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Sierra Vista Motel9 E Phoenix Ave., Flagstaff, AZ
When the motel was built is a bit vague, many references say it was built in 1937, some say in the 1937 to 1942 period. But the May 13, 1948 edition of the Arizona Daily Sun Newspaper carries an article about Salvador Esparza announcing the opening of the motel the next day, May 14, 1948. That seems to settle when the motel opened, but not necessarily when it was built.
However the last line of that article might hold a clue, or might not. The last sentence talks about the Esparzas being longtime residents of Flagstaff and that they " ... have previously operated the Ezparza apartments "here"". I could well be wrong , but the "here" in that sentence leads me to wonder if they built these buildings as an apartment complex and converted them to a motel in 1948.
To me that makes a certain amount of sense in conjunction with the 1937-42 construction dates. It's easy to imagine the main building being built in 1937 and the one story building being built in 1942. I think that the style of the buildings more or less supports this idea as well as the garages being in a separate building at the back of the property, a concept more in keeping with an apartment building than a 30s-40s motel. In the 1930s a motel or court with garages would more than likely have the guest rooms separated by the garages, each of which would have had direct access to the corresponding guest unit to be as convenient as possible.
The neon tubing is gone from the sign, but the weathered lettering is still visible. The upright section read "Motel" and the horizontal section read "Sierra Vista" on the top line and "Enclosed Steam Heated Garages" on the bottom line.
Motel Sierra Vista
Note: This appears to be an late 40s or early 50s postcard based on the old car illustrated on the front, but it was apparently still being handed out to, and used by guests in the mid 50s as evidenced by the postmark. The front of this postcard shows both the sign shown above and the now missing sign atop the two story building. It also shows a illustration of a desk, fireplace and side chair in a guest room.