Historic Preservation: LaFonda Hotel

Coast2Coast > Projects > Asbuilt Surveys > Historic Preservation: LaFonda Hotel
Floorplans LaFonda Hotel
Client name:
Felix Design Group
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Surface Area:
Historic Preservation, Hospitality
As-built Survey, Drafting Services
AutoCAD Drawings, Photo Documentation

When Santa Fe was founded in 1607, official records show a Fonda, or Inn, was among the first businesses established. The history can be traced back 400 years and has lasted throughout the Civil War, the railroad expansion, and New Mexico statehood. In 1821, Captain William Becknell found the Inn waiting to welcome his group as they completed the first successful trading expedition from Missouri to Santa Fe. Literally “at the end of the trail,” the original adobe hotel stood at the corner of the Santa Fe Trail and San Francisco Street.

With the trade route established, “La Fonda” soon became the destination of trappers, mountain men, merchants, soldiers, politicians, and gamblers. When New Mexico became a U.S. Territory in 1848, the inn was purchased, and the name was changed to the U.S. Hotel. The hotel was sold again and became The Exchange Hotel, the name under which it operated for nearly 60 years. By 1907, the deteriorated Exchange Hotel had become a run-of-the-mill boarding house. It survived long enough to see New Mexico attain statehood in 1912 but the old adobe structure was demolished in April 1919 as part of a planned World War I Bond Rally. In 1920, citizen investors bought stock to finance the present-day La Fonda, built on the same site at the southeast corner of the Plaza.

Elevations LaFonda Hotel

As it enters a new era, the hotel embarked on a major preservation and renovation project. As architects and designers started planning for the almost 90-year-old property’s transformation, they found early on that they needed a set of documents that accurately showed the existing conditions of the building to help them fully realize the hotel’s potential. Coast 2 Coast was there to prepare a full set of as-built drawings including floor plans, reflected ceiling plans, interior elevations, exterior elevations, and a roof plan. The team surveyed almost every square inch of this National Historic Landmark. When it was all said and done, Coast 2 Coast surveyed more than 220,000 square feet of guest rooms and common area, 84,000 square feet of a parking garage, and over 20,000 square feet.

Elements of the original design of the adobe structure are still evident throughout the hotel, with La Plazuela situated on the hotel’s original 1920’s outdoor patio.

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