The History of John Gaw Meem


Lecture Title: La Fonda's Centennial and the Legacy of John Gaw Meem  

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023

Time: 2 -4 PM 

Location: La Fonda on the Plaza | Lumpkins Ballroom

Capacity: 200 guests 


Description:  While the hotel's history can be traced back over 400 years, 2022 marked one hundred years since the opening of the current structure of La Fonda on the Plaza. With design input from three renowned architects - Isaac Rapp, Mary Colter and John Gaw Meem - the building became instantly iconic with its hand-carved beams, stained glass skylights, and a 25-foot cathedral ceiling. Some features of Meem's architecture and decor - including terracotta tiles and hammered tin chandeliers - are shared between La Fonda and the La Quinta Cultural Center at Los Poblanos, another historic property located in Corrales, New Mexico. The lecture will touch on Meem, Colter and Rapp's influence on La Fonda, as well as different aspects of the hotel's history from the Fred Harvey era, to an intriguing connection with the Manhattan Project and La Fonda's current day model of historic preservation. 

Presenter Bio: Edward Pulsifer is the Director of Sales and Hotel Historian at La Fonda on the Plaza. A Native New Mexican, Ed was born and raised in Albuquerque and has over thirty-seven years of hospitality experience in New Mexico. He has been with La Fonda for the past ten years and over that time has developed a passionate knowledge of the history of the hotel. Ed developed La Fonda's docent program in 2014 which as grown to include over 50 trained tour guides who  lead daily tours that are open to the public as well as hotel guests. He is a current board member and past chair of the NM Hospitality Association and was an inductee into the NM Tourism Hall of Fame in April 2019.