Two miles east, at Winedale, is the Old "Sam Lewis Stopping Place" of the 1850s—a typical early Texas inn, now a University of Texas Research Center. Built 1834, as a settler's 2-room log cabin of hand-hewn cedar; then enlarged twice and (with work of local German craftsmen) improved in style, it was home after 1848 to Lewis, his wife, eight children; also entertained guests from passing stagecoaches. It was near roads connecting major Texas cities. Many roadside homes in early Texas were inns. The horseback traveler would shelter his pony in the barn, share family meals, get a room for the night. All stage lines depended on such accommodations—for changes of horses, for passengers' meals, and for overnight stops. With travel difficult at best, such inns rendered a service of great public necessity. A frontier inn might even be a dugout, where the guests rolled up in blankets and slept on the floor. (Travelers sometimes had to sleep under a tree, so any sort of sheltering house was usually welcomed.) Most stage stops dispatched and received U.S. mail for the community. Towns originated at many stops. In early Texas, famous hotels included the Tremont, Galveston;The Old Capitol, Houston; several in Austin.