Saturday/Sunday, September 2/3, 2022
50 degrees at 6:00, 84 degrees high
We went to the farmer’s market, which was good. Martha loves a farmer’s market! It is downtown near the train station where we took our ride to Silverton.
We went into historic Strater Hotel to look around, and were surprised when a front desk person, Tina, offered to show us around. She hadn’t been on the job very long, but she had done her homework. It was built in 1887 by a young pharmacist, Henry Strater for $70,000, using 376,000 native red bricks and carved sandstone (https://strater.com/historic-strater-hotel/hotel-history/). It has changed hands a number of times and has survived the end of silver mining, the depression and other challenges, and has also been restored and upgraded along the way.
The glasswork and woodwork are exquisite. There is also some very nice artwork, and an interesting glass case with 14 Purdy shotguns. There was some connection with owners of the Purdy company and with the hotel. Purdy makes beautiful shotguns.
There are some ghost stories about the hotel also. A lady who died can sometimes be seen sitting in a chair downstairs. The hotel was built on the old railroad tracks. People have seen visions of men dressed in vintage railroad attire. A female bartender apparition is sometimes seen.
Many famous people have stayed at the Strater. Louis L’Amor would regularly rent room 222 above the Diamond Belle Saloon. He said the Honky Tonk music helped set the stage for his stories. His family would stay in an adjacent room. When he was finished writing for the day, they would enjoy Durango.
Walking through downtown, we explored stores and art galleries, which one lady described as a free museum. I love western art, the animals, the scenery and the horses. I love the image of riding a horse in a wilderness. I might love walking it, but I am not related to John Muir.
Martha found s cool sheepskin store and bought some gloves and a neck warmer. The salesperson, Carlotta, gave us some great suggestions of where to go next.
Sitting on a beautiful mesa above Durango is Fort Lewis College. It is a liberal arts college that waives tuition of Native Americans. It started as a military fort, then evolved to an Indian boarding school, and finally a college. It is a beautiful school with great views of the valley below. A walking trail follows the mesa rim.