A draft dodger from the Prussian Army, George Luhrs immigrated to the United States in 1867 from Germany, and before becoming a naturalized citizen, he labored in the California gold fields repairing wagons, migrated to the Vulture Mine near Wickenburg and eventually settled in Phoenix where he and a partner formed a Wainwright business on the corner of Central and Jefferson Avenues.
Twenty years after he first stepped onto American soil, George Luhrs and his partner decided to build a 20-room hotel, which soon after completion developed a reputation as a first-class accommodation. The entrepreneurial-spirited George Luhrs eventually bought out his partner, closed the doors to the wagon building business and renamed the commercial property Hotel Luhrs.
Luhrs then borrowed $553,000 to commence construction of the 10-story Luhrs Building on the property of the former wagon business. The brown brick veneer building, trimmed with intricately carved marble and a hefty cornice, opened it’s doors for business on the first of April, 1924. The following year a stroke incapacitated Luhrs, and his children, some of whom were established professionals, left their jobs, stepped up to the plate and managed the properties for their father.
George Luhrs never witnessed the completion of the 15-story skyscraper on the corner of 1st and Jefferson Avenues, because he died two months after construction commenced in 1929. Years later in 1960, the Luhrs Tower, an Art Deco style building with Spanish Colonial Revival details, made an appearance in a scene from the movie Psycho when the character, Marion Crane, crosses the street to make a deposit for her boss.
Today, both the Luhrs Building and Luhrs Tower remain prominent icons in downtown Phoenix, thanks to the Luhrs City Center Redevelopment Project. These two remaining properties of George Luhrs are now experiencing a revival. Unfortunately, Hotel Luhrs met it’s demise in 1976.