Durango’s iconic Strater Hotel sold

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Durango’s iconic Strater Hotel sold

New owner, a frequent visitor to Southwest Colorado, assumes operation on Saturday
From left, Jeremy Barker and his parents, Laurie and Rod Barker, owners of the Strater Hotel, with the family and new owners of the hotel, Ross Garrett, Colton Garrett and Karen Garrett, on Thursday in the hotel lobby.

Durango’s iconic Strater Hotel sold

From left, Jeremy Barker and his parents, Laurie and Rod Barker, owners of the Strater Hotel, with the family and new owners of the hotel, Ross Garrett, Colton Garrett and Karen Garrett, on Thursday in the hotel lobby.
Strater Hotel timeline

1884: Henry, Frank and Fred Strater add a second floor to Strater Bros., Dealers in Paints and Oils.

1887: Henry opens the adjacent Strater House with seed money from his father in Ohio. Final cost of construction is $70,000, including 376,000 native red bricks and Henry’s namesake pharmacy.

1893: After a dispute with his hired hotel manager, Henry converts the paint and oil shop into the Columbian Hotel. It operates as a direct competitor of the Strater House.

1895: The economy of the San Juan Mountains collapses with the Silver Panic, and Henry loses both hotels to the Bank of Cleveland. Henry moves to Cuba and becomes a tobacco merchant.

1902: Both hotels are purchased by Charles Stilwell and Hattie Mashburn. Durango locals lived at the hotel during winters to save heating costs.

1926: A group of businessmen including Earl Barker Sr. purchase the Strater.

1941: The “Back Forty” addition is completed after three years of construction.

1954: Earl Sr. buys out his partners and hands operation of the hotel to Earl Jr.

1957: While Earl Sr. is out of town, Earl Jr., his wife, Jentra, and his brother and sister-in-law convert a corner rented office into the Diamond Belle Saloon. Upon his return, Earl Sr. loves the bar and, according to local lore, takes credit for its creation.

1960s: Spurred by the spirit of the Diamond Belle, Earl Jr. and Jentra convert the entire hotel into a Victorian showcase with the largest assemblage of authentic period furniture in the country.

1985: With Earl Jr.’s retirement, his son Rod assumes ownership and management of the Strater Hotel.

2010: Al Harper, owner of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, was in negotiations to buy the hotel.

2021: Ross Garrett of Amarillo, Texas, and owner of marinas, guest-service businesses and the Lone Star Lodge and Marina on Lake Ray Roberts, purchases the Strater Hotel for an undisclosed amount from the Barker family.

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