The Historic Strater Hotel’s FACT SHEET
699 Main Ave
Durango, CO 81301
Historic Durango Hotel
- A Cleveland pharmacist named Henry Strater built the Strater Hotel in 1887
- Henry Strater lacked sufficient money, he had no experience in the hotel business, and he was still a minor and legally could not enter into a contract at the time he built the hotel
- Henry Strater fibbed a bit about his age, borrowed the money, and plowed ahead
- The Strater Hotel opened after an expenditure of $70,000, and placement of 376,000 native red bricks
- As it evolved, the Strater proved to be a popular winter retreat as the Durango townsfolk would close their own homes during the cold winter months and move into the hotel
- Henry Strater, who placed his pharmacy in the prominent corner of the hotel, had no intention of running the hotel, and leased it to Proprietor, H. L. Rice. Under Rice's management
- Being young and inexperienced in business, Henry Strater unfortunately discovered that he had neglected to exclude his pharmacy location in the lease to Rice. Rice extracted an extremely large rent, which infuriated the young pharmacist and prompted him in 1893 to build the competing Columbian Hotel directly to the south, with the intent of putting Rice out of business. Both hotels competed toe to toe until 1895 when the silver panic put both Henry Strater and H. L. Rice out of business.
- 1888 the hotel opened as the Strater House with 50 rooms furnished with “comfortable” enameled steel furniture and wood burning stoves. Mr. Strater’s inexperience was obvious in one important detail. He built the 50-room hotel with no closets
- In 1926 Earl A. Barker, Sr. formed an organization to buy the now aging hotel, and the group focused on refreshing the image of the 39-year-old property.
- Earl and Jentra Barker supposed it would be interesting to furnish several of the larger hotel rooms with authentic period furniture. While on vacation they cashed in their airline tickets and drove back in a U-Haul truck, stopping at antique stores along the way. Such is the beginning of the hotel's collection of American Victorian-era walnut furniture, which has grown into the largest collection of its kind in the world
- In 1983 Jentra and Earl Barker Jr. began the renovation project with special attention to such details as bathrooms, air conditioning, heating, and real closets, television, and telephone.
- Rod Barker is the current owner and continues to renovate the hotel each year
- The Strater Hotel has been run by the Barker family for three generations
- Western author Louis L'Amour always asked for the room directly above the Diamond Belle Saloon, Room 222. He said that the honky-tonk music helped set the mood for his novels of the Old West. Indeed, a good part of his Sackett's novels were written at the Strater Hotel
- There are 93 rooms at the Strater Hotel
- All the rooms are decorated differently
- There is three restaurants/bars in the hotel, The Diamond Belle Saloon, The Office Spiritorium and The Mahogany Grille, some of the best Durango restaurants in town!
- The Hotel has a theatre on property, The Henry Strater Theatre which has been running for over 40 years
Often Asked Questions:
- Do you have modern convinces?
Though the Strater is over 100 years old, you can be certain that our rooms reflect all the modern conveniences you would expect such as, cable television, telephone with voice mail & data port, room service, many rooms have free hi-speed wireless internet connections, and of course all rooms have full bathroom facilities.
- Has anyone famous stayed at the hotel?
Pres. Gerald Ford
Dir. Renny Harli
Francis Ford Colppola
Film Crew from Cliffhanger
Apollo 12 Astronauts:
J.F. Kennedy (he didn’t stay here but did give a speech in the Pullman room)
- Is the hotel haunted?
The hotel is not haunted. We keep all of our spirits in the saloon!