La Posada Hotel's new life

Tales of a Mary Colter masterpiece in Winslow, Arizona

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Today, the hotel draws guests from as far away as Germany and Japan. As for Mion's canvases, some are being shown starting May 25 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

After we finish the hotel tour, Affeldt walks me down Winslow's main street. As things worked out, its fate mirrored that of La Posada. Railroad jobs dwindled, downtown withered. Even Winslow's other famous attraction ― the Eagles' street corner that had become a city park ― suffered a fire and closed.

Affeldt channeled some of his energies from hotel to town. He bought Winslow's old movie theater and restored it. Distressed by the pace of progress, he ran for city mayor and was elected; he is now in his second term. As La Posada drew visitors, investors began buying other downtown buildings and spruced them up. The corner park is being restored.

Affeldt and I walk back toward La Posada, which is glowing in tile-roofed splendor in the morning sun. "This town had so much going for it," he says. "It just lost its vision."

Maybe that's why La Posada is important. Mary Colter was a great storyteller, and storytellers are inherently visionaries. Step into La Posada's lobby, and you envision yourself as someone you never imagined before. A Spanish grandee, an artist showing at the Smithsonian, the mayor of a newly thriving town. Great stories, all of them, waiting for you to live them.

INFO:  La Posada Hotel (37 rooms from $99; 928/289-4366). To see Tina Mion's work, go to www.tinamion.com.

MORE:  Read more about the Southwest »


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