La Posada Hotel

In 1930, a new hotel emerged in Winslow, Arizona called La Posada, which means “the inn” in Spanish.  Fred Harvey built the hotel to serve people getting off at the Santa Fe Railway station there.  Harvey was known for making railway travel to the Western United States more comfortable by building restaurants and hotels along major railway stops.  Not only was Winslow a strategic location because of the railway stops, but also because U.S. Route 66 ran through it, and because it was centrally located from tourist destinations such as the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

The beautiful architecture of La Posada mirrored colonial Spanish architecture.  What made the building even more unique is that its architect, Mary Colter, was a woman.  There were not many female architects in the early twentieth century.  During its heyday, La Posada housed many Hollywood actors such as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Temple, and Clark Gable.  Its other famous visitors included Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, a Crown Prince of Japan, and U.S. Presidents Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt.

La Posada closed in 1957, after only 27 years in operation.  The closure was largely due to the decline in railway travel following World War II.  More and more Americans began traveling by car instead.  In fact, that trend soon led to the creation of the Interstate Highway System, which quickly replaced U.S. Route 66.  As less people traveled on U.S. Route 66, Winslow fell into obscurity and La Posada became the offices of the Santa Fe Railway station.

La Posada was almost demolished in the early 1990s, but in 1994, several individuals decided to save it.  Restored to its former glory, La Posada now functions as a hotel again.  Although Winslow is a sleepy town today, that does not stop visitors from either touring or staying at La Posada.  Its historic significance and beauty make it a worthwhile tourist destination.

I visited La Posada and could not believe how beautiful it is.  It had many different public areas where people could sit, all of them furnished differently and painted in bright colors.  Some of the public rooms had bookshelves filled with books and tables filled with board games.  Each of the hotel rooms where people could stay were decorated differently and named after famous people who had stayed at La Posada.  Additionally, La Posada has a restaurant called the Turquoise Room, which uses the historic menus from Fred Harvey’s restaurants.

This is a bedroom at La Posada Hotel.

As I walked around La Posada, I kept thinking about how it was a writer’s paradise.  Located in the middle of the Arizona desert, there were not many distractions nearby.  Additionally, there was an abundant number of secluded places to sit, both inside and outside the hotel, meaning that you could frequently change your workspace if you ever got tired of sitting in the same place.

Sources and Further Reading

“History.” La Posada. (accessed September 4, 2021).

“Home.” Turquoise Room at La Posada Hotel. (accessed September 4, 2021).

“La Posada Historic District.” National Park Service. (accessed September 4, 2021).

“Mary Colter and Her Buildings at the Grand Canyon.” National Park Service. (accessed September 4, 2021).


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