In the early 1990s, Nebhan made a striking discovery. As he was cleaning the opalescent glass in front he noticed a glint of copper. After a thorough cleaning, a copper trimming was revealed. Nebhan decided to take things further and found that oak was hiding beneath eight layers of paint at the building's entrance. This inspired Nebhan to redo the hotel and bring it back to its roots… The front desk was replaced by a style that would have been used in the 1920s. The skylights were uncovered and the blocked windows were replaced with stained glass and a telephone switchboard from the 1930s is now on display in the hotel's lobby. He tried to restore the hotel to its original appearance as much as possible.
The oldest public phone in the area sits against the wall along with 1920s-era artwork that adorns the wall. The hotel's original elevator with a collapsible door still runs guests to the upper floors and much of the original hotel is still intact today.
To those zooming past the hotel at 311 E. Franklin as they enter Interstate 10, the Gardner Hotel of El Paso is much more than just another old building that lines the road. It’s history.