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As a lifelong resident of Santa Fe, I am quite familiar with locales and historical facts surrounding the area. When I got a copy of the book, “Santa Fe’s Historic Hotels,” part of the Images of America series sold all over the area, I thought I would read the deep history of the hotels I know of and learn about the ones I wasn’t around to see.
I ended up with mixed feelings about this book that seems to read like a history book with photos that allow one to step into the past.
It starts off informative with the early beginnings of the Exchange Hotel, which closed in 1919 and its slew of owners including Abraham Staab — owner of La Posada and husband of resident ghost Julia. There is little else mentioned about him or La Posada until the last chapter.
I did enjoy the chapter on La Fonda — a Santa Fe staple and its description of art and décor throughout the years. The connection to Fred Harvey using the La Fonda as a showplace for art was worth mentioning, as well as the number of celebrities that have graced the halls.
Some of the photos had vague dates on them, which was hard for me to swallow since the book is supposed to be historical in nature. Nevertheless, it was nice to see old photos from years gone by, especially the rise of Bishop’s Lodge and the cattle ranch that became Rancho Encantado.
There was one big problem … John Tunstall’s name was spelled wrong. He is a famous historical figure associated with Billy the Kid and the Santa Fe Ring. I guess the spell check was broken that day, or it was the editor’s day off.
I haven’t read the other books of this series, but if you see these books at Walgreens or any other retailer, I suggest you stay away from this one if you want to read accurate information about Santa Fe hotels.