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The Man Keeping Westward Ho Alive

By Anna Flores

Community Editor

The Westward hotel was once a Hollywood hotspot, hosting every sort of celebrity and standing, literally, taller than any other building in what is now downtown Phoenix.

Today, the character of the hotel is not as lively as it once was; yet it has managed to be maintained as an important part of the community with the help of Dennis McGarry.

Dennis McGarry, a Vietnam vet, is proud to be a resident of the Westward Hotel. He has worked as a train chef and is part of the American Legion.He explains and defends Westward’s transition from a glamorous hotel to a subsidized housing complex- claiming that the transition in the 1980’s was necessary and allows for the less fortunate to have a roof over their head.

Street View of the Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix Photo by Anna Flores

Street View of the Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix
Photo by Anna Flores

McGarry is known by the staff of the Westward Ho as “the man to talk to.” He leads tours through the marble floors as well as midnight expeditions for those who believe there to be ghosts in the Hotel. McGarry firmly states that he doesn’t believe in the supernatural stories of the Westward, but he does offer to tell anyone of the deaths that have occurred there.

In fact, Dennis owns multiple copies of “Westward Ho Facts” which the security at the Hotel is prepared to hand out to any tourists that roam in with questions.

The Westward Hotel, which, especially in the 1960’s, hosted celebrities and great political figures such as President Kennedy, now houses the elderly and mobility impaired. McGarry makes sure to explain that because of this decision, people can live out their last years “with dignity and in comfort.”

Dennis McGarry rejoices in every opportunity to tell the story of this beloved hotel.While the Westward Ho has given McGarry a new sense of life, he has in turn, dedicated his life to keeping the history of the Westward Ho afloat in the downtown Phoenix’s community.

Reach the reporter at fanna14@yahoo.com or via Twitter @aaannnuuhhh

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