SAN ANGELO, TX — Zane White, who spent about six months complaining about the iconic sign atop the Cactus Hotel, has gone silent.
According to White, he received a cease and desist demand from a Dallas law firm hired by Lee Pfluger who operates the Cactus. He announced the receipt of the letter to his followers on Facebook on August 11, more than a month ago. Since then, White has been silent about the Cactus Hotel.
“The Dallas Law Firm recently contacted me in writing, issuing a stern request to publish ‘Clarification(s) or Correction(s) of Publication’ related to written and/or verbal statements attributed to me regarding Lee Pfluger and his Downtown San Angelo Cactus Hotel during the past several months,” White stated on his Facebook page.
At issue is the large sign that formerly adorned the top of the 14-story Cactus Hotel. The sign, that formerly spelled out “CACTUS HOTEL,” has been inactive for years. Decades ago, Pfluger said he had some of the letters taken down. His intention was to fix the sign. However, as the years have passed, the cost of doing so has become economically unviable. Pfluger attempted to obtain TIRZ funding during this year’s funding cycle to pay to remove the remaining letters of the sign. The San Angelo City Council voted to deny the funding by preventing TIRZ money in the so-called “Northern TIRZ” to be transferred to the “Southern TIRZ” where the Cactus Hotel resides. See also: Northside Councilman Concerned About TIRZ Equity.
White claimed throughout the ordeal that the City of San Angelo code enforcement concerning the sign is lacking. He made public comments at a July 2022 city council meeting demanding that the City enforce its sign ordinance against Pfluger and the Cactus Hotel sign.
Pfluger said White’s effort is harming his ability to do anything at all with the sign. He could point out the City Council’s decision to deny TIRZ funding was caused by the negative messaging about Pfluger personally and the sign about which White has been so vocal.
Pfluger said his wants to fix the sign. However, where it sits, atop a terra cotta tile roof at a steep grade hundreds of feet in the air, means that it will require a sizable crane. In July, at the time of the TIRZ decision and White’s presentation to City Council, Shannon Health had a crane in town to work on a Shannon project across the street from the Cactus. Pfluger was not able to capitalize on availability of the crane, if any was available.
The missing letters of the sign are located in the basement of the Cactus Hotel. Pfluger said the age of the signs design renders it completely obsolete. Any replacement of the old sign will require a new design and a great deal of money.
White returned to San Angelo in November 2020 and since then as set forth his goal and life’s mission to get the Cactus Hotel sign fixed.
San Angelo LIVE! published this article about the history of the Cactus Hotel in 2013.