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Saving grand old ladies

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By Sherry Robinson

Every community has old buildings that deserve some TLC, and those of us who value historic preservation hope somebody will come along and restore these grand old ladies.

It happens, just often enough to give us hope. Jim Harris and his properties around the Lovington town square come to mind. So does the Sierra Grande Lodge in T or C.

But I wouldn’t have given the Murray Hotel in Silver City much of a chance. Its size alone would have been daunting – a concrete hulk five stories high and a block long with 100 rooms. And if that didn’t discourage a redeveloper, its condition would have.

Debbie Seibel, former manager of Silver City’s Main Street project, used to give tours of the Murray to outside experts.

For years, it had harbored pigeons, strays and vagrants. You had to look hard to see its original charm. At one point, the city contemplated tearing it down, but found that the structure was so sturdy, imploding it would damage surrounding buildings.

A local Realtor said in 2000, “Nobody is going to ride into town on a white horse and save us on this building.”


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