Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Hotel Lincoln in Casablanca : A Tragic Story

That hotel’s story is beautiful, sad, and tragic. That’s the story of a gorgeous hotel, a pioneer, who slowly changed into a murderer. That’s the story of a long decay, and of an uncertain future.

The Hotel Lincoln was the first building to be build on the Boulevard de la Gare in Casablanca, which now the Boulevard Mohammed V. It was built in 1916 by Hubert Bride, at a time when Casablanca was a playground for European architects, who experimented and mixed occidental and Arabic patterns. The Hotel Lincoln is a big, majestic Art Deco building. After Morocco was decolonized, it wasn’t destroyed, like many other constructions dating from the protectorate, in an attempt of the authorities to erase the traces of the French occupation.

With the years, the Casablanca hotel decayed. Its facade was blackened by traffic, and the whole building became uninhabitable. And that’s how, in 1989, the hotel began its career as a murderer. Two people were killed when one of the floors collapsed. A few years later, a homeless man would be killed in another collapsing.

And despite all of this, because of this, people began to rally around the hotel. In 2000, it was listed as a historical monument. Renovation projects were suggested. An American wants to make of the hotel a cultural center for the people of Casablanca. Architects want to restore it. But the owner of the building envisions an altogether different future for the hotel. He would like to destroy it, keeping only the facade, and build a five-story office building instead. The authorities decide to expropriate him, but nothing happens.

On Febrary 1st, the heavy rains provoked the collapsing of a part of the walls of the hotel - without injuring anyone this time.

Look at the beauty, and at the distress, of the Hotel Lincoln.


majid chekroun said...

Merci Marie pour couvrir cette belle et triste histoire. Malhereusement, Casablanca a ete injustement oublie en tant que ville avec un riche et interessant passe... Votre histoire souligne une des raison derriere cet oubli...

majid chekroun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

Merci ! C'est vrai que Casa est une ville incroyable (mais pas assez "pittoresque" j'imagine pour figurer en bonne place dans les guides touristiques)

majid chekroun said...

C'est vrai que Casa n'est plus pittoresque, a part queques quartiers de bourgeois: Anfa, California, Ermitage... C'est une ville qui a mal grandi et du coup a perdu beaucoup de son charme... la beaute de sa Corniche, la diversite culturelle et la tolerance....que j'ai connu et vecu quand j'etait petit.