Painted Desert Inn: Interior Decorations – Petrified Forest National Park AZ


The delightful Painted Desert Inn was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), working under the National Park Service (NPS), with a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA), from 1936 to 1940.

The design of the Desert Inn by the NPS’s Lyle Bennett is Pueblo Revival style, which was popular in the Southwest at the time. It features a flat roof, stucco walls and rounded corners, with open beam ceilings and protruding roof timbers.  

There are elegant interior decorations done by the CCC enrollees, including etched floors, wooden furniture, metal light fixtures and painted skylight glass. Walls murals were added after World War II by Hopi artist Fred Kabootie.

A recent report from the National New Deal Preservation Association says this about the interior decorations:  “The interior rooms are filled with Navajo-inspired designs scored in the concrete floor, punched-tin light fixtures, hand-painted skylights, rounded door and window openings, and CCC-crafted furniture.” (NNDPA 2012)

The NPS flyer on the Painted Desert Inn provides more detail: “The CCC used ponderosa pine and aspen poles cut from nearly Arizona forests for roofing beams and smaller crossbeams (savinos). Light fixtures were hand-made from punch time, and wooden tables and chairs were given American Indian designs.  The beautiful skylight panels were hand-painted by the CCC workers with designs of prehistoric pottery. Concrete floors were etched and painted with patterns based on Navajo blanket designs.” (NPS 2013)

The interior museum features excellent panels/displays on the CCC.



Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown. Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1939.

Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association (NNDPA), "The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," University of Arizona Library online collections, 2012.

National Park Service flyer on Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, available on site. 2013.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 29, 2022.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Painted Desert Inn
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028

Coordinates: 35.08353, -109.7950

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