La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona is more than a place to eat and sleep, more than a museum filled with art and artifacts. It was designed by one of America’s most original architects and served as a hub for one of the country’s most ingenious entrepreneurs. As such, it was, and is, one of the great stories of mid-century America and especially of the Southwest.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, La Posada has had a turbulent history. Opened in 1930 as one of the chain of “eating houses” and overnight stops for travelers on the Santa Fe Railroad, it not only influenced America’s nutrition but also its social mores. Harvey restaurants served fresh food on fine linen tablecloths and were staffed with women who worked hard and behaved well. These women became such iconic figures that they were immortalized in the 1946 movie, The Harvey Girls, starring Judy Garland.
But as railroad travel declined with the advent of the automobiles, La Posada became obsolete. The building was turned into office space and then scheduled to be torn down. It was only after a group of determined locals became involved that the building was saved, restored and finally reopened to the public in 1997.
Free self guided tours as well as low-cost guided tours by Harvey Girl volunteers showcase the hotel’s architecture, art and history. www.laposada.org