Previous Owners and Guests



Ronald Reagan
Former U.S. President
Previous Guest

Donny & Marie Osmond
Singers, Actors, Dancers, Authors, TV Personalities, and Teen Idols
Previous Guests

Earle Bradford Mayfield
Former U.S. Senator
Previous Owner

Jo-Carroll Dennison
Miss America 1942, Actress
Previous Resident

History of the Inn


This early residential plan shows the lot where this Classical Revival home was built in 1904. Now known as Memory Lane Inn, the home has witnessed much of Tyler's history during the last 106 years.

From the grand front porch to the exquisite collection of antiques throughout, this beautiful home is rich with history. The beautiful stained glass windows and massive solid-wood doors have been imported from around the world, and several of the original windows can still be found throughout the home. A gazebo, fountain, pond, tropical garden, and waterfall contribute to the ambiance of an era gone by.

 

Miss America's Boudoir is named for Miss Jo-Carroll Dennison who lived in the house before being the first Miss Texas to be crowned Miss America in 1942. Dennison, a self-supported student at the Federal Institute in Tyler was lured into competing in the Miss Tyler pageant by the offer of a free swimsuit from Swartz Department store. She won the pageant, and reluctantly agreed to represent Tyler in the Miss East Texas pageant. As Miss East Texas, Dennison then competed in the Miss Texas held at Austin Stadium in August 1942, where she won her third pageant crown.

Unenthusiastic at the idea of competing in state pageants, Dennison then faced a three-day train trip to compete for the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, NJ. She won both the swimsuit and talent sections of the contest, and ultimately the Miss America crown. Dennison later moved to California and signed with Twentieth Century Fox and became a successful actress. Briefly married to comedian Phil Silvers, 1945-1950, she later married Russell Stoneham, and raised a family.

 

As you walk through the room once owned by a former U.S. Senator, you quickly sense the history. Senator and Mrs. Earle B. Mayfield purchased the house in 1942. Senator Mayfield, a lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Overton, Texas, served in both the Texas State Senate and United States Senate.

"During the summer of 1942, Sen. Mayfield employed Jo-Carroll Dennison to clerk in his law firm. Ms. Dennison became Miss Tyler, Miss Texas and went on to become Miss America. She brought the crowd to its feet with her rendition of 'Deep in the Heart of Texas'," said Mrs. Greenwell, regent of the Mary Tyler Chapter, Daughters of The American Revolution. After leaving the U.S. Senate in 1929, he and wife Ora lived in Tyler where he practiced law and was president of the Mayfield Wholesale Grocery Company until his retirement in 1952.

As was custom in that day, the upstairs rooms were rented, and it is reported that Ms. Dennison occupied one of the rooms at 505 S. Chilton Ave.

This 100 year old home "is a beautiful example of the Classical Revival architectural style" Mrs. Greenwell said.

 
In the early 1900s, Chilton Avenue was referred to as "Silk Stocking Row". Tradition ascribes this name to the neighborhood's reputation as the home of some of Tyler's most prosperous families. As a result, the home opened as a Bed & Breakfast with the name 'Silk Stocking Inn' in 2003 and enjoyed sharing it's memories and history with several visitors. The home was purchased by the current owners in 2010 and became 'Memory Lane Inn' with the hopes that another 100 years can be enjoyed by all.
 
We have designated two of our guest rooms as "The Senator's Chambers" and "Miss America's Boudoir" in honor of Sen. and Mrs. Earle B. Mayfield and Jo-Carroll Dennison.
 

Watch a short clip of The Abbott & Costello Show featuring Jo-Carroll Dennison (on the left).

 
Text Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph