Coronado Motel in Pueblo recognized for role in African American travel | Lifestyle

Coronado Motel in Pueblo recognized for role in African American travel | Lifestyle


The Coronado Motel, previously regarded as the Coronado Lodge, was a position listed in the Eco-friendly Book as a position that welcomed African American vacationers. The motel, found in Pueblo, sat on the web pages of African American vacation guides for a decade, and remained 1 of only 3 Colorado motels to be stated as a result of 1967. (Online video by Skyler Ballard/ The Gazette)



The entrepreneurs of the Coronado Motel in Pueblo never spend on promotion.

Guests who keep at the lodge return, charmed by the historic Pueblo-design developing.

Maybe it’s the thick, adobe walls or the wooden-beamed ceilings. It’s possible it is the bell tower or the existence-sized bear carvings.

You can explain to it’s loved by a whimsical touch. Small hints of colourful artwork show up throughout the motel, along with a mural painted on the courtyard’s again wall.

It could possibly even seem familiar — the motel designed a guest appearance in the 1983 cult-traditional “National Lampoon’s Getaway.”

But, it retains a extra crucial heritage — just one that Colorado researchers are seeking to preserve.

It was not till March 2020, that the midcentury motel was acknowledged into the Nationwide Register of Historic Sites, following area historians labored to uncover its story.

The objective: emphasize a heritage that has extensive long gone disregarded, element of a larger sized motion from historians across the country to maintain historic spaces applicable to underrepresented communities.

The Coronado served as a harmless place to stay for African American tourists throughout a time when several establishments did.

The Coronado Lodge, on its very first listing in 1957, turned just the second Colorado motel to be mentioned in “The Negro Motorist Environmentally friendly Reserve: 1957” — an yearly guidebook for Black tourists throughout the time of segregation.

It sat on the web pages of African American journey guides for a decade, and remained just one of only a few Colorado motels to be outlined as a result of 1967.


The notion to nominate the Coronado Lodge to the Countrywide Sign up started out in a motion picture theater.

Pueblo historian Corinne Koehler settled into her seat to watch “Green Book” — a 2018 film about a Black pianist touring across the South during segregation. That’s how she acquired about the historic use of Black journey guides.

“Watching the film, I’m variety of imagining, ‘Well which is type of appealing,’” Koehler explained. “I never ever realized anything at all about the Environmentally friendly E book right before, and I was kind of curious to see if there had been any areas in Colorado.”

So, she started studying. Using the New York Community Library’s on the web collections, Koehler sifted by means of digitized Green Publications.

“Sure adequate, there ended up locations — really a few as subject of actuality — shown in Pueblo, so that acquired my interest,” she said.

Lots of of the structures detailed in the books have been no for a longer period standing. Some have been only listed as soon as. But there was a person that stood out to Koehler.

“I noticed the Coronado, and I was acquainted with the Coronado Motel on Lake Avenue,” she mentioned. “So, I contacted the proprietor.”

Koehler spoke with the motel’s homeowners, Shay and Atilano Perez, telling them about the heritage of the place and encouraging them to apply to the National Register.

So, with the help of historians Tom and Laurie Simmons of Front Assortment Exploration Associates, the group began to dive into the story of the Coronado in hopes of implementing to the National Sign-up.


The Coronado Lodge was designed in 1941 by Scotland-born Ralph Ferris, creating it component of the motel increase noticed all over the 1940s to 1960s across the U.S.

But, it did not keep in Ferris’ fingers for lengthy. The motor courtroom was purchased by the Copley spouse and children in 1946, who went on to run the motel for the future two many years, according to study by the Simmonses.

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Artie and Hattie Copley expanded the motel for the duration of the initial few of many years of proudly owning it, incorporating two guestroom properties. No massive properties have been included to the lot considering the fact that 1948, and most of the U-formed structure is however held alongside one another by the initial adobe bricks built by a nearby brickmaker.

“It was a 1st-rate position,” Tom Simmons said. “If you appear at some of people postcard views, it was truly very a properly managed and the style is actually a Pueblo Revival model motel. “

The motel’s area was also excellent for vacationers, sitting on Lake Avenue — the primary entryway into Pueblo, Tom Simmons claimed.

During its heyday, Lake Avenue was an entertainment strip, which could have captivated a good deal of Black entertainers, Koehler stated.

The Copleys welcomed Black travelers due to the fact obtaining the resort in 1946.

“We did not discriminate about anyone. They had the income, they have been welcome. … We didn’t turn any individual away,” Joyce Copley Reimer, the daughter of the Copleys, explained to the Simmonses for the duration of their analysis.

The listing was unusual in the truth it was an recognized motel, as opposed to the far more prevalent “tourist homes” recommended for lodging, stated Dexter Nelson II, Background Colorado’s affiliate curator of Black history.

“It’s one particular of the shining examples of the motels again in the day that would have been secure place,” Nelson stated. “It’s an intriguing illustration of an actual motel as opposed to a dwelling.”

When most organization proprietors who shown their companies in Inexperienced Books have been Black or Jewish, the Copleys also stood out as white Methodists, Tom Simmons reported.

“They apparently just had a emotion that if you experienced the wherewithal to fork out for a space, you have a proper to a area, so that was quite intriguing,” he reported.

All through the segregation era, the city of Pueblo maintained a variety of listings in Black travel guides.

Pueblo experienced a modest but fairly important African American populace for the duration of the 20th century.

The Pueblo chapter of the NAACP was set up back in 1918, said Roxana Mack, the present-day NAACP Pueblo president.

“A ton of Blacks had moved right here for do the job at the steel mill, so there was a great deal of activism at that time,” Mack reported.

The metropolis was also house to Colorado’s only acknowledged Black orphanage at the time: the Lincoln House. Established by the city’s Federation of Colored Women’s Golf equipment, the orphanage served African American small children, who had been not acknowledged by the neighborhood Catholic orphanage, Nelson explained.

“That was a really terrific historical past that we’re nevertheless pretty a lot uncovering and checking out these days,” Nelson stated.

Sad to say, not substantially is recognised about who stayed at the motel, with old customer logs trashed immediately after the 1980 loss of life of Floyd Christmas, who obtained the motel just after the demise of Artie Copley in 1966. Koehler estimates all those information spanned decades.

“The basement was total of records and they just tossed it,” Koehler said. “Who is aware of how quite a few he threw absent, but from what you listen to he was a actual packrat. So I’m assuming they acquired anything given that day one.”


The Coronado Lodge, now identified as the Coronado Motel, now operates as an extended-continue to be motel, leasing on a weekly basis. Shay and Atilano Perez bought the motel about 30 decades ago and have been running it due to the fact.

“Every home is special,” Shay Atilano said.

Past February, through Black History Thirty day period, the Pueblo NAACP honored the Coronado with a plaque, thanking the motel for currently being a refuge for African American vacationers all through a time when many locations would convert them away.

“We felt that it was important to recognize the importance of what they did in the course of that period of time, figuring out that it was not a preferred choice, but they felt that it was the correct choice,” Mack claimed.

“It was an honor,” Shay Atilano explained.

The Atilanos have created a assortment of plaques due to the fact unearthing the motel’s record, a single hanging close to the entrance, that the Atilanos display screen entrance and centre.

“This residence has been placed on the National Sign up of Historic Areas by the United States Section of the Interior,” it reads.