Thursday, December 27, 2007

Arizona man has plan to save Seligman's 1913 Harvey House

[Source: Margaret Foster, National Trust] -- An Arizona hotel might have a shot at seeing another year. When the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad announced its plans to demolish the 1913 Havasu Hotel, which it abandoned in 1989, locals publicized the threat to one of the last historic buildings in tiny Seligman, Ariz., 80 miles west of Flagstaff. The Arizona Preservation Foundation put the Harvey House on this year's list of the state's most endangered places. A "Harvey House," the hotel is one of an 80-building chain of railroad hotels and restaurants that entrepreneur Fred Harvey built throughout the West.

Local Frank Kocevar, who spent two years restoring a Route 66 store in Seligman, stepped forward this fall and asked the railroad to give him the 60-room hotel, which he wants to move to his 10-acre site nearby. The railroad has given Kocevar until Jan. 8 to submit a formal plan for the building's relocation. This week, Kocevar received an estimate to move the hotel's main section, and the project is "doable," he says. "I came up with this idea when all hope of saving it was kind of lost," Kocevar says. "My plan was just to save the building, relocate the building, and then see what develops." Kocevar "has inspired other businesses in town to spiff up their facades," says resident Mary Clurman, who has been trying to save the ailing building for seven years. "It's the best-looking thing in Seligman, and it should be preserved because of that." Kocevar envisions the Havasu Hotel as a visitors center stocked with artifacts from Harvey Hotels, and he'd like to include a business that would turn the building into a tourist attraction, "just to have that sort of a monument in town. The town sure needs a draw."

[Note: To read more about Harvey Houses on Preservation Online, click here. Photo source: National Trust.]