jump to navigation

La Posada owner completes purchase of Hotel Castaneda April 8, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

As expected, Allan Affeldt, co-owner of historic La Posada in Winslow, Ariz., on Monday closed on his purchase of the long-closed Hotel Castaneda, aka La Castaneda, in Las Vegas, N.M.

Affeldt said in a Facebook post:

Purchased Fred Harvey’s 1898 Hotel Castaneda today.

It closed as a hotel in 1948 so we have one week to get it safe and clean for Governor Martinez’ visit on the 14th at noon.

To have New Mexico’s governor visit barely a week after you buy a long-decaying property tells you how momentous the occasion is. People have prayed, probably for decades, that someone would buy and restore the property, and Affeldt practically is the best person to do so.

Las Vegas sits a few miles from old Route 66, but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-37 alignment of the road that looped to Santa Fe.

Affeldt saved La Posada, built in 1929, after he bought the long-closed property in the 1990s and restored it.

Also on Monday, a post on La Posada’s Facebook page also contained intriguing, semi-related news:

There is a sad story behind this picture. This is all that remains of The Havasu Harvey House that was torn down in Seligman (Ariz.) in 2008 by the railroad. The Havasu was a rare prairie style Harvey House and it had a sturdy red tile roof. These are the tiles that were salvaged from that roof. We hope to use these tiles when restoring other historic building. Today we received our first shipment. We will receive 125 pallets of these historic tiles over the next few days.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of those tiles will be used at the Hotel Castaneda as well.

The Havasu in Seligman was torn down despite efforts of local preservationists, including Arizona Historic Route 66 Association founder Angel Delgadillo.

(Image of La Castaneda in Las Vegas, N.M., by Perry Nelson via Flickr)

Ribbon-cutting set for El Garces on May 3 March 16, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: ,
2 comments

The long rehabilitation of El Garces in Needles, Calif., will be capped with a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 3, reported the Needles Desert Star.

According to the newspaper, the city manager said renovations will finish by the end of this month, and the city will receive the keys to the property April 1. El Garces will operate as a railroad depot with other businesses, but not as its long-desired purpose as a hotel.

The El Garces Community Room will be available for rental to weddings and other events. The city also will rent out the complex’s smaller rooms to a variety of small businesses. The city probably will hire a broker to facilitate those rentals.

Allan Affeldt, savior of the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., set his sights years ago on taking over El Garces and restoring it. But the Federal Transit Administration wouldn’t let him take over ownership of the property, and he walked away from the project. Affeldt recently announced his intent to buy the historic Hotel Castaneda, another Harvey House, in Las Vegas, N.M.

El Garces opened in 1908, halted operations as a Harvey House in 1949, and closed entirely in 1988. Friends of El Garces persuaded the city to buy the property in 1999, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. El Garces sits next to an older downtown alignment of Route 66.

(Image of El Garces by Don Barrett via Flickr)

Eastern Flyer train passes by Rock Creek Bridge February 18, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Railroad.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Passenger rail service returned for the first time in many years last week with the Eastern Flyer train that starts in the Route 66 town of Sapulpa, Okla., and goes to Oklahoma City suburb of Midwest City and back again.

Other trips in February are already sold out. The idea was to generate interest in a permanent passenger rail line from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.

Tulsa Route 66 fan Brad Nickson shot this video of the train passing by the historic 1921 Rock Creek Bridge on the western edge of Sapulpa. The train comes into view about the 1:40 mark:

This video gives you a better look at the train:

KOTV in Tulsa filed a story about the Eastern Flyer’s maiden voyage.

UPDATE: I’ve taken off the Tulsa World video because of its irritating auto-play feature.

(Image of the Rock Creek Bridge and nearby railroad bridge by Ron Doke via Flickr)

El Garces may reopen as soon as March as a depot February 15, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
4 comments

The historic El Garces Hotel in Needles, Calif., may reopen as early as late March as an intermodal transportation facility — but not as a hotel – after a long rehabilitation, according to a recent report by the Needles Daily Star.

According to the newspaper:

Linda Kidd, city council woman and project committee member, said the hope is for the project to be completed by early April. Because renovations are on schedule or even a little early, it may be completed by the end of March. [...]

Kidd said moving forward into 2014, the finishing touches will be put on the El Garces. Painting inside and out should begin this week.

Electrical will be put inside soon, she said. Crews are working to put in Internet and phone lines for the building. Drywall for the office area will begin soon also, she added.

The city is also working with the Friends of El Garces to get the fountain area complete, she said.

Lots of photos of El Garces’ ongoing renovations may be seen here.

El Garces opened in 1908, halted operations as a Harvey House in 1949, and closed entirely in 1988.  A group, Friends of El Garces, persuaded the city to buy the property in 1999, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. El Garces sits next to an older alignment of Route 66.

Allan Affeldt, savior of the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., set his sights years ago on taking over ownership of El Garces and restoring it. But, according to an August report in the Daily Star:

It was determined by the Federal Transit Administration that because public funding was used for construction, ownership has to remain with the city. Because of that determination and without being able to find additional funding, Affeldt stepped away from the project.

Since then the city has moved forward with completing the transportation facility. Semione said the plans are to complete the bathrooms and what used to be called the formal dining room. Its new purpose is to function as a multi-purpose space for meetings. she continued.

