Owners Henry Taylor and Sam (Pamela) Green Taylor have been at it again. The latest phase of their 40-year restoration project is evident from the moment you walk through the door.
The lobby’s original 19-foot-high ceiling has been restored and the grand staircase has been rebuilt. “It’s everything we dreamed it could be,” said Sam. “We wanted the renovation to be historically correct from the Victorian staircase to the vintage wall paper. We want people to feel like they’ve been transported back to the early 1900s.”
Another feature guests will no doubt notice is the expert carpentry, from the wood floors to the detailed finishes around the windows and banister. “It’s been a family affair and taken a team to get this done,” said Sam, whose three brothers, Curtis, Greg and Doug, have all worked on the hotel through the years. Greg and Curtis have been on this latest project.
“The staircase wasn’t part of the budget, but it needed to be a grand staircase with Victorian style. It also wasn’t original to the building. But now it’s five feet wide. Two people can walk down together and it will make a great photo opportunity for weddings and family reunions.”
Repurposed wood from the second story flooring was used for wainscoting on the staircase. Old timbers that were the joists were milled and shaped for all the trim around the windows and doors. Four of the building’s 15 hotel rooms are new, decorated with antique furniture and claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms.
“I feel really proud,” said Sam. “All the work has been done and the building is 100 percent operational. That has been our goal.”
Since this phase of the restoration work began in March, The Gopher Hole and Charly’s have been open. “We are so grateful to the community for coming in for lunch or dinner and supporting the hotel throughout this process,” said Henry. “The Weatherford Hotel belongs to everyone. It’s an important part of Arizona history and we feel very strongly that it be around for generations to enjoy.”
Located on the corner of Aspen and Leroux in downtown Flagstaff, the hotel was built in 1897 originally as a mercantile store, and then changed to accommodate tourism in 1900 as the Weatherford Hotel, which opened on New Year’s Day 1900 and has been open ever since as Arizona’s oldest, continuously operating hotel.
Signature features that have been returned to the building while the Taylors have owned it include the second story wrap-around balconies and cupola, or witch’s cap, on top of the hotel. The Weatherford is also Flagstaff’s center attraction on New Year’s Eve with the Great Pinecone Drop.
The Taylors say the next major addition is the elevator tower, which they hope to build next year.
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN