The Montezuma Ball first took place as a social event in 1902 during New Mexico’s Territorial Fair and was inspired by the book The Fair God: Or, Last of the T’zins, A Tale of Conquest of Mexico written by Lew Wallace. Intended to match the caliber of annual social balls in St. Louis and Denver, the first Montezuma Balls began with a majestic parade of floats, one of which showcased a giant eagle ridden by Montezuma. Even after Montezuma stopped attending in 1904, organizers kept his name, and new themes were chosen annually. The Ball was suspended in 1917 as the U.S. entered World War I. After the war, the Montezuma Ball came back to life sporadically until 1970, when the Alvarado Hotel, where the balls had been held, was demolished.