Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weatherford Hotel



It almost seemed typical for the history of the Arizona mining and small towns to once be ravished by fires.  In 1897, Flagstaff was almost wiped out by a string of fires destroying most of the structures.  Trying to avoid another disaster of this magnitude, the City passed an ordinance requiring all buildings to be made of brick, stone, or iron.

In 1889, John W. Weatherford built his brick building in downtown Flagstaff, and named it the Weatherford Hotel.  The two-story structure had a general store on the bottom, while the Weatherford family lived upstairs.  In March of 1899, he added a brick third floor and celebrated the opening on New Year's Day, 1900.  The third floor was used as a ballroom for dances and parties.  It was named the Zane Grey Ballroom after the author who wrote the novel, "The Call of the Canyon".  It was told that he wrote the famous novel in that very room.  He wasn't the only famous person who laid their tired bones at the hotel, many others did as well.  The hotel was the most well-known and famous hotel in Flagstaff of the times.  From the view of the three-sided balcony, you could see all of downtown Flagstaff.  In 1929, a fire damaged the balcony and it was removed.

The hotel went through many changes throughout the years.  It once housed a theater, restaurant, billiard hall, and even a radio station.  In 1975, Henry Taylor bought the hotel because he did not want to see the place destroyed and bulldozed.  The historic downtown of Flagstaff was in extremely poor conditions with many abandoned and deteriorating buildings being torn down.  Henry and his wife, Pamela, started renovating the hotel, dreaming of returning the place to its initial luster.  In 1997, the third floor ballroom was finished and reopened.  By 1997, the wrap-around porches were restored, with the rest of the renovations closely behind.  I think this is a place I will need to check out the next time I am in Flagstaff.


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