Saving the La Posada hotel and other miracles

WINSLOW, Ariz. - We're talking about Marie La Mar, and her many contributions to the city of Winslow over the past 18 years.

She has attended most all city council meetings beginning about 1993, when she became an active member in a Winslow historic preservation group. I always thought she was on the City Council, so great was her influence here. Not so. She attended the council meetings as a way to keep up on the various forces at work, shaping her town. Needless to say, La Mar's values and goals for Winslow were not always the same as the "city fathers." Even today, after long and successful decades of promoting Winslow as a "destination city," she still scolds and cajoles the City Council. La Mar's voice is distinctive, echoing in the small chamber and commanding attention to her opinions. She has been prescient very often, so it pays one to consider what she has to say. We do.

La Mar has lived in Winslow most of her life. She was born here at home and attended schools here, Holbrook and Flagstaff (Northern Arizona University). She was married in 1951 and raised her family in Winslow. La Mar had her own business in Winslow, which was La Mar Realty where she was a Real Estate Broker. She retired from the realty business in 1988 and began a dedicated career as a volunteer promoting the rebirth of downtown Winslow.

La Mar asked the director of the Old Trails Museum to help get her involved in the group dedicated to preserving the La Posada Hotel, which was in danger of being torn down. Thus began her decades of involvement promoting Winslow as a destination, rather than a blur outside your car window. In June 1993 Marie met with other members of the community and they created a plan and vision for a Historic Downtown area beginning with saving the La Posada Hotel. Also at this time La Mar joined with Janice Griffith in organizing a group that would tend the grounds at La Posada for the four years of the acquisition process. The group, named the Gardening Angels, took care of the seven acres, watering mowing and weeding. They kept the stately old trees alive for all to enjoy today.

In November 1993 La Mar was named to the Steering Committee, which was tasked to locate funding for the purchase of La Posada. In January 1994 La Mar wrote an application to Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act group for $500,000 to purchase La Posada and 22 acres. In March 1994, the grant was approved.

In June 1994, La Mar and the other four steering committee members became a non-profit named La Posada Foundation. The foundation pursued a number of successful projects over the years, all to the benefit of Winslow. Some of the projects include -

• Bringing certified local government to the city of Winslow.

• Formed a 32-person Intoxicated Street People Task force.

• Created the Winslow Harvey Girls historic preservation group.

• Formed the 14-person group to construct the Standing on The Corner Park.

• Opened a Detox Center in Winslow to aid recovery of Street People.

Any one of La Mar's accomplishments in reviving a moribund downtown Winslow is a living testament to her courage and energy. The total of La Mar's successes and contributions to Winslow is amazing. Naturally, La Mar has been honored with many awards and certificates, but here we salute you again, Marie La Mar, for your tireless efforts.

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