Cochise Hotel
Call Us at (818) 480-8047 or Email us at phillipgessert@cochisehotel.net
test

1958 to 2007 The years of Elizabeth Husband and Lillie Harrington.

 
 

Liz Gunter, bought the Cochise landmark from Mrs. Fern Moore daughter of Mrs. Skinner in 1958, with long range plans to preserve the authenticity of the earlier era when Cochise was a bustling rail center. " I couldn't bear the thought of it being ruined," she said.  Mrs. Gunter, later Mrs. Husband, also owned the Four Spear Ranch.

 Restoration work began immediately.  Modern baths and heaters were installed in each room as inconspicuously as possible, plaster and paint were repaired, and the kitchen was modernized.  Mrs. Gunter joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which sent her materials to help with the work.

Newspaper photo of Liz reading in the parlor.

                    Ssome of the furnishings, which Mrs. Gunter refers to as "turn of the century antiques" were in the hotel, but most were brought from Mrs. Gunter's girlhood home in Connecticut. Her father was William S. Fulton, founder of the Amerind Foundation and Museum in nearby Dragoon.  Most of the furniture in the hotel is older than the building itself. 

                                   

Lilly Harrington, long time caretaker of the Hotel for Liz, became almost as famous as the historic hotel in which she worked.

Lilly's lush backyard in all it's splendor.

       

THE OLD WATER TOWER AND FAMOUS BOTTLE LINED COTTAGE

The next time your happy trail passes Willcox, Ariz., 85 miles east of Tucson on Interstate 10, do yourself a favor and take a short detour. And hell, I'm not gonna put the knock too hard on the hometown of your favorite singin' cowboys, Rex Allen Sr. and Jr., but the real treat's down south, five miles off the interstate U.S. 666 in the well-preserved town of Cochise.  There you'll encounter a working museum/hostelry, the legendary Cochise Hotel & Waterworks.  The waterworks vanished with the passing of the steam engine, but the hotel still stands.

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 

 

THE KITCHEN

The front door's locked, so you have to enter from the backyard through the kitchen, where you meet the proprietress, Lillie Harrington, and her half chihuahua/half coyote companion, Kitty.  As crusty as she is colorful, the caretaker belongs in the National Register of historic places along with the hotel she runs.

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 

Her cooking's down home chicken ($6.50) or steak ($9) for lunch or dinner, eggs and biscuits for breakfast.  And it's served at Lilly's convenience, not the customer's, because when she yells "come and get it for I throw it out" she's not foolin. The good chuck is enhanced by the hotel's early Western atmosphere which laterally drips nostalgia, beginning with the meals served at the communal dining table under an antique chandelier. 

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 


The only two items available on the lunch and dinner menus are baked chicken and grilled steak.  The meals come with bowls of potatoes and vegetables from which patrons help themselves.  Breakfast consists of fried eggs, bacon, juice, rolls butter and jelly with as mush dark, rich coffee as you can down.  "It's the same every day, " Lillie said.  "I don't change a thing."

Ole Magazine,  September 13, 1984 by Ron Rodgers

The Parlor

                  

                                    THE VICTROLA                                     THE LIND SOFA

After dinner it was off to the parlor where guests can play the piano, crank the Victrola that accepts cylinders rather than flat discs, or browse the small library of old volumes featuring, what else? The Virginian.  The drawing room's crowning glory is a velvet covered carved wooden sofa reputed to have belonged to the Swedish Nightingale herself, Miss Jenny Lind, famed in the mid 1800s for her "vocal control and florid cadenzas".

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 

   

THE FRONT PORCH

       

   THE RR WATER TOWER, ICE BOX, WELLS FARGO SAFE, and POST OFFICE BOXES 

THE DINING ROOM

     

SOME OF THE BEDROOMS

Upon retiring to one of the real brass beds in all five bedrooms, each room with a china washbasin, water pitcher and chamber pot. Handmade quilts provide warmth, because the empty holes for the old Franklin stovepipes are still visible in the ceilings.  For less hardy sorts, the rooms have also been modernized with bathrooms and central heating.

