All the Comforts of Home and More at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!
Recently, while picking up some supplies for the hotel, the cashier realized where I was from, and began gushing about the Box Canyon Lodge.
"My sister and I just came back from a weekend stay with you," she began, "And we spent hours in the tubs discussing how the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would be the perfect spot to wait out a Zombie Apocalypse."
Well. This is why I love my job.
She continued, describing our natural hot springs, and the natural cold springs in Ouray, our location, tucked into the mountainside as we are, is easily defended. Because we heat our water and rooms with geothermal energy, and have made so many green upgrades, the property would be more sustainable than many other places, and so on. Not to mention the spectacular beauty of Ouray. Who wouldn't want to wait out an apocalypse here?
Being an avid Walking Dead fan myself, she got my creative juices flowing with this chat. We held up the line for a few minutes discussing the validity of her and her sisters analysis of the property and the city of Ouray.
It also got me to thinking that quite a few of us are inextricably tied to the fantasy worlds created by a good T.V. show. We watch. We comment. We take lines from our favorite movies and shows, and find a common thread. Some of us are obsessed with sports. The possibility of missing that play off, or epic game is daunting. Nerves become frayed at the possibility of missing the winning goal.
The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs just upgraded our cable package for our guests. We now offer a couple of movie channels and several sport stations, as well as AMC, making a Sunday night visit possible for guests not wanting to miss the newest episode of their favorite show or sporting event. Now, after a day of outdoor adventures and an evening of soaking and dining in town, you can snuggle in your bed, and not worry whether you set your DVR at home.
For ages, I have been of the mind that having television is relatively unimportant, especially while on vacation. Who wants to sit in front of a box of moving pictures when there is so much to see and do right outside their door?
We write blogs, and post on Social Networks, letting our guests know everything we can that will make their visit memorable. Recently, I came to the realization that in addition to the plethora of adventures to be had throughout the day and early evening, relaxing at night in comfort, with a favorite show playing in the background does in fact make the unfamiliar familiar.
As we have entered into the age of electronics, it is no secret that almost everyone has at least one or two devices that are linked in to the Web. The Box Canyon Lodge has provided complimentary wifi to our guests for years, however, located as we are in a wonderfully defensible box canyon, there are indeed times when the wifi has been a little frustrating. The signal may fade, or too many people log in at once, kicking someone off. Recognizing that our smart phones and tablets are also our primary method of communication these days, we have taken steps to upgrade and improve our connectivity. Every room has been equipped with additional power strips, so that no one has to crawl behind the bureau to plug in their laptop.
At the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, our guests are our number one priority. We take pride in clean, comfortable rooms. Our rustic decor is a testament to simple pleasures, outdoor adventures and relaxing soaks in the mineral hot springs. At the same time, we do recognize and accomodate the need for modern technology, and strive to combine the two in a comfortable blend.
All of us enjoy learning from our guests. We love to hear what you think about the property. What you would like to see happen here, or stay the same, and of course, whether you would like to stay with us in the event of a zombie apocolypse!
Ouray, a perfect place for a wedding any time of year!
Surrounded by spectacular mountains there is no bad location. The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is happy to accommodate your wedding party and guests up to about 60 people and only blocks from the hotel are several fantastic locations for ceremony and reception.
round. If you want to be a Snow Queen for your special day, winter is a pretty dramatic season for a wedding. Bring out the fire pits and the white furs and you have a perfect setting for a wedding.
Secret Garden is not just a perfect venue year round, but they also cater at their location as well as pretty much any other facility in Ouray County and beyond.
Beautiful old rock walls with wonderful stained glass windows. A blend of Victorian and rustic mountains combine to make this location a beautiful venue for a wedding.
The Wright Opera House is a great space for a wedding ceremony and or reception or rent it for a party. The Wright does not have a kitchen facility, so all food has to be brought in.
Ouray Elk’s Lodge is a nice facility for ceremony and reception with a lovely room with wood floors and dark wood wainscoting and high ceilings. The Elk’s is right on Main Street only 3 blocks from Box Canyon Lodge.
The Ouray Community Center is not a beautiful facility, on the outside, but can accommodate large parties with a great kitchen and an elevator. With a lot of work the Community Center can have a pretty nice ambiance with lights strung from the ceiling and no florescent lights.
For flowers, Willow Creek Floral does an amazing job! Willow Creek also does lighting and decorations; they are a complete event headquarters. Many of the restaurants in town cater, but as far as I know Secret Garden is the only one in town that does wedding cakes. And their cakes are ever so delicious.
For music, the possibilities are endless! I don’t really know much about local DJ’s, but I sure know a lot about live music. There is a local band for any music style you desire from classical to swing to blues, jazz, reggae, funk, acoustic, whatever your heart desires there is a band within a n hour from Ouray to meet your needs. Brass bands, rock, you name it, we have it. For favors, considering giving each of your guests a 1.5 or 3 oz bag of locally roasted coffee from Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters with your own custom label.
For your wedding night stay in our Honeymoon Suite and have us set it up with flowers, champagne, and chocolates.
About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and brawn of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.
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 fraom all over to take advantage of the treatments provided at the facility.
In 1927, after the death of her husband, Bessie had 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 year, 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 the Property "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 expanded increased 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!
From soaking in the sulfer free hot springs to adrenaline pumping adventures, Ouray invites you to share the magic!
The area surrounding Ouray is a haven for the adventurer. The mountains seem to call out, begging to be explored. Every season holds a lifetime of experiences, the biggest question is where to begin?
