Saguache Hotel

Saguache Hotel front exterior, 2021

In 2009 CPI listed the 4th St Commercial District of which the Saguache Hotel is on as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places.  Since listing, CPI has worked extensively with the community to preserve its historic buildings.

In 2019, CPI’s Preservation Services Director began working with the Saguache Hotel’s new owner, Andy Hackbarth, on revitalizing this remarkable building

History of the Hotel

The name Saguache comes from a Ute word, meaning “water at the blue earth.” The town of Saguache in Colorado’s northern San Luis Valley started as an agricultural community following removal of the Ute people from the area in the 1860s. It expanded in the 1870s and 1880s with homesteaders and settlers arriving, along with miners utilizing the town as their departure point when heading to the San Juan Mountains. The town became an important way station for those traveling farther west. After suffering the 1890s silver market crash, the town returned to prosperity in the early 20th century. Many of downtown Saguache’s buildings date to this time of expansion.

Horace “Boss” Means and his cousin W.T. Ashley, in partnership with George Curtis, built Saguache Hotel in 1910. The establishment was reported to be “one of the finest in the entire (San Luis) valley,” with modern amenities of baths, hot and cold water and its own lighting plant.

Saguache Hotel meant many things to many people, for both area residents and those passing through. This was a center for recreation and respite. The two-story structure featured a variety of rooms, an onsite barber and dentist, along with a saloon and brothel in its early days. Colorado Cattlemen’s Association held regular meetings there.

Early days of Saguache Hotel

Constructed across from the Courthouse in downtown Saguache, the stately building anchors the southern edge of the 4th street commercial area and contributes to Saguache Downtown Historic District, which was listed on National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

The Hotel served visitors in various capacities with ownership shifting several times during its operation. By the late 1990s, the town and subsequently the Hotel experienced economic hardships, resulting mainly from the realignment of U.S. Highway 285 which bypasses the downtown area. Colorado Preservation, Inc., recognizing the 4th Street Commercial District on its Colorado’s Most Endangered Places, continues preservation planning with Saguache community members since that 2009 designation.

Future of the Hotel

Colorado Preservation, Inc. recently received a State Historical Fund grant for vital restoration efforts of the historic Saguache Hotel. This is in partnership with the building’s new energetic owner, Andy Hackbarth, who has a vision for the property as a dynamic community resource. He is reimagining indoor and outdoor spaces, including restoring the Hotel’s rooms and lobby with a larger concept of creating an attractive music and entertainment venue for the area (Andy is an accomplished musician himself).

Artist rendering of the planned space for the bar
Artist rendering of the planned space for the coffee shop
Artist rendering of the planned space for the beer garden

Andy looks forward to collaborating with locals to bring new life to this historic hotel, reviving it as a community and state asset once again. The Hotel’s rejuvenation offers opportunity for the small town of Saguache to become a destination. Colorado Preservation, Inc. is optimistic that its work with Saguache Hotel will continue spurring revitalization and preservation efforts in the area. Look forward to the Hotel opening in 2021/2022.

Learn more and view more photos of the Hotel and artist renderings of the planned spaces on Saguache Hotel’s website. Take a guided video tour of the Hotel and make donations to support restoration efforts at Andy’s GoFundMe page. Check out The Crestone Eagle’s recent article about the project.

Project Description

Respecting the building’s unique history and to maintain its character, Andy plans to restore the Hotel as much as possible to its early 20th century appearance. This incorporates sustainable rehabilitation strategies to diminish use of fossil fuels. Follow renovation progress on Saguache Hotel’s website, Instagram and Facebook. Check out a recent update here.

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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".