The Ralph Haver Archive

The Kon Tiki Hotel at 24th and Van Buren

By Ralph Haver's firm: James Salter design, Glen Guyette signage

This iconic traveler's motel was located along the Van Buren Strip at 24th Street in Phoenix. It featured a swooping Polynesian profile roof of slatted wood. The dramatic entryway beckoned those traveling through Phoenix by automobile. It was a popular winter resort and ran brisk business in its themed restaurant. The colorful molded plastic signage was designed by prolific Phoenician sign designer Glen Gulette. Jimmie Nunn credits the general look and feel to artistic director James Salter AIA. It slowly fell into the same demise as many hotels along Van Buren (though not as steeply or raunchily) and was demolished around 1994.

James Salter is credited by his colleagues as having the most artistic impact upon the firm by designing such memorable structures as the Kon Tiki, Cine Capri, award-winning interiors, unique chandeliers and most any decorative design element in Haver & Nunn buildings. Salter worked for the firm in the Hawaii office until his untimely death in the early 1970s.

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