Winslow, AZ Monday December 30th
As mentioned yesterday, we are staying at La Posada Hotel. This place is marvelous. It is a combination resort, museum, art gallery, train station, restored historic building, and great restaurant. A brief history.
The hotel is built on a site that had been a hacienda and cattle ranch for generations. It was built by the Fred Harvey Company who had the concession to build hotels and restaurants for the Santa Fe Railway. Mary Jane Coulter was the chief designer and architect for the company and she has designed buildings and/or interiors throughout the Southwest, including the La Fonda in Santa Fe. The hotel was built next to the train tracks; customers would exit the train and enter La Posada directly. Amtrak still stops here today, about 100 trains pass by the location daily. (Yet we hardly hear them.) The old Route 66 was on the other side of the building and grounds.
Each room is unique and named after a famous person who was a guest here. (Famous in the “old days”, our daughters may recognize about 1/4 of the names.) Our room is named after Leonard Maltin. It is spacious, wood floor, unique wood bed, tile sink and mural in the bath area, hand painted furniture, etc.
The hotel went into decline with the passing of passenger railroad usage and the replacement of US Route 66 with Interstate 40. The railroad was its savior and its downfall. The railroad bought the hotel but converted it into office and train control services. They tore out murals and hand crafted furniture, knocked down walls, etc. But it was not demolished, as happened to other historic rail hotels. In the 1990s, the railway planned to move out and the building became empty and seemed slated for demolition.
Allan Affeldt (maybe entrepreneur and past social activist) and his wife Tina Mion (artist) bought the building and began a long period of restoration. Their current project is to put a spa and indoor pool in the basement along with a new museum next door. But for us, the hotel is finished enough.
The restoration has redone all of the rooms. The lobby is full of art work, mainly Mion’s but not exclusively. There are areas to sit and read by a fireplace. The restaurant, the Turquoise Room, is rated top in northern Arizona.
We took an hour-long walking tour of the hotel, noting new designs and regretting changes the BNSF (successor to the Santa Fe Railroad) did to the building.
After the tour, we walked downtown Winslow. Downtown does not merit the regard raised by the La Posada. It does include the corner made famous in the Eagles song, Take It Easy. “Well I’m standin’ on the Corner in Winslow Arizona such a fine sight to see, It’s girl my lord in a flat bed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.” The town has taken advantage of the song by erecting a statue and making a small park with a mural in the background.
We did have lunch downtown and then took an afternoon nap before heading out to catch the sunset at Little Painted Desert County Park. The park is not much in terms of improvements or upkeep but the view was as good as the national park section, although smaller.
Tomorrow it is Flagstaff and a few days with Lou and Joyce.
Ed and Chris Dec. 30 8 pm