Adobe Structure Roof Beams, Painted Desert Inn, Navajo, Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park, October 9, 2011
Painted Desert Inn (National Park Service)
Only one national park in the country includes and protects a section of historic Route 66: the Petrified Forest National Park with one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood, multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic structures, archeological sites, and displays of over 200-million-year-old fossils. The national park and this section of Route 66 are not to be missed, and one of the most special places to visit in the park is the Painted Desert Inn.
The inn is situated on a mesa overlooking the vast and colorful Painted Desert. It is rooted in a lodge that entrepreneur Herbert David Lore completed around 1920. In 1935, the National Park Service purchased the inn and its surroundings. The National Park Service immediately began planning to overhaul the building using the rustic aesthetic so popular in park architecture of the time. The National Park Service commissioned Lyle Bennett, one of its most sought-after architects, for the remodeling. Young men employed in the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration’s back-to-work programs, supplied the labor.
The inn is of wood and native stone in the Pueblo Revival style. Outside, flagstone terraces surrounded by low walls overlook the desert. The building’s stone walls are more than two feet thick and finished with textured earth-toned stucco. Multiple flat roofs with parapets give the inn its varied massing, and Ponderosa Pine logs pierce the walls, adding play between light and shadow.