Southwestern charm and history in this quintessential NM inn located in the heart of Taos’ historic district
Since 1936, The Historic Taos Inn has welcomed famous folks like Greta Garbo, D. H. Lawrence, and Pawnee Bill. More recently, celebrities such as Robert Redford and Jessica Lange have been spotted sipping margaritas in the lobby.
When you step into the Historic Taos Inn, you step into the history of Taos itself. In the 1890s, when Dr. Thomas Paul (Doc) Martin came to Taos as the county’s first, and only, physician, he bought the largest of the houses—now Doc Martin’s Restaurant. Doc was a rugged individualist, but was dearly beloved because of his deep concern for his fellow man. Covering the county to treat his patients meant hitching up a team of horses—and later his tin Lizzie—to travel for miles through mud and snow to set bones, break fevers and deliver babies.
Doc’s wife, Helen, was noteworthy in her own right. A gifted batik artist, she was also the sister-in-law of artist Bert Phillips, one of the “Taos Founders.” It was in the Martins’ dining room in 1912 that Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein founded the Taos Society of Artists.
The Historic Taos Inn is made up of several adobe houses built in the 1800s, surrounding a small plaza—now the Inn’s spectacular lobby.
The Martins later purchased additional buildings surrounding the plaza, renting them to writers and artists. When the only hotel in Taos burned the same year that Doc died, Helen entered the hospitality business. She bought the Tarleton house—the last remaining property on the plaza.
With the aid of Doc’s former patients, she enclosed the plaza. The Hotel Martin opened in 1936.
Through the years, the Hotel Martin was the hub of Taos’ social, intellectual and artistic activity. Later owners renamed it the Taos Inn, added the popular neon thunderbird sign (Taos’ oldest) and the carved reception desk. In 1982, the Inn was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
— Courtesy of The Taos Inn
This article appeared on page 29 of HighCountry Magazine 2010.