Advocates say Gateway Hotel should be saved

New history comes to light for the Gateway Hotel

El PASO, Texas - -  The Gateway Hotel is now on its way to possibly being condemned, and ABC 7 has learned more about the history of the building.

The building was originally built in 1904 as the Guarantee Trust Building, but it gained extra significance in the eyes of the historical community when it was remodeled by Henry Trost to become the Gateway Hotel in 1927. It has suffered serious neglect leading up to the recent evacuation of its residents, but advocates like UTEP professor Max Grossman say it's an important part of El Paso's history and can be saved.

     "We'd like to think that long-term historical preservation projects are viable," Grossman said. "Why else would CVS Pharmacy purchase the Buckler Block downtown, the old McCrory's Pharmacy, a 1910 Trost building. Apparently, it was a profitable enterprise."

     Unfortunately, there are numerous, serious issues facing the hotel and as of right now, the future doesn't look good for the building. The former residents of the Gateway Hotel were let back in Wednesday to remove the rest of their belongings. Officials with the city said they're pushing for the building to be condemned and ultimately demolished.

But advocates in the historical community say the building is worth saving - not just because of it's history, but how it can be used as an economic driver for the future. ABC 7 has learned that the Gateway was one in a series of five hotels in the region built in the 1920s and 30's to spur tourism in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. Grossman, who also sits on the board of the El Paso County Historical Commission, said it could become a big draw to downtown if it was restored.

     "Two of these buildings, the El Paisano in Marfa, and the El Capitan in Van Horn, are profitable, beautiful hotels, major tourist attractions, landmark buildings," Grossman said. "We can imagine the potential of this building, which is just one of that series. It could be a tourist destination, a landmark, it could be a part of the overall renovation of Downtown, which we're witnessing, right?"

ABC 7 spoke with the City Development office, and officials said they're gathering more information about the historical significance of the hotel, possibly towards preserving it. However, they won't be able to take any action until city inspectors complete their survey of the building. The release of those findings is expected on Thursday.

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