Flagstaff, also known as the City of Wonders, was on our list of places to explore during our travels along Route 66 in Arizona last summer. The town is located in the heart of Coconino National Forest, the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater National Monument and the Sab Francisco Peaks.
Western author Zane Grey loved Arizona, working on many of his books in a cabin near Tonto Creek and when he visited Flagstaff, he stayed in room 210 at the historic Monte Vista Hotel on San Francisco Street.
The Monte Vista was the longest publicly held commercial hotel in the history of America until it sold to a private individual in the early 1960’s. In its first year of operation the hotel hosted Mary Costigan’s daily three-hour radio show from room 105. Mary was the first American woman to be granted a radio-broadcasting license.
The Monte Vista was a favorite gathering place among the locals who coined the phrase “Meet me at the Monte V”. During prohibition the Monte Vista was Flagstaff’s most popular speakeasy. Then in the 1940’s and 50’s western movies became popular and over 100 movies were filmed in nearby Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon and a scene from Casablanca was filmed in one of the rooms. Many movie stars stayed at the Monte Vista during filming and the hotel began naming rooms after the actors.
As with many historic buildings, the Monte Vista is believed to be haunted. Zane Grey’s room was said to be haunted by the infamous phantom bellboy. John Wayne reported seeing a friendly spirit in his room in the hotel in late 1950’s.
My husband and I stayed the night in the Anthony Hopkins Suite. As you can see by the photo of our room it wasn’t much of a suite. The shower was so narrow that your elbows hit the walls when you tried to wash your hair. Sadly we did not encounter any ghosts in our room. See more stories about the ghosts who haunt the Monte Vista Hotel HERE.
I should mention the other historical hotel in Flagstaff—the Weatherford Hotel, which is said to be one of Wyatt Earp’s favorite hangouts while in Flagstaff. Hubby and I stopped at the hotel for a drink after dinner and learned from the bartender that Zane Grey would frequently work on his books in the Weatherford Ballroom attached to the bar on the second floor.
If you ever have the chance to visit Flagstaff be sure to take a peek inside both hotels and if you’re the adventurous type you may want to try one of these barcycles or pedal pubs!
I’d love to know if you’ve ever stayed the night in a famous hotel and where it was.