La Posada Hotel and Gardens

  • Address: 303 E 2nd St (Rt 66)
  • Vicinity: N Apache Ave
  • Phone: 928.289.4366
  • Travel Genus: Lodging , Sight
  • Lodging category: Casual Lodging
  • Sight Category: Historic District



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1930/05/00 Fred Harvey Company Operator La Posada Hotel opens
1930/05/00 Mary Colter Architect La Posada Hotel opens
1930/05/00 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Owner La Posada Hotel opens
1997/04/01 Allan Affeldt Owner Allan Affeldt, wife Tina Mion, brother-in-law Keith Mion and friend Dan Lutzick move into La Posada and begin renevations

Data »

Particulars for La Posada Hotel and Gardens:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Area of Significance Entertainment - Recreation
Sight Category Historic District
Criteria Historic Event
Historic Use Hotel
Architectural Style Mission-Spanish Revival
Level of Significance National
Owner Private
Historic Attribute Railroad Commercial
Architectural Style Spanish Colonial Revival
Area of Significance Transportation

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 31st March 1992

Registry Name: La Posada Historic District
Registry Address: 200 E. Second St.
Registry Number: 92000256
Resource Type: District
Owner: Private
Architect: Colter,Mary E.J.; Harvey,Fred,Co.
Architectural Style: Mission-spanish revival, Other
Attribute: Spanish Colonial Revival
Area in Acres: 11
Contributing Buildings: 3
Contributing Sites: 1
Contributing Structures: 1
Non-Contributing Structures: 1
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Transportation, Entertainment-recreation, Architecture
Applicable Criteria: Event, Architecture-Engineering
Significant Year: 1930
Historic Function: Domestic, Transportation
Historic Sub-Function: Hotel, Rail-related
Current Function: Commerce, Trade, Transportation
Current Sub-Function: Rail-related Business

History »

Built in 1929, the 11-acre grounds, hotel, and train station that make up La Posada Historic District are, in their own right, historic. But an additional layer of history is here, one invented in the imagination of the architect. In order to design the La Posada complex, architect Mary Colter made up a century and a half of history for the site. She imagined La Posada as a Spanish rancho of the early 1800s. Here lived a wealthy Spanish don. When the don and his family fell on hard times, the hacienda was renovated into a hotel with furnishings and grounds intact. In such an inaccessible location, Colter reasoned, materials would have been local, and the labor native. The complex would have been changed and added onto through generations.

With this story in mind, she designed Mission Revival buildings with adobe walls, complete with niches for saints, roofs of red terra cotta, and windows with wooden shutters and iron rejas (grilles). Floors were flagstone, and exposed ceiling beams were covered with branches to simulate indigenous adobe construction. There were period maids' costumes and dinner china, vigas (protruding wooden beams) beneath the gables, wrought-iron railings on the stairways, clay tiles on the chimneys, sand-blasted planks on the doors, and a wishing well in the garden. Best of all in this elaborate history-within-a-history confection, Colter faked an archeological site--the supposed ruins of an old fort that had stood on the site before the don built his hacienda. La Posada was the result of an ingenious turn-of-the-century partnership between the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) and the Fred Harvey Company.

Planned just before the stock market crash of 1929, La Posada was the last of the great railroad hotels. Colter, who designed many Harvey hotels along with marvelously imaginative hotels in the Grand Canyon, always considered La Posada her best work. The hotel opened in May of 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression.

During the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, passengers abandoned trains and took to cars. Tourism expanded from an endeavor possible only for the wealthy into something that people of more moderate income also enjoyed. Correspondingly, these new tourists sought out modest accommodations. Declining numbers of travelers arrived at the train station attached to the hotel, and, despite a 1940s boost due to railroad shipments of troops entering the Second World War, La Posada ultimately failed. It lasted longer than many of the grand railroad hotels, which went out of business during the Depression years, but closed by the end of the 1950s. The railroad converted La Posada into office space, installing new walls and lowering the ceilings, and La Posada's future remained tenuous for the next 40 years. Disrepair and neglect were taking a toll when the complex was listed in the National Register in 1992.

Fortunately, in 1997, new owners purchased La Posada and began restoration of one of the country's great architectural treasures. That work continues today. The gardens are back, guest rooms are open, and fireplaces, faux-adobe walls, arched ceilings, and period furnishings await the visitor. (Also, cuisine continues to be an emphasis at La Posada6its restaurant is award winning!) La Posada has begun another "life." Counting the history Mary Colter invented, that makes three. - NPS

Accommodations »

Lodging category Casual Lodging
Lodging Attribute Grand Hotel
Lodging Style Hotel

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