Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
The Historic Hotel San Carlos (also known as the San Carlos Hotel) sits on the site of an old schoolhouse built in 1874. While the school served Phoenix for many years, it was condemned in 1916. The property changed hands over the next decade with hopes to build a hotel, but the project didn’t begin until 1927 under Charles Harris and Dwight D. Heard. When its doors opened in 1928, the hotel had many state-of-the-art facilities for its time. It was, for instance, the first hotel in Phoenix with air conditioning. The hotel also had elevators, chilled water running in the rooms, and steam heat.
After Heard’s death in 1929, Harris moved his family into the penthouse and worked to keep the lights on through the Great Depression. The hotel remained in the family until 1967 and made its way to the Melikian family in 1970. For nearly 50 years the Melikians have owned and operated the San Carlos. In 2003, they restored the hotel through a $1 million renovation. Some of its notable guests include Mae West, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, and Gene Autry. Today, the hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, a program under the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is undergoing a $1 million renovation.
Post cover photo from Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons.