• The Gage Hotel – Marathon, Texas

    Gage Hotel
  • Bullion Plaza School – Miami, Arizona

    Bullion Plaza School
  • Hotel El Capitan – Van Horn, Texas

    Hotel El Capitan
  • Val Verde Hotel – Socorro, New Mexico

    Val Verde Hotel
  • The Owls Club – Tucson, Arizona

    Owls Club
  • El Paso High School – El Paso, Texas

    El Paso High School
  • Trost Residence – El Paso, Texas

    Trost Residence
  • Albuquerque High School – Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Albuquerque High School
  • University of Texas El Paso – El Paso, Texas

    University of Texas El Paso

Hotel Cortez
El Paso, Texas


Description: Hotel Cortez
Other Names: Originally Hotel Orndorff (1926-1933); The Hussman Hotel (1933-1936); The Cortez Building (since 1984)
Address: 300 North Mesa Avenue at NE corner of Mills Street, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: hotel
Original Client: Alzina Orndorff DeGroff
Historic Inventory: National Register number 80004105
Date: September 10, 1926 opening
Condition: extant, used as office building

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: Ramey Brothers, El Paso, general contractor; El Paso Roofing Co., roofing and waterproofing; Mitchel & Halbach, Chicago, interior decorating; see also bibliography item 1 below (Norman Walker) and note on Servent doors under Remarks, below
Dimensions and Orientation: 9 story L shaped shaft on 2 story rectangular base; faces west; Spanish Colonial Revival style with strong Renaissance overtones
Architectural Style: Prairie; Spanish Colonial Revival Style
Budget/Cost: $1,500,000


Wall Materials: buff brick
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: cast stone relief ornament
Remodeling and Additions: Restored and converted to offices by Patrick Rand of Carroll, DuSang and Rand, El Paso, 1983-1984. On September 6, 1929, two story addition added and was known as the aviation headquarters.

Present Owner: Franklin Land and Resources, Inc., a subsidiary of El Paso Electric Company
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library (L-11) 7 undated tissue drawings; (M-15) four ink on linen drawings, including elevations, for a 3-story 64 x 42 feet annex (not built), Commission number 2815, dated October, 1929; Arizona State University, Luhrs Collection, photograph of rendering of proposed Hotel Orndorff (alternate design not built).
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford: 206 (postcard), 286, 235-237, exterior; 238a, b, 239-250, interiors; Aultman, E.P. 1940: 9062.

Bibliography: (1) Norman Walker, A Castle of Old Spain on the Plaza of El Paso (El Paso: The McMath Co., Inc., [1926]) (a booklet written by a veteran El Paso newspaper writer; description of the hotel, listing of contractors, subcontractors and suppliers; photographs of the interior and exterior)
(2) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), pages 69-73 and 77, discussed; pages 71-73, illustrated; page 131, bibliographic notes)
(3) Louise Maxon Rea, Business Woman Has Unique Place In History, El Paso Times, Monday, July 3, 1978, pages 1D and 2D (biography of Alzina Orndorff DeGroff)
(4) Jay C. Henry, Trost and Trost in El Paso Texas Architect, volume XXXVII, number 2 (March April, 1987), front cover and pages 34-39 (page37: photograph by Jay C. Henry; pages 37-38: critical analysis of exterior and exterior design)
(5) Patrice Steadmon, Aging Hotels Will Get Facelift for $38 Million,El Paso Times, July 8, 1982 (report on plans of the owner to restore the Cortez and the Hotel Paso Del Norte
(6) El Paso Times, July 16, 1983 (picture showing restoration in progress on exterior sculpture)
(7) Patrice Steadman, Broker Is 1st Tenant at Cortez, El Paso Times, May 30, 1984, page 1
(8) Pat Henry, Hotel Cortez, El Paso Times, June 27, 1984, page 1C (report on the restoration of the lobby)
(9) Doug DesGeorges, Hotel Restoration Is Labor of Love, El Paso Times, July 29, 1984, pages 1B and 3B (report on restoration of interior)
(10) O’Dette Havel, Built to Be the Best: El Paso Firms Win Kudos for Architecture, El Paso Times, February 2, 1989, pages 1D and 5D (picture of The Cortez Building, description of award to Patrick Rand of Carroll, DuSang and Rand for restoration the Cortez Hotel and transforming it into an office building known as The Cortez Building)
(11) El Paso Evening Post September 6, 1929 ‘$30,000 For Air Quarters at Hussmann”

Remarks: (1) Commission number 2815
(2) The Cortez ceased operation as a hotel in 1970.
(3) The Hotel employed Trost designed SerVent doors, as described in: owns an album documenting the SerVent doors, consisting of photographs, and photographs of technical drawings. A patent was jointly held by Henry C. Trost and R. B. Orndorff. The doors were manufactured by the American Sash & Door Company of Kansas City.
(4) The proposed Orndorff documented in the Luhrs Collection is a rather severe 15 story building, with balconies on the 13th floor, and ornament on the upper two floors. The El Paso Elks building project of ca. 1920 is a Spanish Colonial Revival building, and is similar in many respects to the Cortez.
(5) On June 5, 1963, President Kennedy stayed overnight at the hotel

Originally the site afforded the Hotel Vendome, an early El Paso lodging site. It was replaced by Hotel Orndorff. The Hussman Hotel Company purchased it in 1933  and held a contest to name it. The name Hotel Cortez, was submitted by a prominent lawyer Thornton Hadie.

In 1929, Trost & Trost did plans for a two story addition to the Hotel Hussman, which was to be known as the aviation headquarters and cost approximately $30,000.  The structure will be erected on the roof of the Crystal ball room. Entrance gained from the second floor of the hotel. The plans provided  offices for air transportation and aviation companies. It accommodate a library, reading room and adjoining conference room. Sleeping rooms were also provided on the upper floor.

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