|City/Town: • Hot Springs|
|Location Class: • Hospital • Hotel/Motel|
|Built: • 1947 | Abandoned: • 1990's|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (2004)|
|Status: • For Sale|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz|
The Mountainaire Hotel, AKA “the Mountaineer Hotel,” is one of the finest examples of Art Moderne architecture in the area and perhaps even in the state. The twin buildings were constructed in 1947 during the motor tourism era of Hot Springs. Constructed of white brick and clay tile, with concrete floors and asphalt roofs, the buildings are each four stories tall. Containing 28 units and decks on the third and fourth floors. Alvin I. Albinson was a contractor and owner of the towers, moving to Hot Springs to dip his feet into the growing tourism. He originally envisioned a five-building complex but only two were completed, managing the property for 20 years. His son, Alvin I. (Al) Albinson Jr., turned the twin buildings into apartments and later a nursing home. By the mid-1990s, all business ventures had failed and the property was abandoned.
The district in which the buildings are located was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004. Unfortunately, this did not do much to save the deteriorating buildings as they were placed on Arkansas’s Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2007.
Low Key Arts
Bill Solleder of the Hot Springs non-profit, Low Key Arts, held an art exhibition “So Many Open Houses,” in September of 2011. It was a fundraiser for the organization, and the exhibition featured the work of nearly 40 artists who created art installations in the various rooms, stairways and hallways of this historic hotel.
“The Mountainaire Hotel is a striking example of Art Moderne architecture in Hot Springs, and truly is a structure that people are always curious about. Being abandoned for 20 years, Low Key Arts – a nonprofit arts organization – initiated a two-day exhibition of installations in the empty hotel. I was fortunate enough to be one of the artists invited to participate.” Jessica mentioned to Rob Alderson of ItsNiceThat.com.
The pair were sold most recently in 2016 by Ann Mayle, who planned to turn them into condos while restoring them back to the original architecture. The process was long and many efforts were made, including our outreach with their Facebook page and with our History Rescue Program, we helped clean up and secure the property in 2017. However, money became an issue as the process slowly took place. We were rooting for Ann and her efforts and we tried to help draw in interest and help, but unfortunately, the building is up for sale once again.
These buildings sold to new developers on Oct. 29th, 2020. The new developers have plans to transition these two buildings into single family units. The new developers want to make sure that everyone is aware that if they are caught on the property, it will be considered trespassing. DO NOT GO HERE WITHOUT PERMISSION.
“Mountainaire Hotel Historic District.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/GA0067.nr.pdf (accessed July 25, 2019).
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