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Santa Rita Hotel
Tucson, Arizona

 

Description: Santa Rita Hotel
Other Names: None
Address: Broadway and South Scott Avenue (Armory Park), Tucson,Pima County, Arizona
Type: hotel
Original Client: L. V. Raphael, Gen. L. H. Manning. The Santa Rita Company
Date: 1902-1904, addition 1917
Condition: demolished December, 1972, except for a portion of the 1972 south wing, which was incorporated into a new hotel on the same site and with the same name. Totally demolished in August 2009.

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Rust (1902-1904); Trost & Trost (1917)
Contractors:
Dimensions and Orientation: faced West; 124 feet on Broadway and 172 feet on Scott street
Budget/Cost: $75,000

Foundation: probably concrete
Wall Materials: plastered
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used:
Remodeling and Additions: 6 story addition to the South by Trost & Trost, 1917

Present Owner:  Tucson Electric Power (owners of the land)
Location of Drawings: None known to exist
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 567-569

Bibliography: (1) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), page 29
(2) Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, January 24, 1902, page [8]: Ground will be broken at once on the $75,000 hotel building. Lots 2 and 3, block 257, have a frontage of 124 feet on Broadway and 172 feet on Scott street.
(3) Trost & Trost, Architects (El Paso: Trost & Trost, 1907), page 12, facade; page 18, mezzanine; page 32, mezzanine; page 54, perspective view
(4) Santa Rita Hotel Observes 50th Anniversary, Arizona Daily Star, January 24, 1954, history of the hotel
(5) Andrew Wallace, The image of Arizona; pictures from the past (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1971), page 12, engraving, perspective view
(6) Judy Donovan, Another Landmark, The Santa Rita, Will Fall under the Wrecker’s Ball, Tucson Daily Star, April 30, 1972
(7) Judy Donovan, Santa Rita Bows to Wrecking Ball, Arizona Daily Star, December 6, 1972
(8) Tucson News Now Aug 25, 2009. The Santa Rita Hotel comes crashing down
(9) Tuscon Daily Citizen February 19, 1954 page 67
(10) Arizona Daily Star December 24, 1902 page 1

Remarks: In 1902 Architect Trost submitted plans for a Mission Revival Style hotel in downtown Tucson.
The Santa Rita hotel occupied lots 2 and 3 in block 257, Military Plaza, being 124 feet on Broadway and 160 feet on Scott. It was to be built on land donated by the city and developer R.H. Raphel of Los Angeles to build the finest hotel . However Raphel call it quits after only two stories of the planned four stories had been completed. He then sold the uncompleted hotel to Charles M. Shannon of Clinton, Arizona. The hotel and it property was then deeded to the Santa Rita Company owned by Levi Manning, Julius Goldbaum and Federico Ronstadt Completion of the hotel were carried on under the supervision of L. Manning, Epes Randolph and Fred Ronstadt.

The main entrance of the hotel opened to a courtyard with balconies overlooking the whole space of the entrance 80 feet by 32 depth. This entrance leaded to the rotunda which was 80×80 by 26 feet in height. The floor of the rotunda was tiled, as will as the ladies entrance, which came in off Broadway. To the left of the entrance were offices and to the south was the elevator. To the far south of the rotunda was a continuous balcony to the dining room, 40×65, and finished in oak. Off the east side was the culinary department and to the north of that a cafe. Skylight provided light into the rotunda in addition to artificial light. The marble staircase lead to the second floor and staircases to the upper floors. Two fire escapes were located on the east side of the building. There was to be eight storerooms with four on the street.
Completed by the end of December 1903, the hotel was sold to L.J.F. Iaeger for $200,000. The opening of the hotel was held on February 1, 1904. The hotel stood six stories high with two wings four stories high. On the sixth floor was a roof garden and dance hall. All the rooms includes a telephone connections and a private bathroom.

In August of 1903 the city’s public policy was changed to help support the hotel. It prohibited gambling near the hotel. However in December of 1903 the City issued a license to the Santa Rita to have a bar and install a roulette wheel within the hotel. Thus making the hotel a central location for drinking and gambling.
In 1917, the architectural firm of William and Alexander Curlett of Los Angeles was hired to construct a 160 room wing for the hotel in a Spanish Revival style.

L.J.F. Iaeger stayed on and managed the hotel for 15 years. In the 1930s the hotel was owned by the Goodman family of Kansas City, Mo. Nick Hall managed it in the 1950s and gave it a western atmosphere.

On April 30, 1972 the Santa Rita closed it doors. It was demolished as part of a plan to redevelop the property. In 2009 the 1917 addition to the hotel was demolished by UniSource Energy Services and their subsidiary Tucson Electric Power.

The Santa Rita Hotel stood as a major investment in expansion of Tucson social history.

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.