Ouray Hotel has long provided a soothing relaxing atmosphere!
Long before the area was discovered by two miners in search of gold, the tiny canyon now known as Ouray served as a sacred spot for the Ute Indians. Some people speculate that perhaps the name “Uncompahgre”, or dirty water, was given to the area to protect the secret of the hot springs.
Once gold had been discovered though, the soothing waters of the natural springs were an added perk to living in the area, offering a soothing respite from days deep in the earth searching for treasure.
In 1877, a newspaper article mentioned the vast number of bath houses in Ouray and their popularity. While several places took advantage of the warm waters for recreational purposes, it was not until the early 1900’s when a facility was opened which brought to light the healing properties of the hot springs.
Rich in a variety of minerals, particularly helpful in soothing rheumatism and skin problems, the first sanitarium was developed.
Richard and Bessie Cogar purchased the land which now houses the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, as well as its neighboring hotel in 1913, with the intention of building the first sanitarium in Ouray.
In the early 1900’s, the term “Radio Active” had an entirely different connotation than the post World War Two use of the word, as did the term “Sanitarium”.
The Cogar’s Sanitarium and “Radio-Active Baths” were incredibly successful, and men and women came from far and wide to take advantage of the treatments provided at the facility.
In 1927, after the death of her husband, Bessie remarried and left Ouray, selling the sanitarium to Mr. C.W. Kent, of Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Kent maintained and invested in the sanitarium, which he re-named “The Sweet Skin Sanitarium”, until 1946. During his residence and ownership of the hot springs, he added five cabins to the property to accommodate the growing tourism and declining mining industry.
In 1945, Mr. Kent sold the land to the Idarado Mining Company, who re-named it the “Crystal Court Bathhouses”, and rented cabins to local miners.
Sometime around 1953, the original 35 acres were parceled out, and on July 9, 1959, The Ouray County Herald announced the opening of the Box Canyon Motel. Long term residents, Tommy and Della May (or Sally) Fellin had built a two story hotel with ten complete units. This building is the first of three expansions over the years, and is on the Southwest side of the property. When John Ray and Mary Joyce Scoggins purchased the property in 1964, there were fourteen completed units available for rent.
During the five years they owned the hotel, the Scoggins added another eight rooms to the property, and moved the front desk to the front of the hotel, facing the street.
Joseph and Viola Muse purchased the Box Canyon Motel in 1969, selling it again in 1972 to Kurt and Margaret Kircher. When the Kirchers sold the property to Thomas and Nancy Borman in 1975, there were twenty two rooms. During their time at the Box Canyon, the Bormans added eight more units, and built the four mineral hot spring tubs which still provide hours of relaxation and pleasure to our guests.
When John and Barbara Uhles purchased the hotel in 1986, they immediately set about making the property their own, renaming it “Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs”, and completely refurbished the original 14 rooms. They purchased the parcel of land between the Box Canyon and its neighboring hotel, the Chief Ouray Gun Club, and added eight rooms, including the two large suites, each with a fireplace, and the Honeymoon Suite.
In May, 2007, Rich and Karen Avery purchased the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. With 39 beautifully maintained rooms, including five suites and a fully furnished two bedroom apartment, it was easy to fall in love with. The four mineral hot spring tubs still stand on the hillside. The tubs themselves have been replaced once or twice, still as cedar tubs though in order to best compliment the majesty of the views.
Every year, the Averys follow the tradition of upgrading and maintaining the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. The Averys were able to increase use of the hot springs by converting the entire property to geothermal, using the natuaral heat to warm the guest rooms and tap water. Every time a guest returns, whether it is weeks, days or even years later, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs provides the perfect escape. The love and passion put into the property from the very beginning shines through in every portion of the grounds and rooms.
Come see us soon!