Monthly Archives: March 2013

Rain of Arrows, Mancos Colorado

Rain of Arrows, outside of Mancos, Colorado–

Yes, this has nothing to do with hotels but it is quirky Americana. This is one of those kitschy things created years ago probably to lure tourists into the gift shop next door. That it has survived for all these years is amazing. These are the sort of historical oddities that make traveling the roads so much fun and interesting.

In 2000, Hampton Inns refurbished the Rain of Arrows as its first Save a Landmark program. To see images and read about the Rain of Arrows project and other similar landmark restoration projects here is the link to The Hampton Inns “Save a Landmark” Fact Sheet.

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Palace Hotel, Antonito Colorado

Palace Hotel, Antonito Colorado —

Antonito was the connection point on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad with lines going south to Santa Fe and another line traveling west to Chama and Durango. The Palace Hotel was built in 1890 to accommodate the increase in railroad traffic. The Hotel Red Book for 1894 lists E.L. Myers as the manager. The National Register of Historic Places registration form notes that the earliest owner of record was C.B. Moyers. E.L. Myers who was also a general store merchant bought the hotel in 1901. It is assumed that his general store was in the front of the hotel thus he was able to manage both hotel and store. However, a sampling of the Hotel Red Books lists other individuals as the hotel managers. In the 1903 Hotel Red Book L.A. Reinert is listed as the manager and the price for a room is $2.00. Myers sold the property in 1909 of Mr. and Mrs. W.C. McGregor and they operated the hotel into the 1940s. Once again a sampling of Hotel Red Books from 1909 thru 1941 lists other individuals as the hotel managers. During the Great Depression the cost for a room dropped to $1.00.

After the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad dropped the “Chili Line,” the route to Santa Fe in 1941 the commercial activity in Antonito dropped off. The Palace Hotel suffered because the need for a place to spend the night waiting for a connecting train ended. At some point before 1914 the addition to the south was added to the Palace Hotel. The Palace Hotel no longer was listed in the Hotel Red Books after 1941.

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Two photos from the Denver Public Library Digital Collection and links to their original source pages:

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Photo 1

Photo 2

Motel Capri, Raton New Mexico

 Motel Capri, Raton, New Mexico —

I stumbled upon the Motel Capri Café while driving north out of Raton. I am not sure if it is part of the motel next door to it. It looked empty and was obviously in need of some work. Hopefully it will find new life in the future and not meet with the wrecking ball.

Yucca Hotel, New Mexico

Yucca Hotel, New Mexico

The Yucca Hotel has an interesting history. It opened in June 1929 as the Hotel Swastika—yes, Swastika. The hotel chose Swastika because it was a symbol commonly used in the area by many of the local Native American Indian tribes. There were many businesses in the Raton area that also used the Swastika symbol and name in their corporate logo and masthead. The hotel operated for ten years as the Hotel Swastika until it changed its name to Hotel Yucca in 1939.

Raton was then a major crossroads with three major U.S. highways bisecting the city and was on the main route of the Santa Fe Railroad. When the hotel opened it had six floors and 80 guest rooms. The ground floor held several businesses that paid rent to the hotel. One Raton resident described the building as “very elegant” and the best hotel between Santa Fe and Colorado Springs. An article in the Raton Range newspaper noted that Taos artists consigned some of their artwork in the hotel. Interested patrons could purchase the paintings and this kept a steady supply of nice artwork on exhibit in the hotel.

By 1938 the actions of Adolf Hitler had alarmed enough people that the Swastika symbol took on a whole new meaning. The hotel manager at the time Ainslee Embree said that potential guests refused to stay at the hotel because of the negative connotations associated with the Swastika. A contest was held and the new name chosen was the Yucca, in honor of the New Mexico state flower.

Thirty years later with the influx of motels, motor hotels and inns serving the interstate highway travelers the Hotel Yucca closed its doors in 1969. In 1971 the building was converted to a bank. The building still looks very nice and has been kept up nicely as a bank.

For more information see:

Windows On The Past: Historic lodgings of New Mexico, By Sandra Lynn, 1999.

Raton Range, November 27, 2007

Hotel Monthly, May 1939

Texas Hotel Review, September 1938 and November 1940.

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Hotel Yucca Letterhead,1941

 

 

 

 

Hotel Swastika

Hotel Yucca, Raton, N.M.

El Portal Inn, Raton New Mexico

El Portal Inn, Raton New Mexico

Originally know as the Seaberg European Hotel named for Swedish immigrant and founder Hugo Seaberg.  The Seaberg originally had 12 rooms and by 1911 it held 24 rooms.  A news blurb from the Hotel Monthly for November 1911 reported that an addition would increase the number of rooms to 100.  Eventually, the hotel had eight expansions and renovations between 1905 and 1928. 

