One of our favorite downtown Phoenix places; sooooo much history! Hope you enjoy our story and visit and enjoy this historic Arizona hotel real soon!
Link - http://www.hotelsancarlos.com/
On the northwest corner of Central and Monroe Streets, the Native American people of the Salt River Valley once used the land and the underground flowing water as a place to worship their god of learning. When Americans began to build their town of Phoenix, this same holy site was chosen to be the spot to build the town’s first public school building. From 1874 – 1916 the children of Phoenix came to the “Old Adobe” school to learn the lessons of those bygone days.
By 1916 the old school was in need of major repair and the land upon which is at was extremely valuable to the Phoenix business community. A new school was built on a different site and by 1919 the land at Central and Monroe sat vacant.
In the 1920s Phoenix was known as a town good for ones health and was becoming a tourist mecca. A modern hotel was desperately needed to meet the needs of visitors from around the world.
Businessmen Dwight Heard and Charles Harris had the resources to finance a new hotel. Dwight Heard would become best known for the Heard Museum that was named in his honor. Charles Harris is best known in Arizona’s history as the man who designed the Arizona state flag.
Construction of the new San Carlos Hotel was begun on the spot of the old school house. When it was completed in 1927 it was the most modern hotel in the Southwest. It was the first high-rise hotel in Phoenix that was air-conditioned and its lobby and rooms were decorated “to the nines!” The twin, copper-door elevators were also the first in Phoenix and were certainly the talk of the town.
The San Carlos Hotel became the center of Phoenix social life from 1927 thru the mid 1940s. Local politicians came to unwind after a day in the legislature, businessmen cut many a deal in the Palm Room Restaurant and the Hollywood elite came to enjoy the luxurious apartments of the San Carlos. Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Carole Lombard, Mae West and more found their way to a weekend escape in the desert at the San Carlos!
For local Phoenicians the hotel’s French Onion Soup as known simply as the town’s best. The hotel’s dance floor was the place to be and bee seen each Saturday night. During World War II the hotel served as housing for the airmen of Luke Air Force Base.
Today the historic San Carlos Hotel remains a vital part of downtown Phoenix. The Copper Door Restaurant is the perfect place to dine before a ballgame or after an evening at the theatre. The original Austrian crystal chandeliers, sconces and mirrors still grace the restaurant and hotel lobby.
For those who would like to get out and experience Phoenix in a “gentler time”, walk through the copper-door elevators and be carried up to rooms that still retain their historic charm. As the hotel’s own website states, ‘the hotel preserves eloquent yesterdays and surges into the 21st Century.”