I recently flew to Arizona on assignment. One of my clients asked me to photograph the venue their organization will be holding its annual conference later this year. Phoenix, Arizona in March = 93⁰ = hot!
I flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and took the shuttle to the resort not far away in Chandler. I was met by their rep, Lynn, a very nice and funny lady. She gave me a tour of the resort, and a little bit of a history. They don’t really focus on the history; not like they do in places like the Greenbrier in WV.
Chandler was founded by Dr. Alexander John Chandler, a veterinarian, in 1891. He bought 80 acres from the government which grew to an 18,000-acre ranch. In 1912, the same year Arizona became a state, the new Arizona Eastern Railroad brought people looking to buy land, and the town of Chandler was born. The Hotel San Marcos opened in 1913 which welcomed many guests of wealth to the luxury and sunshine. You can read a brief history here.
Those who know me understand how much history means to me. Everything from preserving an old photograph, searching a family tree, and finding that illusive connection. When we went to the Greenbrier I was so thrilled at their success in preserving not only the history, but the traditions as well. The San Marcos is a beautiful place, with luxurious amenities. It has been renovated and updated, but the history is still there if you look for it. Just off the lobby is the entry to the restaurant, and the floors just shine. In the hallway there is a display of historical photographs. The grand staircase with the old grandfather clock, and portrait of Dr. Chandler himself. There is also Dr. Chandler’s 1925 Dodge coupe parked just inside the lobby doorway. This beautiful resort has the first grass golf course ever built in Arizona. Many of the Hollywood elite would vacation there, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, and Joan Crawford to name a few. I heard rumor that Frank Sinatra sang there as well.
The San Marcos is a beautiful place, and someday I would love to stay there. The attendees to the conference will find a place to really enjoy their visit. But remembering that I spent some years living in Arizona, there are also many places in the state they should try to see. Not just the Grand Canyon, but Sedona to the north, and Tucson to the south, and much more. All have beautiful and interesting things to see that those from the eastern states will find an experience they will never forget.