Fanthorp Inn, located in Anderson, Texas, is a fine example of an early Texas stagecoach inn. It first opened its doors in 1834 and mainly served travelers on the La Bahia Trail. Over time it became an important postal stop between the growing cities of Houston and Austin and attracted a number of famous visitors and boarders, including Sam Houston, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. By the 1850s it had secured a reputation as an important place for residents and travelers alike to socialize, gossip, and conduct business.
Most of this success can be attributed to its original owner, a grieving English widower named Henry Fanthorp. After migrating to Texas in 1833 he purchased 1,100 acres of land in what would later become Grimes County. A large house built on the site was converted into an inn and became the home of Fanthorp's new family, which included his wife Rachael and their three children. General prosperity followed for the Fanthorps. In 1835 Henry was named the area's postmaster, and not long after he opened a general store on the grounds of the inn. The success of all of these ventures allowed Fanthorp to purchase a second tract of land, much of which would evolve into a thriving town called Alta Mira--later changed to Anderson in honor of Kenneth L. Anderson, the last Vice President of the Republic of Texas, who died in 1846 while staying at the inn.
The general growth and prosperity came to an end in the 1860s. The Fanthorp's only son was killed in action in the Civil War, and shortly after in 1867 both Henry and Rachel Fanthorp succumbed to yellow fever. Their surviving daughter Mary converted the inn back into a family home and it remained in the Fanthorp family until it was purchased in 1977 by Texas Parks and Wildlife. It has been restored to its 1850s' condition and is currently open to the public on weekends.