Texarkana’s timelessness

Entrepreneur recounts upcoming 1894 City Market, speakeasy plans 

Photo by Peyton Sims
David Peavy poses while standing atop the roof of the Texarkana National Bank. The currently abandoned bank will soon be remodeled into apartment complexes.

Story by Peyton Sims, editor in chief

Vacant streets. Crumbling bricks. Forgotten history. Downtown Texarkana was once known for its thriving past; which has steadily diminished since the early 20th century. While there are plenty of new businesses that are opening within the city left and right, some have joined together to ensure that the buzzing streets and the unforgettable nightlife are brought back to what they once were. 

“When it comes to assisting with the development of downtown buildings, I simply saw a need, and I thought that these were worthy projects to undertake,” entrepreneur David Peavy said.

My biggest fear in life is becoming bored.”

— David Peavy

Starting off his career by running Service First Electrical and Plumbing in Texarkana, Peavy realized that he craved to do something more with his life: create. Ever since he was young, there has always been something inside of him that drew him to the rustic brick buildings that sat in downtown Texarkana.

When a new project begins to come to life in downtown Texarkana, it’s likely that Peavy won’t be far from the scene. Peavy has heavily contributed to the development and reconstruction of The Texarkana National Bank as well as The Grim Hotel, both of which are to soon become apartments and housing.

The building first opened in 1894 — hence how it received its current name — and was bought by the wholesaler Texas Produce Co. The building was abandoned by 1990, leaving Peavy the opportunity to make his dreams of opening his own place come true. Within Peavy’s gallery today, visitors can view items such as old cans and bottles that were left behind from Ritchie Grocery Building. (Photo by Peyton Sims)

What was once Ritchie Grocery Building has since transitioned into a flourishing art gallery. The 1894 City Market not only holds exhibits from numerous different artists, but the gallery’s lofts and apartments act as a home to many individuals, including Peavy.

With a cup of coffee in hand and new ideas fresh on his mind, Peavy has started out his mornings with the best view in town for the past two years. From the gallery’s rooftop, buildings can be seen for miles to come. Peavy can recite the historical significance of each and every building downtown, and he’s determined to add to Texarkana’s history with his own creations.

Peavy currently owns the “The Flying Crow” which is a unique train car diner that sits in front of the 1894 City Market. From your seat in the diner, you can view the passing by trains from the window due to its close proximity to the track. As well as Peavy’s restaurant, he also has numerous new projects planned for the 1894 City Market. One of his primary projects is devoted to transforming an vacant basement into an underground speakeasy.

“We’re going to call it “The 1923 Banana Club” because [Ritchie Grocery Building] used to store bananas in the basement. The whole theme for everything is time travel,” Peavy said. “When you come into the gallery, you’re in 1894. Then you come down to the speakeasy, and you’re in 1923. After, you can walk over to the traincar to enter the 1940s. We’ve also just finished the 1971 studio which is [upstairs in the gallery].”

In the future, Peavy plans to host an event where a visitor can purchase a time traveling ticket in order to spend the afternoon attending the numerous different time period locations. Peavy has many other ideas up his sleeve, including events like Halloween murder mystery parties.

“I would like to get someone to impersonate the Phantom Killer next Halloween, and the guest could have a dinner ticket and a show ticket,” Peavy said. “The Phantom Killer impersonator could walk around to all of the couples’ tables and be like, ‘What are y’all doing out so late?’”

With the treacherous year of 2020 now officially behind a part of the past, 2021 will only bring forth new opportunities and projects for Peavy. To support his gallery and numerous other local businesses, visit the 1894 City Market at 105 Olive Street, Texarkana, Ark. or call (870)-330-5003 for more information.