Aztec Hotel - Monrovia, CA
Posted by: silverquill
N 34° 09.086 W 118° 00.349
11S E 407278 N 3779403
Quick Description: On old Route 66, the Aztec Hotel opened in 1925 as the most ornate hotel in Monrovia, California. Designed by Robert Stacy-Judd to reflect Mayan (not Aztec) it became the hangout of celebrities, many visiting nearby Santa Anita Park.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 2/11/2008 8:57:41 AM
Waymark Code: WM354B
When it opened on September 6, 1925; the Aztec Hotel was not only the most ornate hotel in the city of Monrovia, it was also the completion of the first architectural attempt to apply the principles of Mayan art and architecture to modern American buildings.
The hotel was designed by the quirky Los Angeles architect Robert B. Stacy-Judd who attributed the inspiration for this design to John L. Stephen's incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1841), a work which expounded on the importance of Mayan contributions to the architecture and included a number of engravings by Frederick Catherwood.
The misnomer "Aztec" was given to the structure by Stacy-Judd because he believed that the general public was better acquainted with that tribe than the Mayan culture. Judd was known to refer to its style as "Mayan Revival."
The Aztec Hotel had opened with great fanfare and for several years was the most exclusive hotel in the area. But historians say it may have been to fantastic in appearance for success. Monrovia financiers, who had put up the money to build their hotel during the boom years of the early 20's, quickly became disenchanted investors when the hotel closed during the Great Depression. The building was sold at auction for $50,000. Since then, the Aztec has had varying fortunes. When nearby Santa Anita Race Track opened in the 1930's, the hotel was renovated and opened to host such celebrities as Bing Crosby and Mickey Rooney.
The original tile floor remains in perfect condition and the dome-shaped windows are original. Stained glass, well-preserved murals, lighting fixtures, a unique fireplace, and Mayan sculptures remain from the original design. Stop to take a look at this bit of Southern California's history, there is much to see in this unique piece of architecture.
The Aztec Hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and underwent major renovations in 2002, preserving this historic landmark as a destination for travelers and facility for local gatherings.