Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Conquistadors of Hotel Cortez

In the heart of downtown El Paso, adjacent to the Plaza, there's a little surprise if you look up.  Just above street level, there's a series of portrait heads of conquistadors!

The Hotel Cortez, a Henry Trost building opened in 1926 and remained a hotel until 1970. Built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, when it was opened, it was advertised as a "Castle of Old Spain on the Plaza of El Paso." 

Three hotels have been in this location.  The first, the elegant Vendrome Hotel hosted, among others, Annie Londonderry, the first woman to travel around the world by bicycle.  By 1899, the Vendrome was renamed the Hotel Orndorff, and later a new 11-story Hotel Orndorff was built on the same site in 1926.  A few years later, it was remaned the Hussman, and then the Hotel Cortez.  Since 1984, the building has housed offices.
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Cortez Hotel Building today

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