Hotel Harden

The Hotel Harden was built in 1930 by Oklahoma businessman
and developer John J. Harden at 421 East Main.

John J. Harden and daughter Harriet Jane Harden in 1928
Photo courtesy of John Harden

The following is an excerpt from
"Out of the Shadows: The Life of John J. Harden"
written by Bob Burke and published by the
Oklahoma Heritage Association
Copyright © 1998 by John E. Harden and David W. Harden

     "Harden often fished and hunted in New Mexico and loved the dry climate.  He was convinced that Hobbs, New Mexico would become the oil headquarters of the Southwest after oil was discovered nearby in 1929.
     In 1930 Harden built a three-story modern, fireproof hotel and dozens of small homes in a development known as New Hobbs.  Pauline Jarrott was placed in charge of the 110-room hotel which opened November 22, 1930.  Harden hosted a giant party to celebrate the opening of the hotel.  Friends and business associates came from as far away as New York City for the gala event.
     The Hotel Harden offered steam heat, hot and cold running water, and telephone service in each room.  Most of the rooms had a private bath and rented for a very reasonable $1.50 per night.  The hotel was owned by Lea-Mex Development Company, another legal corporation in Harden's financial maze.  Harden and his trusted allies, George Simpson and Roscoe Farmer, were the three incorporators of the New Mexico corporation.
     The coffee shop at the Hotel Harden became the "in" place for Hobbs residents.  A local newspaperman reported, "Their meals are suggestive of home cooking and their daily luncheon specials are both delightful and economical.  You find no rigid formalities or stilted magnificence in practice at the Harden but a rare air of hospitality pervades the entire atmosphere."
     The Hobbs project almost cost Harden his life.  He was flying from Oklahoma City to Hobbs in his new tri-motor airplane to inaugurate the new hotel.  During the flight, the plane lost power, forcing the pilot to crash land in the New Mexico desert.  Harden and the pilot were both shaken up but suffered only minor scrapes and bruises.  Harden sold the tri-motor immediately and never flew again.
     The Hotel Harden and the surrounding development became vitally important to Harden as a large source of revenue during the Great Depression.  When profits from projects in Oklahoma and elsewhere were slim, Harden's investment in Hobbs paid the bills."

Photo courtesy of Max Clampitt
The Hobbs offices of Lea-Mex Development Company,
headed by John J. Harden who built the
Harden Hotel in 1930 for $200,000.

The Hotel Harden under construction.
Scroll to the right for a panoramic view of early Main Street

Photo courtesy of John Harden

Note the change in signage in the photo below below...

Notice that the ornamental facade has been removed and many of the windows
on the first floor plastered over in the photo shown below.

Harden Hotel - Hobbs, New Mexico

The image above is the cover of an early 1930's brochure advertising
the Hotel Harden.  To view LARGE images of the brochure click below:

Image courtesy of John Harden

Lobby of Hotel Harden in 1952
Photo courtesy of David Minton

Interior of Hotel Harden in 1952
Photo courtesy of David Minton

The guest soaps shown above are from the Hotel Harden.

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