In an email Friday, Affeldt said:

 The City of Needles was unable to transfer title to me (in spite of our agreement and all my investment) so i had to walk away from the project.
Of course i wish them well, but it seems the prospect of a hotel and restaurant at El Garces is over. When i withdrew they abandoned most of our detailed planning – a terrible waste but nothing i could do.

Affeldt said in a Facebook comment in late 2013:

… [W]e had to stop working on el Garces years ago when the city could not sell it to us. It was really a shame since it’s very unlikely anyone else would restore that building. But as usual I’ve found something much better!

Just days ago, Affeldt announced he would try to buy La Castaneda Hotel in Las Vegas, N.M. — another historic Harvey House.

I’m disappointed El Garces won’t be a hotel anytime soon. However, it’s also very encouraging it’s finally going to reused, and the facility — based on the recent photos — looks better than it has in decades.

(Image of El Garces in 2010 by Don Barrett via Flickr)

La Posada owner may buy another Harvey House February 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: , , , , , ,
13 comments

Allan Affeldt, owner of the historic La Posada along Route 66 in Winslow, Ariz., posted this Facebook message today:

In Las Vegas new mexico today to open escrow to buy the Castaneda – another long-neglected fred harvey hotel, one of the loveliest and most famous in the southwest. Now i have until 8 april to complete purchase (and ponder my sanity). What could be more fun!

Hotel Castanada at 524 Railroad Ave. in Las Vegas, N.M. (map here), was for sale for $450,000, according to this listing.

La Castaneda was built as a Harvey House in 1898 and was one of the earliest to be built in Mission Revival style. New owners took over the hotel two years ago, but quickly put it back up for sale. (UPDATE: I’ve been informed the announced deal in 2012 fell through, and the hotel remains with its longtime owner.)

Las Vegas technically sits a few miles from Route 66, but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-37 alignment of the old road that looped to Santa Fe.

Affeldt became the savior of La Posada, built in 1929, after he bought the nearly abandoned property in the 1990s and restored it.

Affeldt also in the past few years had been involved in the long and ongoing process of restoring El Garces, another Harvey House along old Route 66 in Needles, Calif.

UPDATE 2/14/2014: The Albuquerque Journal published a long story about the impending purchase.

UPDATE 3/20/2014: Affeldt said in a Facebook post on Thursday night that he will take possession of Hotel Castaneda on April 8.

(Image of La Castaneda in Las Vegas, N.M., by Perry Nelson via Flickr)

Historic hotel in Seligman receives grant February 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Museums, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

A group that wants to turn the century-old Cottage Hotel in Seligman, Ariz., into a visitors center and museum received a $9,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, according to The Associated Press and a news release from the agency.

The Seligman Historical Society will use the grant to survey the property for potentially harmful asbestos and lead paint.

The group wants to renovate the hotel to display artifacts from Seligman residents, the Santa Fe railroad, and historic Route 66 before turning the hotel into a full-time visitors center and museum.

Department of Environmental Quality director Henry Darwin said:

“The Cottage Hotel was a key part of Seligman’s Route 66 history and this project will help provide an additional boost to tourism while improving the environmental quality of the community.”

The Cottage Hotel, built in 1912 at 22460 W. Schoney, sits a block north of Route 66 in the middle of town. Finding it on Google Maps is a bit wonky, but it’s almost directly behind the historic and well-maintained Supai Motel on Route 66.

According to the Historical Society, it was built as a rooming house for railway workers and cowboys and later used as a birthing place for expectant mothers. The hotel remains one of the city’s oldest buildings and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Historical Society also has run a “buy a brick” fundraiser for the hotel for $50 or $75. The last few times we were in town, we noticed that prominent Route 66 advocate Angel Delgadillo has promoted the project at his barbershop and gift shop.

Finally, the Cottage Hotel looks a bit ragged from the photo above. However, it was repainted in recent years, as this Google Street View photo shows:


View Larger Map

(Image of the Cottage Hotel in 2010 by Pete Zarria via Flickr)

Sapulpa tourism advocate named Citizen of the Year February 9, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Gas stations, History, Museums, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Russell Crosby of Sapulpa, Okla., on Thursday was named the city’s 2013 Citizen of the Year for his work on the famed trolley car on Route 66 and other tourism attractions over the years, according to the Sapulpa Daily Herald.

His list of accomplishments is impressive:

His contributions in Sapulpa include the transformation of an old trolley car into a tourist stop on Historic Route 66, murals inside the Post office and the Creek County Courthouse, the Big Build playground, the restoration of the Waite Phillips Gas Station, the formation of the Sapulpa Fire Museum, the Guardian of the Plains buffalo and the documentation of the Liberty Glass legacy. He received the Governor’s Arts Award last autumn for his service to his community. [...]

He now serves Sapulpa as a member of the Sapulpa Trolley and Rail Museum, the Rotary Club of Sapulpa, the Sapulpa Historical Society Board and the Memorial Foundation. He is the vice president and general manager of the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway Company, where he has worked for 39 years.

His influence extends beyond Sapulpa. The railway was instrumental in moving a historic steam engine to a Route 66 roadside park in southwest Tulsa a couple of years ago. You can see the move in this video:

(Image of the historic trolley at Sapulpa, Okla., by Kevin via Flickr)

%d bloggers like this: