It has the original bar from the Oriental Saloon, not to mention some of the chandeliers and other furniture pieces and all original hardwood flooring. Three bedrooms, two baths, asking price was $180,000. I'm not sure if they would have allowed RV parking, but there are several around town, one parked with it's back end flat up against a stop sign, so it can't be seen. At any rate, it's moot ... and SOLD. Rats!!
Then I found THIS gem!!! The Arnold Hotel, built in Benson in 1891 by a retired railroad engineer. The original windmill providing water, still stands out front. Yes, it's a fixer-upper, but since it's on the National Register, federal money is available to restore her to her original beauty.
So here's my proposition! You can all come to Benson and workcamp/volunteer with the restorations. I KNEW you'd just LOVE my idea! Besides that, I figure I can talk most of the people in the SKP park into helping out too! I'd have a crew of over 100 people! Wouldn't that be just hunky dory?? I'm SO excited!!
I didn't get to go inside, but I called the Realtor to see what the price was. So here's the deal. The big hotel, along with 4 ... count them, FOUR more houses, encompassing half an entire city block has an asking price of a mere $89,000. You could probably even get it for MUCH less. Unfortunately, some local lady has decided to use all that federal money to make it an antique store and plant nursery.
Apparently she has run into a brick wall however ... the City Council doesn't want to rezone the property from residential to commercial. So the fight is on.
Each little house has a couple of bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom, all built to house the Railroad big wigs when they came to town. I can hear what you are saying ... but I have it on good authority that the buildings here are built on caliche soil, similar to bedrock. We'd just have to replace a few wooden piers with concrete ones, right??
House two has been abandoned since the hotel closed in 1935. One of the first built, it's smaller than it's counterparts.
House three still has all the original windows. Someone moved the door over on this one, but that's an easy fix. The good news is that all four of the small houses have new tin roofs in great shape!!
This one has even had the foundation worked on. It's good to go, don't you think??
The last house is the biggest and looks like it was a rental. All that sheetrock will have to be torn out, but once fixed up, I imagine you could rent out the houses and live off the profits!!
It's a GREAT deal, RIGHT??? Okay, okay ... I hear all the "she's crazy" and "no ways"!! At least the town of Benson isn't becoming a ghost town and it has a hospital!! I have to admit it is located across from the railroad tracks, after all it was built to house people arriving on the train and waiting for the stagecoach. The realtor will call me if it falls out of escrow, but that's a long shot at best. I wonder if that couple from Texas on TV would come do a Fixer Upper for me??
While visiting the local Historical Museum, I picked up this walking tour brochure they have just finishing printing. Yes, it's expensive ... $7.50!! But it's two great tours in one. As you walk around town following the map, it gives you a picture of the building ages ago, as well as a really good description of when it was built and why. Then you can take the driving tour and go see the Arnold Hotel, #55 on the list. There's a lot of interesting history in this little book!!
Back at the rig, after talking several locals into joining me in the Hotel Business (they are all for saving the building), I joined THEM in another fish fry dinner. I set aside half the potato and a piece of fish for breakfast, then finished off the rest, along with cole slaw and a roll, followed by cake. These guys know how to fill you up!!
My plan is to leave tomorrow, sans hotel, and head back towards home. I haven't done any of my taxes yet and I worry about my house. I'm also ready to dive into all those bundles of fabric I purchased. I've a few repairs to complete today, including testing my new collapsible ladder, getting me high enough to lube the awning rails and cleaning my jacks that don't want to retract. I hear there is bad weather in California, not to mention $5.00/gal fuel, so I may just stay in Tucson a few more days. There's also rain clouds on the horizon and a big wind coming ... of course ... just when I'm ready to move!!