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Locally-owned Bisbee hotel preserves 1950s with vintage trailers

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BISBEE – In the southeast corner of Arizona, mere miles from the border, lies another world.

Or decade, shall we say.

A drive into The Shady Dell trailer court means any vehicle with air conditioning and automatic windows is too futuristic. What you see through your windshield is a collection of vintage aluminum trailers set up like houses in a neighborhood. The trailers are hotel rooms, available for overnight stays and complete with relics from the past.

AstroTurf, linoleum, phonographs, black-and-white television sets the size of large books, reproduced Crosley radios and curtains made of bar cloths fill the areas in and around the trailers. There’s even chairs set up on the AstroTurf for cocktail hours. Some guests choose to dress from the time period and invite others into their trailers for parties.

“It’s like staying in an antique store except you can touch and use everything,” said Jennifer Luria, the current owner of Shady Dell along with her husband, Justin. “We want this like a time capsule, like someone just left in the 1950s.”

The next addition to the hotel will be a drive-in theater complete with vintage cars for moviegoers to sit in as they munch on popcorn and sip retro sodas from the concession stand. Luria said she hopes the drive-in will debut in the fall and will complement her hotel’s eclectic charms.

“We love it,” she said. “We feel like we’re preserving a part of history.