

Property Transformation

Gary Smith transformed the property into a rural hideaway in the 1980s, with a laid-back ambience, a bonfire in the back yard, and a seediness that some visitors appreciated and others found to be a cultural shock. Griffith says, “Gary is a character.” “He has a cult following and a million stories.” Unfortunately, the hotel deteriorated as Smith’s health deteriorated (he’s much better today).

In 2006, Phyllis Farr Alexander purchased the hotel and restored it to its former glory. As a result, guests can now enjoy the same experience they had more than a century ago.

“There were holes in the floors when I bought the building,” Phyllis Farr Alexander explains. So she started renovating the house about two years ago. “The core construction is sound,” she explains, “but we had to strip the building down to the studs and start from scratch.”

As a result, the building’s historical character is preserved while providing comfortable lodgings. Alexander doubled the number of bathrooms and updated the dormitory-style sleeping area. She also installed new plumbing and electricity, including wireless Internet access.

The resort has additional new private bathrooms on all the guest rooms (except 1 room).  There are 5 guest rooms with a king or queen bed with additional private bathrooms on each. There is also a two-bedroom suite with queen beds that also has a private bathroom and balcony.

The hotel was renovated to a vintage glam style with private bathrooms, luxurious linens and new plush queen and king beds. The super luxurious bridal/special occasion suite is designed in hues of light blue, gold and white with a sitting area, 10 windows and a private bathroom. The hosts also offer a dozen roses, fresh flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries as an add-on to the room reservation for the guests.

Haunting Stories from the Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Dabbs Railroad Hotel

The Dabbs’ hallways are rumoured to be haunted by other souls. Several guests have reported paranormal encounters such as ghosts in the chamber, weird footsteps, and voices from a particular gang of criminals.

Robber Hideout

In the early 1930s, the Dabbs is said to have been a hideout for notorious robbers Bonnie and Clyde. A distinct possibility; the outlaws grew up in Texas and committed a slew of horrible crimes throughout the state.

Passengers leaving the Texas Hill Country frequently stopped at the hotel. Kenny Hare of the Llano Ghost Society, a paranormal group, has toured the motel with special equipment. He used a “ghost box,” a high-tech AM/FM radio scanner hacked to operate more than ten channels a second to pick up unusual noises.

Paranormal Encounter

Gregory Klein didn’t know much about The Dabbs Hotel’s history when he first moved around 2014. It took only a night or two to be introduced to the paranormal.

Klein was sleeping in the top, northern bedroom, between wakefulness and sleep when the mind is more open to paranormal things. Then he sensed something else in the room with him, another presence. An apparition approached Klein and leapt on his chest. Klein was fighting both the creature and the need to awaken from his dreamy condition at this point.

Klein’s encounter with the otherworldly isn’t new to Will Light, a paranormal investigator with more than 40 years of expertise. In Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana, Light has examined the paranormal at various structures and locations. He and his team worked in  Light Paranormal Investigations, and a few other brave souls spent the night in The Dabbs in June 2015.

The story and history of Bonnie & Clyde

Bonny & Clyde

If Bonnie and Clyde didn’t have a passion for robbing banks and murdering people, the couple whose wedding we celebrated on a humid July night could have been Bonnie and Clyde.

Both couples enjoyed going on road vacations, taking silly photos, driving Fords, and spending time with their families. While the love of family and visiting relatives assisted Texas Ranger Frank Hamer in apprehending and killing Bonnie and Clyde, our friends had no reservations about meeting with close and extended family on this momentous night.

A wedding venue with a tale to tell –

The couple made it legal in Llano, Texas, approximately an hour from Austin. Until 1875, Llano was the westernmost point in the United States. Even today, as you cross US 281 on Highway 71 and leave hustle of Austin far behind, you can visualise that frontier.

The bride, groom, and guests had taken over a Llano venue in service for nearly a century. It is largely as a hotel and briefly as a bordello.

It was also a layover for Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, a famous Texas pair. Bonnie’s essays and amusing images unearthed in some of their abandoned safe houses helped the duo become national superstars during the “Public Enemy” era (1931-1935).

Parker and Barrow both grew up in the West Dallas neighbourhood. Bonnie kept a diary for a long time in early 1929, giving us a glimpse into her adolescent years. She wrote of her loneliness, her dissatisfaction with life in rural Dallas, and her love of photography in that journal.

Bonnie was staying with a friend in January 1930 when Clyde Barrow strolled into the house and into the kitchen. Clyde appeared to be the answer to all of her diary woes, and the two fell in love. Unfortunately, the police sent Barrow to Eastham Prison Farm three months later for a spree of robberies. However, Clyde’s game improved while he was in prison. While there, he killed his first inmate, smashing the skull of a fellow convict who had allegedly sexually abused him. Clyde had toughened since his release in 1932.

