Clay Pit Restaurant
Built by a group of early settlers in 1853, as a trading post. A business where white men and Indians could carry on their trading. In 1872, O.R. Bertram purchased the building to house his family as well as his dry goods business. Bertram’s General Store occupied the premises for the next eight years. The first floor continued to be used as a store with the saloon in back. The second floor became the Bertram family residence, with a parlor in front and bedrooms in back.
The building continued to serve as a general store in the 34 years following Bertram’s departure. During the 1880’s the State Treasury was stored in the building’s wine cellar along with barrels of gunpowder, molasses, wine, and whiskey. The wine cellar is famous for its double-arched construction inspired by the medieval castles and monasteries of Europe.
Starting in the 1940’s a series of restaurants occupied the property. The first was the Old Madrid Café, followed by the Old Seville, the Old Toro-all popular hangouts for UT students throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1977, the building opened as the Red Tomato Italian restaurant and remained for several years. Currently now known as The Clay Pit. Serving Indian cuisine.
The most frequently reported manifestations are that of the sounds of a party going on in one of the upstairs banquet rooms when no one is in the restaurant. Also, in the 1800’s, Bertram’s five-year-old son died from typhoid fever while quarantined in his upstairs bedroom. It is believed that the tiny child remains in his old home, perhaps not understanding that he passed on.