Here on the eastern edge of New Mexico is an unpolished gem on Main Street.
This historic building — a most impressive building at nine stories high, needs not the fate of a crumbling remnant of another era.
Major structural damage, prohibited expense and the immensity of the undertaking all argue against saving the grand old Clovis Hotel, built in the sand storm depression days.
The extent of work required to bring the hotel back to useful life and reusing the facility may not beyond the resources now available. It deserves at least historic preservation.
But restoring a building is one thing and making the building serviceable, meaningful and useful, is quite another.
Hotel Clovis was the tallest and most elegant building in New Mexico when it opened. It housed passengers and employees during the AT&SF’s heyday that helped forge the Southwest.
As we unloaded the sand and gravel from the Santa Fe coal cars, shipped from the Eastwood Sand and Gravel Pit at Tolar, via G.A. Campbell, for the Clovis Hotel. I remember the line of men seeking employment at 33 cents an hour to try and feed a family or buy a pair of shoes. They needed no gloves as their hands were tough as leather. They could make more money pushing a wheel barrow of concrete for three hours than they could make working a full day most anywhere else.
I wonder how many have gazed out of these tall, noble windows and discovered sunsets and views that could only have been seen from this great height. I can remember the old steam radiators that thumped and groaned so comfortably to give a warmth, and Eddy Arnold singing “The Cattle Call” and the thrill of dancing in the beautiful ballroom.
If we could only stoke the passions of architectural preservationist to bring back the loveliness and elegance of the old structure into something that is useful and productive. We have the talent and the skills to preserve this historic downtown icon.
Someone once wrote, “But in the end we will only love what we preserve and preserve only that which we love.”
And if the structure is destroyed, history as we know it will pass in the same way as the Albuquerque Passenger Station and the Alvarado Hotel.
— Submitted by Johnny Eastwood of Clovis