A great event starts with the perfect venue and a meticulous event planner. Having both at the Weatherford Hotel has resulted in a record number of holiday celebrations booked this season.
In Flagstaff’s early years, the historic hotel was the centerpiece of downtown. However, there were decades during in the mid 1900s when the building became rundown, but we’ve been bringing it back to its grandeur since the ‘70s.
This year, we are celebrating 20 years since the creation of the Zane Grey Ballroom. This elegant space is located at the top of the grand staircase and looks out over the historic downtown. From here, you can step out onto the wrap-around balconies that offer the best seat in the house for Flagstaff traditions such as parades and the Great Pinecone Drop. Patrons say it’s an amazing location to watch snow flurries or enjoy a cigar.
With the addition of the Zane Grey Ballroom and the return of the balconies (the original balconies burned in a 1920s fire), the historic Weatherford Hotel has reclaimed its glory and first-class charm as the centerpiece of Flagstaff.
The room itself is rich in history. Urban legend has it, as told by a relative of John W. Weatherford, in the early 1900s, the town sheriff came upstairs to break up a card game. Gambling was illegal. But when he saw who was in the game, he recognized the famous lawman Wyatt Earp.
Instead of stopping the game, he offered a compromise. If the men would agree to donate the winnings to the local women’s club, he told them, “I’ll walk away and this never happened.”
The men agreed and it’s possible some of Earp’s money went to support local schools and churches.
The impressive antique Brunswick bar in the Zane Grey Ballroom has its own stories to tell. Built in 1872, it came from the Crystal Palace Saloon in Tombstone, one of the first such establishments in the rough Western town. Through the years, it traveled to Mexico and then eventually ended up in an antique shop.
Henry discovered it and let the shop owner, an attorney, know he’d love to buy it. Unfortunately, the attorney said the shop was going out of business and Henry didn’t have the funds for the purchase. The two struck a deal. Henry agreed to store the massive bar in the Weatherford Hotel basement (now The Gopher Hole Pub) until he could pay for it; and the businessman could count on a sandwich on the house every week until the payment was made to keep the agreement intact.
For a decade, the bar stayed in the basement and the attorney enjoyed a weekly sandwich in Charly’s Pub and Grill.
Finally, when the Zane Grey Ballroom was coming together, the Brunswick bar that was paid for partially in sandwiches, had a home where it could once again shine in the spotlight.
These stories and many more are what make a venue memorable. With the care of Weatherford Hotel Events Coordinator Klaudia Ness, party planners can rest assured the details are handled and all they have to do is enjoy the occasion and make memories with friends, business associates and family members.
We are thrilled to be able to share the treasure of the historic hotel with locals and visitors. We are also proud that Ness and the Weatherford Hotel have been recognized with the honor of Best of Flagstaff for Event Planning.
Be sure to stop in during the holiday season to take a break, enjoy the ambience and bask in the glow of twinkling lights and more than a century of Flagstaff history.
We hope to see you at one of the best events in town, the Great Pinecone Drop on New Year’s Eve. Be sure to make your reservations for an evening of festivities at the Golden Ticket Event, Sunday, Dec. 31. For more information, call 779-1919, ext. 414. FBN
By Sam and Henry Taylor