In late April 1854, W. W. Donaldson of Las Vegas, New Mexico announced that he’d made “ample arrangements” for accommodating “invalids and others” with board and lodging at the celebrated Las Vegas hot springs.
Donaldson wasn’t the first to take advantage of the healing mineral-filled springs six miles northwest of today’s Las Vegas. The Springs had been used for centuries by the Native Americans in the region, reputedly to heal battle wounds and other ailments.
And Donaldson wouldn’t be the last. The board and lodging. He offered were considerably upgraded in 1886. That year, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company built the 90,000 square foot Montezuma Castle as a destination hotel. The castle capitalized on the hot springs as well as the trout fishing in nearby Gallinas Creek and hosted guests as diverse as Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jesse James, Theodore Roosevelt, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
The hot springs and the hotel, which is now the home of an international high school, are currently owned by the United World College, which still allows public access to the springs. Board and lodging is available in nearby Las Vegas.
Sources: Santa Fe Weekly Gazette, April 22, 1854, front page; http://www.visitlasvegasnm.com/montezuma-castle Accessed 3/6/19; http://www.visitlasvegasnm.com/montezuma-hot-springs Accessed 3/6/19.