If Walls Could Speak
Santa Fe is often considered the crossroads of the world — and you’d know it from the roster of famous people who have stayed at La Fonda on the Plaza. We recently came across a list, compiled in 1946 for Fred Harvey, which includes some people who need no introduction: Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and John D. Rockefeller Jr.
But it’s eye-opening to notice what kinds of fame have not stood the test of time. Along with screen stars who are household names — Gary Cooper, Lucille Ball, and the Marx Brothers — the list contains others who may not have fulfilled their potential. (Anyone remember child actor Jackie Coogan? He went on to play Uncle Fester on The Addams Family.)
Musical celebrities like David Rubinoff and Paul Whiteman must have been the George Strait or Kanye West of their day. And who can remember when writers and publishers were celebrities? Time founder Henry Luce, critic Alexander Woolcott, and publisher George Palmer Putnam are among the famous wordsmiths who wandered La Fonda’s corridors. Politicians, on the other hand, were far more obscure before the age of television. However, a handful of them made our historic list of notables — including Prince Louis Ferdinand of Russia and Lord Halifax of Britain.