May 30, 2019 500 AM
ALPINE – It all started with a small adobe house in south Alpine in 2004, and today is a vibrant community that now is considered an essential element in the life of downtown Alpine. Betty Gaddis Yndo is a key backer of Fiesta 1888, an event celebrating this history of Alpine’s south side planned for Saturday.
“What got me interested was an historical commission survey of the south side in 2004,” she said in an interview. “Among other things, it identified several little adobe homes and I was interested in getting one of them. Two of my sons are architects as is one grandson.
“Ofelia Valadez owned what became La Raspa [now known as Murphy Street Mercado,]” She said. “She called me and asked if I still was interested in buying her building. She just said to bring the money and she didn’t tell me how much.”
But she started her development work on Holland Avenue.“My sister wanted one of them for a dress shop,” she said. “It was Alpine’s first mini mall.”
That building later was the home of Alpine Christian School until it constructed its own building on Loop Road and the Sunshine House, which provides services to seniors including a Meals on Wheels program, moved there from an historic old home on Sul Ross Avenue.
“I took a little sack of money to Ofelia and she said she wanted $150,000,” Gaddis Yndo said. “I said why so much and she said it also included what is now Talgar’s and Alpine Studio. There were just some sheds where Tom and Susan Curry built their studio and the papercrete home in back.”
That lot was between where Talgar McCarty had a Mexican restaurant and Alpine Studio.
“That was my sack of money,” Gaddis Yndo said. “I asked myself ‘what have you done?’”
She said she didn’t make any more investments from that point but did help some new businesses that couldn’t get money from a bank because they didn’t have an established business.
“I started looking for young people,” she said. “Talgar was one.”
Gaddis Yndo said a young couple bought the old Raspa, which had been a grocery store 30 years earlier and still had some canned goods on the shelf.
Talgar operated her restaurant with cuisine from Central Mexico and later leased it to Los Jalapeños, which later moved a block east.
“I haven’t invested in any more properties but I carried the note on Mercado,” Gaddis Yndo said. “I also help with short-term loans for some like someone who needed to buy a stove or something. I financed Mattie Matthaei when she started renovation of the Hotel Richey. She later got financing.”
Gaddis Yndo grew up in Stanton and, in 1950, moved to Fort Davis where her first husband, Dr. Don Gaddis, got a job in a small clinic. They moved to Alpine when the Big Bend Regional Medical Center was built in the late 1950s. It opened in 1957 and Gaddis opened a clinic across the street. The present facility opened in 1999. Gaddis died in 1972 and she married Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Yndo in 1983 “and I got four more kids,” she said. “I have seven children, three biological and four by marriage. I have 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. It makes me tired to think about it.”
Her biological children are Pam, who lives in Alpine, Paul in Austin and Dave in California.
“Michael died in 2004,” she said. “I moved to San Antonio because of the medical benefits for retired military. They also have excellent medical facilities there.
She commutes frequently back to Alpine by Amtrak and stays in an apartment in Pam Gaddis’ home.
Some say Murphy Street is Betty’s dream.
“It is a vibrant area with vibrant people,” she said. “You can have a vibrant area but you’ve got to have vibrant people who work together. You suggest something and people step right up. ‘I can do this.’ That’s how Fiesta 1888 came to be.
“I had a vision,” she said.
It was not a big vision at the time but it has become a significant factor in Alpine’s charm and its ability to attract visitors.