In 1893, city planning took on a whole new dimension. At the World Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham advocated for extensive planning out of the new cities being built throughout the United States. In what he called the “City Beautiful” movement, Burnham advised the country to “make no small plans” when it came to city building. The founder of the city of Chandler and prominent Arizona figure Dr. A. J. Chandler was one of those who took this advice to heart. Dr. Chandler’s community plan was the first in Arizona to distinctly adhere to this idea of the “City Beautiful” and the building designs hint that it may be the only one that Arthur Benton, father of architectural Mission Revival movement, had a direct hand in.
Out of all the buildings in Chandler, the San Marcos hotel is the only building that totally matches the original concept of Chandler as a “City Beautiful”. Built from the ground up as a luxury hotel, the San Marcos also demonstrated a profound shift in the landscape of Arizona tourism. Previously, Phoenix resorts were private affairs, centered around features such as hot springs or a western aesthetic. The San Marcos was completely open to the public and featured amenities such as golf, horseback riding, and tennis. The hotel eventually became the most prominent hotels in the area and one of the crown jewels of the city of Chandler, playing host to celebrities such as Jimmy Stewart, Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, and many more.
Today, the San Marcos still operates as a luxury resort, as part of the Crowne Plaza hotel chain. With an emphasis on its treasured golf courses, the hotel continues to be one of Chandler’s most prominent tourist destinations.