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Seligman Harvey House may be demolished
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Seligman Harvey House may be demolished
« on: Sep 19th, 2007, 9:18pm »
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TRAINS:  SELIGMAN, Ariz. - The abandoned former Santa Fe Railway Harvey House in Seligman may soon be torn down in spite of preservationists' wishes. It is owned by BNSF Railway and is scheduled for asbestos abatement. Following the removal of asbestos BNSF plans to demolish the building. BNSF spokesperson Lena Kent told the Arizona Republic that the railroad planned to take down the building, but "not this year, and we don't even know if it will be in 2008 yet."
The "Havasu House" restaurant and hotel was built about 1905. In its heyday, the two-story, nearly 60,000-square-foot Havasu Harvey House had a reading room, lunch counter, bar, restaurant, and more than 50 rooms for travelers and staff. Mary Clurman, who lives outside Seligman, said the informal Friends of Havasu has found three potential investors and hopes at least part of the property can be restored, as was La Posada Harvey House in Winslow, Ariz.
The inside of the Havasu has been gutted since it closed about 1984 when Seligman was eliminated as a Santa Fe crew change point. Its newsstand, dark woodwork, and carved banisters are gone, and its reading room has been moved to Seligman High School, where it serves as a biology building. Windows are boarded, the red-tile roof has a few leaks, and BNSF has fenced the property to protect it from vandals.
Once a lunch stop for World War II-era soldiers on their way to the West Coast, the Havasu sits about 25 feet from the BNSF tracks on Railroad Avenue. Seligman, off historic Route 66 about 75 miles west of Flagstaff, has a population of about 800 people and a handful of thriving businesses.
"You've got the Route 66 connection and this fantastic Harvey Hotel that's just sitting there waiting for redevelopment," Brian Kreimendahl told the Republic. A New Mexico resident, he's one of the people pushing to save the building. Aging baby boomers and increasing interest in historical tourism should be enough to support a second life for the site, he says.


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