"This is a charming historic hotel. We had dinner in the Argentine Grill--excellent food! Our night was quiet--a peaceful mountain town. The next morning we took an early walk in the crisp mountain air, then came back to a delicious breakfast (frittata, fresh fruit, breakfast breads) served in the rustic lobby." ~ Travelor from Farmington, New Mexico
History of the Mining Era Rico Hotel
The Rico Hotel was originally constructed as a forty room boarding house for the International Smelting Company in 1926. During the 'boom' of the 1940's, the boarding house was turned into a hotel. Standing the test of time, the Rico Hotel is a living monument to the mining era that shaped the town of Rico, Colorado.
In recent years, the Rico Hotel has undergone many major remodels, allowing the building to serve as both a hotel and four star restaurant. Reclaimed mine materials have been tastefully used in these remodels.
A Brief History of Rico
In 1833 Antoine Robidoux and a group of trappers searched for beaver along the upper Dolores River. While here, they discovered evidence that Spanish prospectors had previously processed precious metals in the area. The trappers, however, moved on when they did not find any substantial deposits of gold or silver.
In the mid 1860’s, prospectors returned to the San Juan Mountains and actively staked claims in the mountains above what is now Rico. For the next thirty years, access to the Pioneer Mining District was extremely difficult as the land to the south was controlled by the Ute Indians. In the 1880’s, mining supplies, freight, and settlers came over the mountains from the nearest railroad station in Rockwood north of Durango, via Scotch Creek toll road.
In 1891, the Rio Grande Southern Railroad arrived in Rico in a route that connected Durango with Ridgway. By 1892, Rico had a population of nearly 5000 people with twenty-three saloons, two churches, two newspapers, a bank, a theatre, a boarding house, a mercantile, a brick county courthouse, and a thriving three block red light district.
- Courtesy of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway Program