Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Old Postcard Wednesday--Hotel Castaneda, Las Vegas, New Mexico

Per Google Maps, it is a 703 mi drive– about 10 hours 21 mins - from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Las Vegas, New Mexico where the Hotel Castaneda still stands as an historic property. LVNV was founded in 1905, some 70 years after LVNM was established.

Las Vegas was originally called Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Las Vegas Grandes (Our Lady of the Sorrows of the Great Meadows) and was established by land grant in 1835. The history of Las Vegas is influenced not only by many different cultures, but also by two major forms of transportation; the railroad and the automobile. As a major trading point on the Santa Fe Trail, Las Vegas became a prosperous town. As trade on the trail increased, so did the variety of settlers in the town.

Unlike any other town in New Mexico, Las Vegas is home to a number of beautiful Victorian homes and buildings. With over 900 buildings on the historical register you are in for a treat.

--City of Las Vegas, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce website:

The website quoted above has a Where to Stay section that does not include the Hotel Castaneda. No longer used as a hotel, it is now a part of the Railroad Avenue Historic District. It's referred to as La Castaneda Hotel by the Las Vegas Citizens' Committee for Historic Preservation:
Built to be a jewel in Fred Harvey's famed chain of railroad hotels, La Castaneda is one of the early Harvey Houses to be built in the Mission Revival Style. Its main facade and courtyard face the railroad tracks. La Castaneda was a sister hotel to Albuquerque's Alvarado Hotel, which was demolished in 1970. A visit to La Castaneda should include a walk through the hotel's once grand lobby and dining room, both remarkably intact.

The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association (I am not kidding) website actually contains the only inside photos of the hotel I was able to find, as well as some very good shots around the outside of the hotel. I've never seen anything quite like the group's Investigation Report of the Castaneda!

The City of Las Vegas New Mexico Museum has its own blog, a feature I haven't found in research for previous old postcards featuring various American cities. With citizens encouraged to write on the blog this seems a marvelous community-building idea. It's a great blog. Good for them!

And how about the other one, Las Vegas, Nevada, whose official city website features right at the top of the page a banner for Earth Hour 2009. Of note: Las Vegas was selected by the World Wildlife Fund as an official flagship city and joins other U.S. flagship cities including Atlanta and San Francisco. ...........I am extremely curious to see how dark Vegas becomes on March 28 at 8:30PM.

There are far fewer lights to turn off in Las Vegas, NM, but it would be nice to know that the citizens there are also planning on taking part in Earth Hour 2009.


naomi dagen bloom said...

Listen, Lydia, it's only the beginning of my day here in the Big Apple. I was expecting Postcard Wednesday not experience-overload!

Love the banner which I only noticed after clicking most of the links. Who knew when I lived in Albuquerque in early 1960s that LVNM should have been visited. My recollection is that the Hotel Alvarado was seediness embodied, very cheap, first place ex-husband and I could afford on lighting in town.

But those ghost sightings, awesome. Hard to imagine all those empty rooms with furnishing that no one has taken. Never happen here.

Lovely new blog design. If only Columbia University would darken its lighted trees for an hour, there could be major shift in the universe--as in putting academic talk together with behavior.

Thanks again for the ride!

distracted by shiny objects said...

Would love to be able to go back in time and visit some of these old hotels, motels, and park lodges. Seems as though there was a different spirit involved in traveling, a more romantic time.

The Acolyte Tao said...

Lol, what? So is the hotel 'haunted' I guess?

Adrienne Booth said...

Hi, Lydia. Just fyi, Las Vegas, NM _is_ doing its part to participate in Earth Hour. One effort to turn off lights is being organized by Brandie Carlson, a graduate student in Media Arts at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.

btw, I'm an avid postcard collector, and I'm also a friend of the City of Las Vegas (NM) Museum... glad to know you saw the Museum's blog and Web site! Nellie Price, the Museum Educator, does a great job managing those sites.

Lydia said...

@Naomi- Sorry about the experience-overload! If I had to be up and about at 4:55 a.m. I'd be in horrible shape cruising around blogs (how do you get up so early?)! I'm glad you like the new design.

I hadn't even given consideration to the furnished rooms in the hotel.
Doesn't it seem quite sad that you didn't visit LVNM when you lived in Albuquerque. It says a lot for the place that there are over 900 buildings on the historical register, and that really makes me want to see the town someday.
So the trees at Columbia are lighted.....I only saw it in the daylight. I really do hope they practice Earth Hour on campus by turning them off.

@Distracted- I'd love to go back in time, too. Just even for one day. But what time to choose, and where would I go for that day.....hmmm.

@Acolyte Tao- Well, maybe so. Isn't it fun that there's a group that actually serves as Ghostbusters of the southwest?

@Adrienne- I was thrilled to receive your comment! Thanks so much for the info about Las Vegas' plans to participate in Earth Hour, and specifically about the efforts of Brandi Carlson.

I really did enjoy the museum blog coordinated by Nellie Price.

Since you are an avid postcard collector I hope you'll return in the future for Old Postcard Wednesday here!
And click here for a marvelous postcard blog.



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