Western Trips

Western Trips

Monday, July 2, 2012

La Posada / Winslow Arizona

If you're driving on a western road trip on Interstate 40 in Arizona, there is an excellent piece of living history in Winslow Arizona.

Fred Harvey and the Harvey Houses

la posada hotel winslow arizona
La Posada, Winslow Arizona
I have authored several articles on both the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey. Most of these stories have offered some history on the famous Harvey Houses. There is no doubt that the Harvey Houses, for a variety of reasons, helped civilize the southwest. Fred Harvey's ingenious idea of hiring "Harvey Girls" as staff helped to create a civilized environment within the Harvey Houses.

 His high standards for food quality along with reasonable prices helped make long distance train travel a much more comfortable endeavor. This combination went a long way in increasing tourist travel throughout the southwest.

The Harvey Houses of the Southwest After the Era

The old Harvey Houses today are found in a wide range of conditions. Some have been razed such as the  old Alvarado Harvey House in Albuquerque New Mexico which was torn down in 1970. Others are still standing, although empty and in significant disrepair such as the old La Castenada next to the Las Vegas New Mexico railroad station.

In Slaton Texas, just a few miles south of Lubbock, sits the old Harvey House dining room along the railroad tracks.That structure has been restored and is now a combination museum and quite unique B & B. The former Harvey House on the rail tracks in Barstow California, named Casa del Desierto, was converted into the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in the year 2000. The museum showcases historic photographs and artifacts related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities. Some Harvey Houses, such as the La Fonda Hotel on the Santa Fe plaza, is no longer a Harvey House yet today is one of Santa Fe's most popular hotels.

LaPosada in Winslow Arizona

la posada interior
La Posada Hotel interior
In Winslow Arizona, sitting right alongside the old Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad tracks is the old La Posada Harvey House.

Two interesting side notes. The term "posada" translates into lodging or accommodation in Spanish. Secondly, the La Posada Hotel in Winslow was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Before being purchased by the AT & SF Railroad, La Posada was the home of Don Alphonso de los Pajaros. He lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. This home had been in his family for some 120 years. It was at this time that the railroad and Fred Harvey turned the property into a hotel.

At the time of the transfer of the property, the railroad and Fred Harvey promised to maintain the new hotel as a proud estate. This historic hotel possesses beauty and charm not found in a modern lodging property. It's one classy hotel. Visitors can take a self guided tour using a booklet to find 35 historic images showcased throughout the hotel. La Posada, which was constructed on the site of Don Alphonso's former home in 1930, represents the last of the big railroad hotels. The hotel was designed by the famous southwest architect and AT & SF railroad employee, Mary Colter. The hotel is located at 303 E. 2nd Street in Winslow which is also Route 66.

See these Western Trips articles on the links below...

La Castenada Harvey House in Las Vegas NM 

The Old Harvey House of Slaton Texas

Belen New Mexico Harvey House

La Posada Restoration

la posada harvey house in winslow
Art and artifacts on display at La Posada
The original Harvey House La Posada closed in 1957 due to the decline in rail travel. This was the fate of many railroad hotels when automobile travel grew.

Forty years later in 1997, a large restoration effort was begun. What's truly important about restoration efforts of this kind, is that what is being restored is part of the civilization of America's southwest.

A restored hotel such as La Posada let's the modern day traveler experience a bit what it was like to travel during the early 1900's in the western U.S.

 The spaciousness, the uniqueness, the architectural style and the gracious hospitality are what hotels like La Posada were so well known for. To be sure, there are many historic hotels still operating all over the U.S. and the La Posada in Winslow Arizona is one of the finest. Today, guests are not only treated to excellent accommodations but also to a living museum. It's a place to get away from the bustle and relax in an isolated part of history. If your western travels take you through northern Arizona then a stop at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona is a must and well worth your time.

Winslow Arizona is located off Interstate 40 between the New Mexico border and Flagstaff. Winslow is 57 miles east of Flagstaff. The entire eleven acres of the hotel and railroad station are designated the La Posada Historic District. La Posada is also rated among the top five historic hotels of Arizona.

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)

1 comment:

  1. absolutely beautiful and fascinating history, i learned alot


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