Desert Messenger

April 20, 2011

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P��� 6 VOICES FROM THE PAST Excerpts from “In the Shadow of Saguaros” By Rosalee Oldham Wheeler Find In the Shadow of Saguaros at Readers Oasis Bookstore, Qtz. THE ALASKA HOTEL OF BOUSE IN QUARTZSITE (Previous story was: “History of Conner Field) Around 1940, a couple of years af- ter we moved to Quartzsite, long-time resident Bill Keiser announced that he was moving the Alaska Hotel of Bouse to Quartzsite. Several weeks later we were tending a yard of our honey bees near Bouse and saw Bill with a huge load on his old fl atbed Model T truck. During our by-the-roadside- chat Bill told us that he had purchased the abandoned hotel and was moving it piece-by-piece to Quartzsite to build his dream home. Bill was excited to tell us all about the grand two-story cement block structure with a veranda that went completely around the second story. There guests relaxed and enjoyed the cool evening breezes while viewing the wonderful desert sunsets. The lobby walls were of solid oak and all fl oors were made of nar¬row, solid oak, tongue and grove. The beauti- ful oak staircase from the second fl oor entered into the parlor where a huge potbel¬ly stove kept the entire hotel warm in winter with ironwood gath- ered from the desert. The stove had a glass door where guests could view the glowing red-orange coals. ���.D�����M��������.��� The Alaska Hotel had been built in the late 1800s as a convenience for the investors of the Swansea Mine located northeast of Bouse. George Mitchell, the mine superintendent, was from Swansea Wales. From Wales and his contacts in France Mitchell promoted the Swansea Mine. Many investors wanted to see the operation fi rst-hand plus they were curious about a land so different from their own. In July of 1905 the Ari- zona & California Railroad com¬pleted 50 miles of track from Congress Junc- tion to Salome. By the sum- mer of 1907 the railroad reached Parker with a spur track from Bouse out to the Swansea Mine. The Swan- sea spur brought many cu- rious European investors to Southwestern Arizona and it was decided to build a mag- nifi cent train station with stained glass windows at the Swansea terminus. The colorful win- dows were an unusual contrast to the adobe structure. At Swansea the pas- sengers would disembark their elegant Pullman car and the train would back A���� 20, 2011 down to the mine, fi ll the open hopper cars with ore, and then return to Bouse. Many visitors stayed several weeks at the hotel to check out their investment and the unusual fl oral and fauna of the desert Southwest. By the early 1930s the ore began to play out and coupled with the world- wide fi nancial panic and bank fail- ures in New York, the operators of the (This picture was taken from the Arizona Road Maps and Tourist Book published in 1913 by the Arizona Good Road Association.) Swansea Mine were left with no other alternative but to close the mine. With- out investors coming to check on their  SEE HOTEL ON PAGE 9

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