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La Caverna Motor Inn
Carlsbad, New Mexico


Description: La Caverna
Other Names: La Caverna Motor Inn
Address: 227 Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico
Type: hotel
Original Client: C.N. Bassett, H.L. Birney, Robert Washburn and Meirs Cornelius Johnson/ Nat Gammon
Date: 1928
Condition: demolished

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: R.E. McKee
Dimensions and Orientation: three stories, main portion will be four stories – 40 rooms
Budget/Cost: $150,000.

Foundation: probably concrete
Wall Materials: reinforced concrete
Roofing Materials: wood vigas
Other Materials Used: Spanish tile
Remodeling and Additions: 1929 plans were drawn for an two story addition at the cost of $75,000. Contain 50 rooms

Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 539, photograph of a rendering, front elevation, preliminary study

Location of Documentary Photographs: The Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe: 50727, perspective view from the right; 89167, view of left section

Bibliography:(1) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), page 110, brief discussion;
(2) Southeastern New Mexico Historical Society, Eddy County New Mexico to 1981 (Carlsbad, New Mexico: Southeastern New Mexico Historical Society, 1982),page 153, biography of Meirs C. Johnson, photograph of the hotel.
(3) El Paso Herald, May 1, 1928 page 3 ‘Pasoan Gets Contract For Carlsbad Hotel’
(4) El Paso Herald, April 6, 1928 page 5 ‘New $150,000 Hotel for Carlsbad’
(5) El Paso Herald, Feb 2, 1929 page 13 ‘ Increase Capacity’

Remarks: Although Ponsford 539 is Spanish Mission in flavor, rather than Pueblo Revival, the drawing is believed to be a study for La Caverna. Trost’s other Pueblo Revival hotels are the Franciscan, Albuquerque , 1921-1923, and El Capitan in Van Horn , and Hotel Hidalgo, Lordsburg , both late 1920s. The hotel name is Spanish for “The Carvern.” It is named after the Carlsbad cavern.

The first floor will be located a spacious lobby and lounge, coffee shop, cigar store, barber, beauty and curio shops. The interior decorations will correspond with the lines and the atmosphere of the exterior.

H.L. Birney, C.N. Bassett, Myers Johnson and Robert Washburn of El Paso are incorporators of the hotel company

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.