Monday, 23 April 2012 20:46

The Exchange Hotel

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The earliest mention of the Exchange Hotel was by William Becknell, the first American trader to travel what became the Santa Fe Trail, when he arrived in Santa Fe in 1821.  Prior to that, records indicate that there was an inn (fonda) at the location.  During the 19th century, the hotel was known by several names until it was razed in 1919 and rebuilt as today's La Fonda. The Exchange was the hub of social interaction (at least among men) during the last half of the 19th century, boasting a saloon and a billiard parlor that was always active. 

The caption for this photo reads "It is the oldest hotel in the west, and was the hotel at the end of the Santa Fe Trail. Overhead wires for power or communications can be seen attached to the adobe hotel. A covered portal supported by square posts is visible on the left. A workman stands on a ladder at left under the porch roof near a sign reading "Lemp, St. Louis". A dog lies on the ground at the foot of the ladder. The area in the foreground is composed of dirt.  Other legible signs include: ..."Star Tobacco", "Exchange Hotel", "Coca-Cola [...] fountain."

Photo by Reverend George Cole

Ca. 1895-1905

Read 5230 times Last modified on Friday, 04 May 2012 00:54
Mike Lord

4th generation Santa Fe Gringo.


  • Comment Link Mike Lord Saturday, 19 May 2012 16:37 posted by Mike Lord

    Note the line of horse droppings going across Shelby Street. Cleaning up manure must have been a monumental task.

  • Comment Link Polly Jackson Tuesday, 24 April 2012 12:59 posted by Polly Jackson

    That is so amazing...the photo almost looks as if it could have been taken today. What a wonderful history La Fonda has....

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