By Janet Webb, February 24, 2015
La Posada was the last Harvey House Hotel built by Santa Fe Railway tourism entrepreneur Fred Harvey. It was designed by architect Mary Colter in 1903, opened in 1930, and welcomed guests through 1957 when it was closed.
In 1997, Al Affeldt and his wife, artist Tina Mion, bought the ruin, have restored it, and given it a new life as an art destination. The lobby and ballrooms are filled with Ms Mion’s paintings and drawings, hung alongside historic furnishings from the Harvey Girl days. It works beautifully! Wandering through the spacious public rooms and viewing Mion’s work I was surprised to come upon the latest copy of Taos Magazine laying on an old hand-carved coffee table. Tina Mion’s artwork is the cover image with a review inside about her Taos exhibition.
Connection to NM #1: Tina Mion’s work is on exhibit in Taos at David Anthony Fine Art on Kit Carson Road. The show hangs through March; don’t miss it! Her Death Spoon Series and portraits of First Ladies are truly unique. She has great technical skills and a sarcastic wit. See her work at DAFA’s website.
Connection to NM #2: Mion and Affeldt have purchased another crumbling Harvey House Hotel, La Castaneda, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. This Harvey House has been closed and mostly unoccupied since 1948. The couple plans to restore the hotel to its former glory. See an Albuquerque Journal interview with Affeldt.
Connection to NM #3: The New Mexico History Museum is featuring an exhibition, Setting the Standard: The Fred Harvey Company and Its Legacy that shows how Fred Harvey’s vision formed how New Mexico was viewed by the rest of America. He was singularly responsible for creating an awareness of, and market for, the arts of this state, especially Native American jewelry, pottery, and weavings. See the museum’s webpage about the show.
Factoid: There were 14 Harvey House lodging and/or dining establishments built in New Mexico. How many remain? I’m investigating!
Photos: La Posada Hotel public area with Tina Mion’s paintings. Tina at David Anthony Fine Art in Taos on opening day.