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Detroit Copper Company Hotel
Morenci, Arizona


Description: Detroit Copper Company Hotel
Other Names: Navajo Hotel; Hotel Morenci
Address: Morenci, Graham County, Arizona
Type: hotel
Original Client: Detroit Copper Company
Date: 1901-02
Condition: 1969 buried under open pit tailings

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Robert E. Rust
Dimensions and Orientation: three stories, 80 feet x 80 feet
Budget/Cost: $30,000

Wall Materials: first story stone faced; others plastered
Roofing Materials: clay tile (?)
Other Materials Used: elaborate staff ornament on front
Remodeling and Additions:

Present Owner:
Location of Drawings: none known to exist
Location of Documentary Photographs:

Bibliography: (1) Trost & Trost, Architects (El Paso: Trost & Trost, 1907), page 45, front; page 49, photograph of lobby area
(2) Robert Watt, History of Morenci, Arizona, Master of Arts thesis, University of Arizona, 1956, page 51
(3) El Paso Evening Post, February 9, 1929 page 19 appear in a list of hotels done by Trost & Trost
(4) El Paso Herald, December 20, 1901 page 10 ‘Arizona Spending Much Money on Fine Buildings’
(5) Arizona Daily Star April 6, 1902 page 1
(6) Arizona Republic November 29, 1968

Remarks: In 1902 architects Trost & Rust of Tucson provided the plans for a new hotel in the mining town of Morenci, Arizona.

Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci Operations started in 1872, when the first commercial mining operations were developed. The initial underground mining began in 1881 and the mine later transitioned to open-pit mining beginning in 1937. In 1987 Morenci commissioned its first solution extraction/electrowinning plant and continued as a pioneer for mining technology. Today Morenci is one of North America’s largest producers of copper and one of the largest open-pit mines in the world with great potential for growth and continued prosperity.

The 24 room hotel was nestled on “G” mountain. The hotel was designed in a Moorish style. The walls on the outside were to be finished in rough stucco plaster. The outside walls of the first story however were encased in a coating of boulder laid in cement. The boulders were gathered from nearby hillsides and canyons. The hotel was to contain 24 rooms for guest, a mess dining room for employees and also guests. The dining room that entertaining hotel guests was to be elaborately furnished with high end furnishing from around the state. To get to the second floor lobby guests would have to climb the 57 steps from the main entrance. There was no elevator and guests acted as their own bellhops. The main hotel desk in the lobby was made of cherry wood, with the old-fashioned wainscoting on the walls in a matching stained wood. A large chandelier graced the foyer. Tall window doors open on to the balcony were guests in clear weather day could look down at the town below.

The first floor of the hotel was to be a room occupied by Gila Valley Bank and Trust Company and another room waste be occupied by the postoffice. Between these two rooms would be a court; the hotel office and the dining rooms would be located on the second floor. It would be the finest hotel in Arizona when completed at a cost of $30,000.

In 1969 the old town Morenci, dating back to 1884, was dismantled because it was an obstacle to the expansion of the upper levels of the Morenci Open Pit. The Old Morenci Hotel is gone now and only pieces of it history have been persevered in for future generations.

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990.