Art Deco Hotel in Historic Downtown
A Fine Entrance
It was blustery and cool, when we arrived, late May. Luckily we could park in front on Broadway, just past the mint green curb.
I absolutely loved the Art Deco entrance, with its rounded sign and glass block. The long, one-story, corner building seemed much more intriguing than the 5-story "tower" that held the guest rooms. However the tower is what gave The Murray a spotlight, back in 1938. It was and still is, the tallest building in town.
The renovated building reopened in 2012. The nearly 80-year-old hotel looked fresh, with some bright colors and art. I liked the porthole windows with stained glass, on both sides of the door.
The main lobby area was up a few steps. The space was lit by a large skylight, which was part of the original hotel design. Above one couch was a portrait of W.D. Murray, the man behind the hotel.
Horse in the Lobby
The lobby walls were decorated with lots of impressive local art, but the framed photos caught my attention the most. I loved this image of Mr. Murray's granddaughter (and horse) in the hotel lobby, before it opened in 1938.
We checked in at the corner "office" with our very welcoming host. What a bonus to be to be greeted by someone who actually cared about the history of the place. Mr. Cave seemed pleased that we had questions. He took us around the hotel, pointing out original details to the old structure... like the rounded steps, leading to the stairwell.
In the lobby, he pointed to a blocked off door, behind the bookcase. "That was once the entrance to the hotel coffee shop."
Out on the sidewalk later, we found the other entrance, with faded lettering, above a colorful door.
Branding Iron Saloon
Mr. C. took us into an area that had once been the Copper Lounge. In 1960, the hotel's bar changed from a mining theme to a western one. A fabulous mural still remained, despite issues with vandalism, after the hotel closed down. The cattle branding designs represented all the ranches in the county. Evidently, the saloon and dining room got lots of use on weekends, when ranch families came to town.
The Ballroom was added in 1948 along with an expansion to the tower. The space looked pretty quiet when we peeked in, but there are stories of dance bands and balls. The area was even used for a scene in a movie. The floor looked nice, but I'm guessing it wasn't the original dance floor "on springs" that I read about.
I believe this area between the ballroom and lobby, was nicknamed The Martha Room, for Mr. Murray's sister. Breakfast was served under the shiny ceiling, in the morning.
In the evening, we grabbed some complimentary coffee and spotted a few locals taking a dance class, in the ballroom.
Then and Now
On every floor, we found historic photos of The Murray and Silver City. I had some fun studying the vintage photo and comparing it with my own image. You can see there are more rooms on the back of the tower, now.
Even though Don and I booked the cheapest room, we got a decent sized corner room with 3 closets, 3 comfy chairs and 3 windows, with marble windowsills.
There was a fridge and desk, with a retro phone. The giant porthole mirror went along with the moderne style. The big, fat Sony TV went along with a different era. It actually worked well, though.
Love the Bath
The bathroom was just plain fun. The floor to ceiling, glass block, let in lots of light. The yellowish tile and earthy, mosaic floor tile was pretty darn sweet. The sink didn't offer up any storage space, but it looked the part!
One of the perks of our hotel, was walking out the door and wandering town. We hit a good antique store, a brewery and a Mexican restaurant in the evening. In the morning we enjoyed walking the path along the Big Ditch, which was once the town's Main Street... before it was washed away in 1895. That's some amazing history there!
I hope to come back someday and have a beer at the Branding Iron. I'd also like to walk through that sea-green door and enjoy a mug of coffee... along with my newspaper!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!