It’s March 2, 1895 – the Arizona Weekly Citizen writes about the Mountain View Hotel opening and its’ owners “Curly” and Annie Neal a Black couple. The Neal’s had been living in the Tucson /Oracle area since right before 1885. It was a well known and highly respected hotel where famous people came to stay, dine and celebrate!
Video Credit: Producer/Editor: Nina Shelton. Videographer: Gage Judd, John DeSoto. Editor: Mya Long, John DeSoto. Graphics: Carolyn Yaussy, Brian Deevers, Elena Lopez. Narrator: Tony Perkins Arizona Illustrated / U Tube / Arizona Historical Society / Arizona Public Media Arizona Weekly Citizen Moniqua Lane an African American Women is the Owner of the Clifton Hotel in Tucson, AZ. With Permission from Producer/Editor Nina Shelton.
In the late 19th century, despite being Black in a region where few were of mixed race, the Neal family was among Tucson’s wealthiest self-made families. William “Curly” and Annie Neal opened the Mountain View Hotel in Oracle, AZ in 1895 as a luxury resort for people with tuberculosis and a retreat from Tucson’s summer heat. The hotel hosted prominent guests including celebrities and foreign dignitaries, The Neal family’s successful business pursuits were widely lauded in newspapers. The Mountain View Hotel was the first luxury resort in Arizona owned by Black entrepreneurs, securing the Neal family’s place in the state’s history.
In early April, Garry Davis and his daughter, Amy, led a couple of AAMSAZ members on a tour of the remarkable and more than a century old Mountain View Hotel in Oracle, AZ. Currently in need of repair, the hotel has a fascinating history including hosting famous guests like Buffalo Bill Cody. The hotel’s rich history and potential is nonetheless impressive. As the hotel’s current owner, Garry works tirelessly to protect the building from further decay. The Oracle Historical Society expressed interest in helping to preserve the hotel’s history and Garry welcomed their assistance.
The structure now abutting the hotel recently housed a church. Its roof is constructed entirely of double tongue and groove pine planks without insulation or an attic. Prior to the church, the previous occupant made some changes to the hotel including removing the original second floor wrap-around porch and adding a layer of stucco to the walls. However, some of the hotel’s original red bricks are still visible in certain areas.
Many of the original handrails in the three-story building and the stove are still in place along with the exquisite, indicative of the time, decorated ceilings. The hallway provides a sense of the grandeur and luxury that characterized the space over a century ago. Some of the second-floor rooms once featured stoves and one of the oldest fireplaces in Southern Arizona remains intact in one of the rooms. Although the building has cosmetic concerns that need attention, it is structurally sound and has the potential to last another hundred years without major renovations.
The Acadia Ranch building, which now houses the Oracle Historical Society, was also owned by the Neal family from 1914 until 1923. Originally, it was managed as a TB Sanitorium and later as a health resort. The Neal family’s contributions to Oracle history were significant, as were their connections to Tucson. Annie’s parents, Wiley and Hannah Box were among the earliest African Americans to settle in Tucson.
We would like to extend our gratitude to John, Diane, and the other board members of the Oracle Historical Society, as well as Garry and his daughter Amy from the Mountain View Hotel, for the wonderful tour they provided AAMSAZ. They were instrumental in making our visit a memorable and enriching experience.
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