A Chase & Run

There were seven rooms plus a huge sleeping porch for the bachelors or youngsters when Bonnie and Clyde “spent their vacation” at the Dabbs. Except for the addition of air conditioning and the enclosing of the sleeping porch, little has changed since the 1930s.

  • While the Dabbs Hotel is adjacent to the Llano River, there is also public swimming and float area. The public park is located on the other side of the Roy Inks Bridge, across Highway 71 at the spillway.
  • The river separates the town centre and the elegant 1893 county courthouse from the hotel and abandoned train depot.

By 1934, Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow had launched a deadly cat and mouse chase across thousands of miles of rural roads in the American southwest until they were ambushed by a posse of six men, ending their lives and creating their legend.

Officers shot Clyde Champion Barrow and his companion, Bonnie Parker, to death. It was after one of the most colourful and dramatic manhunts the country had ever seen. Barrow was wanted for murder, robbery, and state counts of kidnapping, and he was suspected of several homicides.

Bonnie and Clyde stopped at Room 305 in 1933 in the Dabbs Railroad Hotel while attempting to elude the cops. They had a clear view of E. Exchange and N. Main from their vantage point, making it a good lookout for incoming law enforcement officers. In addition, there was a gun that belonged to Bonnie left there. The 52 rooms in this hotel have been rebuilt and furnished in an Old West style. Its bar, complete with saddles for bar stools, is a draw in and of itself. 

Weddings in the Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Wedding Arrangement

In the historic railroad section of Llano, Texas, the recently refurbished Dabbs Hotel provides an intimate location for your destination wedding. The site has been a lovely riverfront venue for many years for exchanging wedding vows and celebrating momentous occasions. It’s a spectacular setting that offers excellent value for money. With the Llano River, Roy Inks Bridge, and gorgeous courthouse in the background. The owner offers a lovely wedding on the nicely designed green luscious grass.

The team of Dabbs Hotel work with local businesses to provide stress-free options for the couple. These include hair and make-up salons, flower shops, table, chair, and linen rentals, bakeries for wedding cakes and other sweets. Guests can also collaborate with local caterers for a variety of food options.

For $1850, with a maximum of 275 wedding guests, it includes

  • the use of the kitchen,
  • cooking supplies,
  • thirty-person indoor dining tables and chairs,
  • thirty-person outdoor dining tables and chairs,
  • big terraced grass,
  • two fire pits,
  • three covered patios, and
  • lawn equipment.

It is a great place to have the rehearsal dinner and have relatives, wedding party or guests stay for an additional 24 hours. This is at the same rate for the entire weekend. Due to cleaning the rooms after previous guests check out, guest rooms are ready by 3 pm on arrival.

Galas, Parties, and Events in the Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Dabbs Railroad Hotel

Two downstairs restrooms, a covered side patio, a dining/meeting area, a lounge with TV, a covered front porch and back deck, and three plush landscaped terraces. The hourly rate is $100, with a $300 minimum.

Dabbs Railroad Hotel is a guesthouse with supernatural presence and hauntings. Because of its location in the middle of Texas’ Granite Highlands, Llano was earlier famous as “the city of crystals”. It drew a diverse cast of personalities through its doors. It is the ideal spot to stay if you’re travelling with family or friends. On the deck, you can have a delicious cup of coffee in the morning. The Llano River is visible from the porch. The resort is located on the banks of the Llano river and has private river access for guests.

You’ll appreciate taking in the stunning scenery, a favourite wedding venue.

THE DABBS RAILROAD HOTEL was a home-away-from-home for railroad crew members who remained overnight and returned to Austin the next day.


The Dabbs is a living and habitable museum that serves as a one-of-a-kind hotel. The Dabbs Hotel is a one-of-a-kind establishment that is both attractive and sophisticated. Since the early 1900s, this recently restored Bed and Breakfast (B&B) has served as a hotel in Llano. The hotel was the last railway stop along with the old granite quarrying. This iron-horse road stretched through the Hill Country, connecting Austin and Llano. It follows the general paths of the Texas Colorado and Llano Rivers on the edge of the wild Texas frontier. This railway line crosses the Llano River in the heart of the Llano Uplift.

It’s also the only hotel or B&B in Llano that’s right on the Llano River’s pure, spring-fed water. The Dabbs’ casual dining area, large back deck, and beautifully landscaped backyard offer an unobstructed, close-up view of the Llano River Waterfalls. The picturesque, romantic, old-style iron-truss bridge connects the Railyard District and Llano’s Badu Park with Llano’s Town Square and Main Street District — all within a short walk. The hotel is the only place in Llano that offers amazing views (of any type).

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