Rehabilitation work and design are currently underway at Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico. A portion of the hotel’s public space (not guest rooms) may be open to the public as soon as late 2018.
La Castañeda was built as a 50,000 square foot railroad hotel in 1898. This Harvey House was considered an absolute jewel in the Fred Harvey chain and was built as a luxury resort reached by passengers from the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad whose tracks ran directly in front.
La Castañeda is one of the earliest Harvey Houses to be built in the Mission Revival style. The architects of this grand hotel and resort were Frederick Roehrig and A. Reinsch. The Rawlings Building which is across the street from the hotel and the Las Vegas train station was used during the period to house the Harvey Girls who staffed the La Castañeda. The Harvey Girls and their history is a unique part of the Fred Harvey tradition. Harvey Girls were held to extremely high standards and did much for the reputation of the Harvey Houses.
When you walk around the depot area today you’ll see several turn of the century buildings. The railroad district is about one and one-half miles east of the plaza. La Castañeda was a sister hotel to Albuquerque’s Alvarado Hotel, which was unfortunately demolished in 1970.
To add to the quality of food that Fred Harvey was so noted for, the AT& SF Railroad brought in fresh meat to the Harvey House with their new refrigerator rail cars. Food could virtually be brought in from anywhere in the country. There was also a dairy facility in Las Vegas that made it possible to consistently offer fresh milk to customers. As many people know, Fred Harvey was able to offer good food portions at reasonable prices and this plus The Fred Harvey Company’s well known quality made the Harvey Houses a big hit with the traveling public. When the AT& SF Railroad finally added dining cars to their routes, Fred Harvey was asked to mange these as well.
Another thing that Fred Harvey was well noted for was his automobile tours of the surrounding area. He established the tours in several locations including from the La Castañeda, the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe and from the El Tovar at the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
All of these hotels were a Harvey House. Visitors to a Harvey House in New Mexico would also be offered authentic Indian products such as jewelry and pottery. Because the railroad and Fred Harvey were at the very forefront of American southwest travel, their names became a real part of the southwest.
Two additional related articles of ours you’ll find interesting are Fred Harvey and the AT& SF Civilize the Southwest and the Harvey House in Slaton Texas which today operates as a very unique B & B.
By Western Trips
Due to ongoing stabilization work, the Hotel Castaneda is unable to accommodate ghost hunting at this time. Please contact us with any questions.
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