Historic Harvey House hotel reopens in New Mexico

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The bell tower on the restored Harvey House in Las Vegas, N.M.
Three photos, Steve Glischinski
LAS VEGAS, N.M. – The Hotel La Castañeda, a former Santa Fe Railway Harvey House hotel adjacent to the former depot in Las Vegas, saw its first guests in decades April 1. The hotel received its certificate of occupancy for seven rooms in the south wing last week for occupancy beginning April 1.

The hotel was built in 1898. For some 50 years it was considered the “queen of Las Vegas” an architectural gem that welcomed visitors who arrived by Santa Fe passenger trains. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders held their first reunion at the hotel in 1899. It was named for Pedro de Castañeda, who chronicled Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s expedition through the Southwest in the 1540s.

The hotel closed in 1948 and remained vacant from at least 1950 to 1960 before Santa Fe sold it. It was resold to Don and Marie Elhd in 1973 who had plans to restore it but never came to fruition. It sometimes operated as an apartment complex with a bar, but closed and fell into disrepair.

Entrepreneur Allan Affeldt and his wife bought the 25,000-square-foot building in 2014. Affeldt also owns and restored La Posada, the popular historic Harvey House on the BNSF Railway "Southern Transcon" main line in Winslow, Ariz., and the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, built in 1882.

La Castañeda is the centerpiece of Las Vegas’ “railroad district.” When plans for the multi-million-dollar restoration of the hotel were announced, nearby historic buildings were purchased and restoration began on those structures as well. Work continues on the restoration of the remainder of the hotel, with plans to open a saloon later this month, more rooms in May, and a restaurant in June.

Like La Posada, travelers can ride Amtrak’s Southwest Chief virtually to the hotel’s front door. But unlike in Winslow, where visitors can lounge in front of the hotel and see up to 100 trains in a 24-hour period, Las Vegas has only the eastbound and westbound Chief to entertain train watchers.

Reservations can be made for La Castañeda by calling (505) 425-3591.
The lobby is already restored, and more spaces are expected to open to guests in the coming months.
The street side of the restored hotel.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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