In a proposal underscoring Western state regional cooperation, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has suggested that a group of historic hotels in both Arizona and New Mexico could be connected by a new rail line.
Speaking before a meeting of the Western Governors Association, Lujan Grisham said the line could connect the famous Harvey House hotels in both states, and might even include a stop at the Grand Canyon.
Founded by entrepreneur Fred Harvey, the Harvey House hotels and restaurants were built between the 1870s and mid-20th century and are generally regarded as one of the first hotel and restaurant chains in the country.
Harvey Houses, known for their Classical Revival and Spanish Renaissance architecture, were located along the route of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.
More than a dozen Harvey Houses were built in Arizona and New Mexico - with at least half that many still in existence but operating under other names - in the Grand Canyon, Winslow, Arizona, and Santa Fe, among other cities.
The route connecting the chain’s locations from Las Vegas, New Mexico to Kingman, Arizona is about 600 miles long.
Noting the recent renovation of that Las Vegas Harvey House, also known as the Castaneda Hotel, Lujan Grisham remarked: “We want to have a tourism experience that connects New Mexico with Arizona, so you would take the train from the Harvey hotels that have been restored in Arizona - that trip will also likely create a stay in the Grand Canyon.”
Although the governor provided no details about the cost of a new rail line operating on the old Harvey House route, she said with such a project, “we connect each other in a way that leverages the opportunities for not just one state but several states.”
By Garry Boulard
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