The original front portion of the Route 66 Hostel was built in 1905 by contractor A.L. Morgen for Darby A. Day, an Albuquerque businessman. Financing was provided by the Lyndan Savings Bank of Lyndonville, Vermont. This building was a two story, four bedroom private residence. The style was rather southern, with large upstairs and downstairs porches in front, and a rear porch where the common kitchen is now. There were dormers in the attic to provide storage or extra bedrooms. The original building was probably heated by fireplaces and wood/coal stoves. On the west side there is a high archway for carriages, and there was probably a small stable in the rear.
By 1905 the city of Albuquerque was a growing, mature center of commerce and transportation. A horse drawn trolley provided regular transportation between Old Town and downtown Albuquerque, and electric lighting was no longer a novelty. Long gone was the lusty frontier and railroad town of the 1880's. Legal problems ensued shortly after the completion of the building. A L. Morgan left for Grant County without paying all his workers, and Darby A Day left for Wisconsin. The District Court appointed Frank L. Morgan, a special master, to sell the property at auction in January, 1907. Mr. Day and his wife deeded the property to George Arnot for $1 and assumption of the $4000 mortgage. George was a rather well-to-do merchant (secretary of Gross Kelly Company), who bought wool and sold merchandise to outlying New Mexico communities. Five children, three girls and two boys grew up in this house.
In 1917, George Arnot died suddenly, and a year later, his widow, Jane Arnot, also died, leaving the eldest married daughter, Jean Mitchell, to settle the estate and care for the family. Jean's husband was principal of Washington School, which was then directly behind 1012 Central SW. Settlement of the estate was hindered by A.H. Hilton, Conrad Hilton's father. George Arnot had accepted notes from A.H. Milton, Mercantile Company, and Jane Arnot had endorsed them to the First National Bank of Albuquerque. The bank tried to foreclose property of the Arnot estate until Hilton finally paid up.
The Mitchel V. Arnot family lived at 1012 Central until 1930, when G.R. Mitchell, then sole occupant, moved away, and the family sold out to S.T. Vann, optometrist and jeweler, who lived across the street. At about , the same time, Marie P. Stolz took over the property and all its mortgages. She converted the outside to Spanish colonial architecture by adding arches, balconies and stucco. The interior was divided into nine small apartments (Colonial Arms Apartments), and the small carriage house in the rear was transformed into a store for the Washington School students. Mrs. Stolz's vision proved to be quite ambitious, considering that the task was being undertaken during the depths of the Depression after the Crash of'29. The title was clouded by the countless workmen's liens, and the lenders assumed direct collection of rents. At its worst, Marie's husband, Victor, legally disavowed any interest in the property, so that he could try to avoid her creditors.
By 1935, Route 66 was diverted from Fourth Street to its present route along Central Ave., and Albuquerque was growing with the help of infusions of Federal construction money. The Colonial Hall Apartments provided a convenient first residence for newcomers to Albuquerque. Between 1931 and 1940, more apartments were added to the rear of the building, and the basement and the attic were converted to apartments. This produced a total of 20 small apartments. Mrs. Stolz lived in Apartment#3, where the office is now, and later in the rear apartment #16. The Colonial Hall Apartments were well maintained by Mrs. Stolz, and were obviously profitable in the 40's and 50's, when commercial activity was centered in downtown Albuquerque.
In the 1960's, the property was sold and resold several times, declining with the fortunes of downtown Albuquerque. Finally, the property became more valuable as a parking lot than as a residence. Mr. W.W. Cox was interviewed for the demolition contract. But, after inspecting the building, Mr. Cox decided he could make better use of the building for apartments. Tradition has it that he wrote out a check for purchase of the building on a paper napkin over lunch. At this point,the neighborhood was in its lowest state ever, and the character of the residents, if hearsay is to be believed, declined accordingly. There are stories of ladies of the evening, desperate poets, murder/suicides and even mistresses of prominent political figures. In spite of all this, the place retained a quiet charm, and most of the residents were probably law-abiding citizens who appreciated the low-cost lodging.
In the late 70's, Mr. Cox leased out the building for use
as a Youth Hostel. Since then, there has been constant effort to correct
the effect of years of deferred maintenance, and to introduce improvements.
The present owners are intent upon preserving the historic features of
the building, both inside and out, while maintaining the livability of