|If these hills could speak, the land where La Hacienda now rests would tell a captivating tale. Elizabeth Compton Joy, affectionately known as “Grandma Joy” was the first to pave the way to healing on our soil. From 1872 to 1920, Grandma Joy served as the local doctor in Hunt, traveling on horseback with her medicine bag.
In 1922, Issac and Elver Ann Zumwalt built a 15-room wooden hotel where La Hacienda now resides. In 1924, the hotel was devastated by a fire. The family moved to the nearby town of Kerrville and sold the property to the Taylors.
For seventeen years, the Taylors farmed, built a blacksmith shop, and raised eight children together on 33 acres that included our hilltop. In September 1943, Nancy Taylor sold the acreage that she and her late husband (who died of a heart attack in 1941) had owned for seventeen years to a fellow named Claude David, or “C.D.” This magical crook of earth seemed ideal for a small, exclusive hotel.
B.N. “Pete” Schumacher was hired to construct the two-story stone building with a red tile roof that is still in use today. The first floor held an office and a dining room with a 130-person seating capacity. The second floor had twenty rooms with private baths and cross-ventilation.1 This area is now known as La Hacienda’s “Therapy Row.” In 1946, the hammers and nails were finally put to rest and the name “Hill Top Hotel” marked the very same building where a new kind of magic is taking place today.
C.D. managed the property until 1954 when he sold the hotel to a man from Houston named J.W. Colvin. Named after Camille Bermann, owner and chef of Maxims in Houston, the Villa Camille resort was recognized for fine dining and internationally famous dishes. Eventually, the resort went private and access to the facility was limited to its members. Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio are also said to have been guests at the famed facility that now hosts the La Hacienda Treatment Center.
In 1971, the Villa Camille hotel changed hands once again and was briefly called the La Hacienda Resort. In 1972, the word Resort changed to Treatment Center and since that time, visitors have done far more than playing cards and resting up.
The foundation of hard work passed down from the Taylor family lives on, as does Grandma Joy’s spirit of healing. Our founders, owners, physicians and staff consist of a small group of individuals who are passionate and dedicated to La Hacienda’s mission of treating patients and family members who are struggling with the disease of addiction.
Written by Jennifer King, www.jkingmarketing.com – 10/5/2011
1 Jeanne Sutton. Hunt. Texas – The Early Years, 1857-1959 © 2011 p. 109