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Business: The return of a speakeasy at the Weatherford

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Weatherford Gopher Hole

Work continues on the Gopher Hole in the basement of the Weatherford Hotel. The historic pub is the latest renovation project by the owners.


Flagstaff residents will want to check out the latest renovation to the Weatherford Hotel this July.

Co-owners Henry and Sam (Pamela Green) Taylor dug a bit of history out of the old hotel’s basement — The Gopher Hole Pub.

Henry Taylor bought the building in 1975 to save it from demolition. He turned it into a hostel and then brought in bands to attract crowds and generate revenue to pay the mortgage. The couple has been working to restore the building to its original grandeur.

“It will have the atmosphere of a 1920s speakeasy-style game room,” Green said. “We are finally getting to a point where the building will be functional everywhere and designed in the spirit that it was intended.”

With its original street-level windows and massive stone archways, the new Gopher Hole will offer comfort food and games like billiards, darts and corn hole. It will be accessible from the outside as well as the inside and will showcase Flagstaff’s first bar that was set up after Prohibition ended in 1933.

The pub was supposedly a welcome sight for the town following Prohibition and in the midst of the Great Depression, said historian and Pioneer Museum Curator Joe Meehan.

On Sept. 3, 1943, the Coconino Sun described how the Gopher Hole was replaced by the American Legion.

“The old Gopher Hole, in the basement of the Weatherford Hotel, officially succumbed to progress Wednesday evening when approximately 300 members of Mark A. Moore Post No. 3, American Legion, members of the Legion auxiliary and invited guests gathered to officially open the modernized Legion Club, a monument to the enterprise of those who planned it and those whose liberal cooperation have made it possible, and a boon to Legion members and the boys in the V-12 training unit at Flagstaff College.”

The report goes on to describe an event that lasted from 8 p.m. to midnight. “Entertainment for the evening was furnished by the V-12 orchestra, with Miss Betty Bell delighting the assemblage with three vocal numbers, accompanied by Miss Betty Lou Decker. Mrs. Ole Solberg acted as chairman of the reception committee and members of the auxiliary served punch.”

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