Here, in the 1890s, the celebrated Texas Cattleman A. H. "Shanghai" Pierce (1834-1900) platted the townsite of Pierce, which he hoped would become the Wharton County seat. Its proximity to his ranch headquarters in the central part of the county was a major factor in his choice of locations for the town. He laid out a public square, courthouse square, academy square, and a cemetery. He built several structures in the town, including a three-story hotel located at this site.
The Pierce Hotel was designed to accommodate cattle buyers, traveling salesmen, and others attracted to the area by the railroad and Pierce's ranching interests. Located near the Southern Pacific Railroad depot and across from the present Pierce railroad entrance, the hotel was designed as the center of the town's planned growth, which did not develop. Although never opened to the public as a hotel, the building was used for various purposes by several long-term tenants. A landmark on the Texas coastal prairie for more than eighty years, the Pierce Hotel was razed in 1980.
Still at this site of the hotel is its widow's walk, which was preserved as a symbol of the structure's historical significance.