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 


   S   

The rates have recently been raised to $14 for a single, all the way up to $23 for the suite, but the catch is you can only stay two nights maximum, as the whole joint accommodates only 12, and as Lillie says, "How else would other folks come?"  The Cochise does have a few drawbacks, however. There'no air conditioning, so Lillie warns prospective visitors about the heat in July and August.  No radios or TV either, and as for enlightenment at the cocktail hour, it's strictly BYOB, because the hotel has no liquor license.

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 


"We've got one TV, but it doesn't work very good and I don't care if it never works," Mrs. Harrington said.

The Phoenix Gazette, December 28th, 1977 by Kenneth Arline

                                

Liz Husband hired Lillie Harrington because she can do plumbing, electrical and carpentry work as well as cook.  Harrington's impatience, Husband said, occasionally offends guests "because people are used to staying at places like a Hilton, you know, and they're not used to country-type people".

The Arizona Republic, by Sam Negri

As for the trains, well, they still roll.  All night long.  You can hear the Southern Pacific rumbling for miles over the lonely prairie, racing buffalo, its arrival punctuated by a blast on the air horn as it approaches the crossroads next to the hotel.  All night long.

For the whiff of an exciting, historic past, we're in debted to Mrs. Thomas B. Husband, who saved the hotel from being turned into a produce warehouse in 1959 and began restoration. As receipts barely cover expenses and Lillie's salary, running the hotel is Mrs. Husband's favorite charity. 

But there are other compensations, such as the hotel's centennial celebration staged last April by the costumed members of the Sulphur Springs Historical Society.  They gamboled between the little unincorporated community's antique shop, the old country store across the street and the hotel gift shop in an old harness shop out back behind Lillie's garden.

As for the privilege of living even briefly among such spendiferous antiquity, what are a few quibbles about trains passing in the dark?  You're supposed to stay awake and alert to appreciate the Apaches and the nostalgia, right?

Article entitled Hotel is a Feather in Cochise's Cap, November 7th, 1982 by Miles Hood Swarthout 


The sunshine of a winter afternoon streamed through the dining room window and danced off the place settings all neatly arranged around an old wooden table. The setting could have been placed there 100 years ago.  And those who set the table just walked out the door and never came back.  The fantasy of staying here is only momentary.  It ends outside, when Sally Bartley emerges from the house across the street and says there's no room at the Cochise Hotel that night or any night soon.  This is puzzling.  The Cochise Hotel is in Cochise.  Population: 33.  What's a hotel doing here in the first place? And, in the second place, why is it booked up?  Bartley answers by pointing to the guest register, a thick leather-bound book opened to about the halfway mark.  The guests who have signed the ledger are from everywhere.  Munich, Germany, Bath England, Phoenix, Las Vegas.  "It's word of mouth", she explains.  "We don't do any advertising.  Those who stay here do it all for us. 

Of course, a full house at the Cochise Hotel does not represent a staggering amount of income.  There are only five rooms. Maximum guest capacity is 10 adults.  "We don't encourage children," Barley says.  "Were not childproofed and there's nothing for them to do.  No television, no malls.  They can't appreciate the experience."  And pets are absolutely forbidden.  Barley says "We wouldn't want a 150 year old table chewed up."  The reasoning is understandable.  Most of the furniture in the hotel is older than the building itself.  The pieces were brought here from the Fulton family estate in Connecticut after the hotel was purchased by Elizabeth Husband.  Her father was William S. Fulton, founder of the Amerind foundation and Museum in nearby Dragoon. 

Bartley took over the hotel about three years ago from Lily Harrington, who had been its mistress for many years.  She had been an assistant under Miss Lily, as she is frequently called in these parts, for about five years.  Miss Lily is now also in her 90s  and lives in a retirement home in Willcox. 

Arizona Diary,  January 3rd 2000 by Sam Lowe 

  


PROVIDE A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR COMPANY, ITS MISSION, MANAGEMENT TEAM, AND FINANCIAL BACKGROUND HERE AS APPROPRIATE.