The Westward Ho Hotel was one of Phoenix's largest and most impressive building projects, including an iconic radio tower that once broadcasted programs from Arizona's first television station. Today, it has been reclaimed by Arizona State University to serve the community.
One of the most legendary hotels in Phoenix, the Westward Ho Hotel has been a defining landmark for nearly a century. As with many other hotels in the Phoenix area, the Westward Ho was constructed in response to the tourism boom of the 1920s. The automobile had made its way into the hands of the average American, and Phoenix beckoned as an ideal tourist destination. However, even in the multitude of blossoming hotels, it was plain to see that the Westward Ho would be something special. The building permit of $1,200,000 was the largest for any project in Phoenix history up to that time. At one point in 1926, the construction job was equal to about half the building activity in Phoenix.
Though the initial work was completed in 1928, the building wasn’t truly finished quite yet. In the fall of 1940, the Westward Ho received its iconic radio tower and antenna, used to broadcast programs from Arizona’s very first television station. Even when the station relocated, the hotel held onto the antenna, as it had already achieved landmark status.
Though it may be surrounded by skyscrapers today, the antenna brought the Westward Ho to a staggering five-hundred-foot height, making it the tallest building in Phoenix for a time. Over the decades, several different owners set up shops in the retail storefronts of the Westward Ho along Central Avenue and Fillmore Street.
The hotel sheltered guests for over 50 years until it was officially closed to the public in the 1980s. The new owners then converted the hotel into low-income apartment homes for the elderly and the disabled.
In 2016, Arizona State University leased and renovated office space on the first floor, encompassing much of the original retail space and the Concho Room ballroom. Housing two ASU research centers focused on behavioral health, staff and students of ASU are embedded in the Westward Ho community providing services to the residents.