[Source: Florence Reminder, Bonnie Bariola] — The front page of the April 14, 1977 Florence Reminder and Blade Tribune was devoted to an article about the purchase of the Florence Hotel by Norm and Bonnie Conkle, who were going to rehabilitate and reopen the hotel. The article states, “As envisioned by Conkle, the new Silver King Hotel will not only be a beautiful place for tourists to stay, but will be a tourist attraction itself.
The hotel was operating until the day Conkle purchased it. At that time it was the oldest operating hotel in Arizona. It catered to silver and gold entrepreneurs, cattle barons, and many of Arizona’s earliest statesmen. Unfortunately, the Conkle’s plans did not materialize and over the next two decades the building suffered extreme deterioration.
During those two decades Bill Coomer was constantly telling his wife, Katie Montaño, that “someone” needed to do something about the hotel. Katie finally told him that instead of talking about it, why didn’t he do something. Unknown to Katie, Bill created the private nonprofit Florence Preservation Foundation (FPF) in 1993. He also wrote a Heritage Fund grant application to be used toward the rehabilitation of the hotel. In addition he wrote a letter to Ed Bass asking for his assistance with the project. Once the grant application was funded, he shared with Katie what he had done. Had she not “shamed” him into doing something, the building probably would have been razed since this was what a lot of people thought should be done with it. [Note: to read the full article click here.]