In the early twentieth century Hugo Seaberg found it difficult to establish a statewide hotel association in sparsely populated New Mexico. In a news account from 1922 he stated that he was going to create a New Mexico hotel association based not on an annual convention but by circular correspondence.  The hotel operators who joined would pass news by a circular letter to all members.

The growth and success of the Seaberg Hotel is easy to understand with Raton being a railroad center.  Eventually the hotel took up an entire city block.  However, the Great Depression took its toll on Raton and Hugo Seaberg’s financial health. In 1937 he lost ownership of the hotel in a foreclosure.

The new owners of the hotel renamed it the El Portal.  Since 1937 the hotel has been under several different owners. In the 1990s the hotel was refurbished and WPA era murals were rediscovered in the lobby and hallways.  A fire sometime after 2004 closed the hotel.   As of the summer of 2011 the hotel was still idle.

 

 

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The El Portal Hotel: History, Fact, and Fiction

Welcome to the Historic El Portal Hotel

Raton, New Mexico, and the Historic El Portal Hotel

“Unknown name” Motel, Grenville New Mexico

“Unknown name” Motel, Grenville New Mexico

There was no evidence of a name that I could find in a quick 5-minute stop to take pictures.  The town of Grenville is about 27 miles out of Clayton on US 87 on the way to Raton New Mexico.  Searching the travel books in the archive I did not find a listing for this motel.

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Hotel Eklund, Clayton New Mexico

Hotel Eklund, Clayton New Mexico

A beautifully restored hotel in this crossroads town in the Northeast part of New Mexico.  Prior to the development of the interstate highway system, Clayton was a crossroads for several U.S. highways. As the pictures attest it was built in three stages: 1892 , 1898, and 1905.  It is named for Carl Eklund who converted the structure into a saloon and hotel.  In the lobby they have retained two old safes as tables and there is also the old telephone switchboard for the hotel. There is a beautiful wood carved bar in the saloon with many historical items.  The first appearance of the Hotel Eklund in the Hotel Red Book was in 1918.  The building is also a New Mexico registered Cultural Property.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hotel Eklund

Clayton, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

The Collaborative Inc.

The Motel Rita Blanca, Dalhart Texas

The Motel Rita Blanca, Dalhart Texas

The sign is what caught my eye it is in the 1950s modern style.  It also appears to have weathered well and the entire property looked very tidy and clean.  While taking pictures I talked to some people who told me they were managers or owners.  They told me the property served as an apartment operation and not for over night transient business.  They were giving serious consideration to changing the sign since travelers often stopped in the middle of the night trying to rent a room.  Searching the travel books in the archive I did not find a listing for this motel.

 

Caprock Hotel, Claude Texas

Caprock Hotel, Claude Texas —

On a drive home from New Mexico we stopped in Claude to see if we could find any old hotels and came across this old gem. Unfortunately, I can find very little about this hotel. There is no entry for the Caprock Hotel in the Hotel Red Books, and so far nothing in the old Texas Hotel Review publications. The Hotel Monthly for September 1931 notes that H.J. Smith is the proprietor of the hotel. The Sanborn Insurance maps show the hotel was not open in 1921. However, sometime between 1921 and 1934 the hotel opened according to a later Sanborn Insurance map.

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The Herring Hotel, Amarillo Texas

The Herring Hotel, Amarillo Texas –Here is another one of those grand old hotels that is now sitting idle on the edge north of downtown Amarillo.  The Herring at one time was tied as the fourth largest hotel in Texas behind Houston’s Rice Hotel, Dallas’ Adolphus and Baker hotels and tied with the Texas, in Fort Worth.  The hotel had 600 rooms with 600 baths. It was built by C.T. Herring and opened in 1927.  Ernest Thompson who managed the hotel took control the following year.  Thompson trained as an attorney became a hotelier and operated a chain of hotels in the Texas panhandle.  Most people recognize Thompson as a longtime commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission.  The oddly named commission is most famous for regulating the Texas oil and gas industry.

 Notice the marble facade that was added to the ground floor entryway in later years of operation. I guess this newer facade was an attempt to update the hotel to travelers. I suspect with the completion of Interstate 40 to the south of downtown business migrated to the then newer motels along the highway.

 

 

An advertisement of the Herring and Amarillo Hotels from the 1930 Hotel Red Book highlights that room rates were $2.00 and nothing above $2.50.

 

This image of the Herring Hotel is from an advertisement in the October 1942 Texas Hotel Review. Notice the original front entry compared to the renovation of the 1960s seen in my images.  The Hotel Herring sign is also on the hotel roof.

Below is a postcard of the hotel from the early 1940s. The reverse side of the postcard lists the population of Amarillo at 55,000 and an altitude of 3,676 feet.

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The Texas Escapes on-line magazine of the Herring Hotel is here.

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