Landmarks On The Rim

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Inside, the floors gleam with polyurethane. The Hopi wall paintings have been cleaned and put behind glass, heating ducts and electrical conduits have been hidden, and the second floor is now opened up to allow tourists “more room to browse, shop and feel at ease with making a purchase,” in the words of a feasibility study. It is a restoration superbly executed—in every respect except one: By Mary Colter’s standards, the building looks too new.

 

We know that Colter imagined a past for the buildings she designed. When Hopi House opened in 1905, it already had a dusty look, as if it had been inhabited for generations. The building, as it was restored in 1995, has considerable presence, but visually it communicates little history. If she could see it today, we can be sure the outspoken Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter would have something to say about that.

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