Brief History of The Lodge from The Lodge in Cloudcroft
Originally constructed in 1899 by the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway as a by-product of the railroad's search for timber and railway ties, the resort of Cloudcroft became an immediately successful mountain retreat... a cool reprieve to thousands of overheated Texans. (Remember that New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona were not states at the time.) Owned and operated by the railroad, the resort's initial building was a pavilion (now the Pavilion, a Bed and Breakfast at The Lodge with reception and ballroom.)
As the actual log-constructed Lodge neared completion in 1899, an article in the Albuquerque Journal-Democrat reported, "This beautiful building will be known as Cloudcroft Lodge and its interior will be furnished with a lavish hand, yet in keeping with the character of the place. Fireplaces, with wide, hungry mouths, will sparkle, crackle and dart forth welcome tongues of flame to hundreds of merry guests, who will find a new pleasure in life during the long, sultry summer."
In 1908, the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad System, the resort's new owner, advertised that the hotel, restaurant, dancing pavilion, tennis court, golf links, bowling alley, billiard parlor, burro trips and children's playground were accessible for weekend rates of $3.00 round trip. Lodge rates were $12.50 and up per week.
On June 13, 1909, a disastrous fire destroyed The Lodge. But by 1911 The Lodge had been rebuilt and reopened on its current, more scenic site. Since then it has undergone numerous renovations, but the initial appearance remains almost unchanged.
Over the history of The Lodge, thousands of Southwestern families have called The Lodge and Cloudcroft their second home. The Lodge has entertained and hosted hundreds of politicians, artists, entertainers and business leaders, including such notables as Poncho Villa, Judy Garland and Clark Gable. Gilbert Roland was known to frequent The Lodge. Both U.S. and Mexican government officials have long visited the historic hotel. Military leaders, scientists and astronauts from all over the world have made The Lodge a retreat during their visits to White Sands Missile Range, Holloman AFB and Fort Bliss. And, in fact, the most famous hotelier in the world was once associated with The Lodge; Conrad Hilton managed it in the 1930's.
In January of 1992 the historic Lodge was repurchased by the Great Inn of the Rockies, Inc., a small privately held corporation that aspires to own and operate small resort hotels and country inns in the Rocky Mountain Region. The Great Inns of the Rockies previously owned The Lodge from 1986 to 1990.
Today The Lodge continues in the tradition of friendliness, hospitality, outstanding food and unique lodging.