Faith Parry and I decided to put our heads together, and came up with just a few adventures that everyone should try at least once:
The town itself is worthy of any Bucket List. When approached from the South on Highway 550 (the Million Dollar Highway), the initial view of this tiny mountain town is amazing. Walking along Main Street, it is impossible not to pause occasionally just to gaze at the splendor on every side. To one side of the canyon, Cascade Falls dominated the view, while a short walk in the other direction takes you to the base of Box Canyon Falls as it booms through the canyon walls.
1.) Ice Climbing
The idea of climbing a frozen waterfall is an interesting one to say the least. Home to the largest farmed ice park in the country, Ouray boasts a group of volunteers whose passion for climbing is surpassed only by their desire to share the experience. For two decades, our ice farmers have sculpted the ice in the Uncompahgre Gorge into a playground for the sound of heart.
The silence in the park is punctuated by the sound of axes striking ice, and softly spoken warnings to those still below, as athletes ascend to the top of the canyon. The drama of the climb verges on surreal, as if you have transformed into a world in which there is only you, and the ice. Rainbows of light are captured in frozen water, begging a moment of speculation as your body is tested to its limits. Reaching the top of the climb, an impression of fulfillment pervades every fiber, and the mind explodes with ideas for the next challenge.
Climbers almost dance past the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs in the early morning, eager to explore the limits of the ice and themselves. as the day warms and the ice becomes less stable, these same climbers tiredly make their way to the all natural mineral hot springs, exchanging stories of the climb as tired muscles relax in the healing waters.
2.) Drive the Four Wheel Drive Trails
Ouray is one of the jeeping capitals in the world. We have some of the greatest off road terrain the go over spectacular mountain passes and to old mining towns and beautiful high alpine basins.
The most extreme off road route is Black Bear Pass. The pass is one way from Ouray to Telluride and traverses mountain tundra and lush valleys with waterfalls and wildflowers. The pass summits at 12,840 feet above sea level.
Another awesome pass from Ouray is Engineer Pass which is part of the Alpine Loop and connects to many other wonderful passes such as Corkscrew and Cinnamon Passes.
Animas Forks is a wonderful ghost town on Engineer Pass near Silverton. If renting a jeep you will not be able to do Black Bear or Poughkeepsie Gulch. If you want to do any of these passes please be sure you have the right vehicle and equipment. Because of the narrow roads and tight turns a short wheel base and high clearance is a necessity as well as a low range gear.
3.) Sulfur Free Hot Springs
O.K., I know we talk about them all the time, but Ouray has some amazing hot springs.
Southwest Colorado boasts many towns and spas with natural mineral hot springs, but Ouray has the added good fortune to possess hot springs with very low sulfur content; soakers can enjoy the soothing heat of water full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, without the distinctive odor of sulfur. Common to almost every mineral hot spring is a high content of sodium, which may explain the lightness so many bathers comment on when enjoying this natural wonder.
Bubbling to the surface at temperatures from 140 to 180 degrees, Ouray does have to cool its water to make it safe for bathing. Once part of the first Sanitarium in Ouray, The Box Canyon Lodge provides four redwood tubs tiered on the hillside in our courtyard for guests to enjoy the peace and beauty of the San Juans while soaking in a more private, natural setting. The temperature of our mineral hot spring water is maintained between 101 to 108 degrees varying by a couple of degrees from tub to tub.
The source of the hot water at the Box Canyon Lodge can be seen steaming above the tubs, and as with anywhere the water flows so close to the surface, the area surrounding the spring houses a variety of wildlife taking advantage of the warmer ground, and ever present foliage.
4.) Hike a Fourteener
Anywhere you look in the town of Ouray are peaks and trails beckoning to be traversed. Deep into the canyon and high above timberline, access to miles and miles of back country heaven are literally on your doorstep.
Is climbing a 14er on your bucket list? If so, come to Ouray this summer for some great mountain climbing. Ouray is surrounded by spectacular towering peaks. Our most popular is Mt Sneffels which is 14,150 feet high. Access the trail head by driving up the famous Camp Bird Rd to Yankee Boy Basin. The climb to the peak is a giant rock field and there is usually snow in spots year round. The view from the top is spectacular! Below you to the north are Blue Lakes, which is also an amazing hike.
When climbing 14ers be prepared for any weather and take plenty of food and water. Some people like to start very early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms, but I have done it in the afternoon on a spectacular Colorado blue sky day.
If you just want a serious challenge for a hike and don’t care that it is a 14er there are several 13ers that are more difficult climbs. My absolute favorite is Mount Emma, which is around 13,500. It is a 5,000 vertical foot climb as opposed to Sneffels which is only about a 2,000 foot climb. Uncompahgre Peak is another good 14er nearby.
Regardless of the season, be sure to bring your camera! Standing at the summit of Imogene Pass, or in the middle of Main Street, there is a never ending array of sights to behold. Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help design a getaway that will last forever in your heart, an adventure in every memory.
Welcome Climbers! Ouray Celebrates 20 Years of World Class Competition.
For two decades now, Ouray has proudly nurtured the largest farmed Ice Park in the country, welcoming climbers from accross the globe as they explore and enjoy the ice so lovingly created by a small group of volunteers. Every year around Thanksgiving, the ice farmers begin to prep the Uncompaghre Gorge for the upcoming ice season.
Hoping for an early season, opening is usually forecasted for around mid December, but is ralrely later than the first week in January. Which is a good thing, because Ice Fest usually falls on the second weekend of the New Year.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Ouray Ice Fest, once a small gathering of ice climing enthusiasts, this festival is now one of the largest of its kind. Renowned athletes from accross the globe travel to Ouray to test their skills on the ice.
San Juan Mountain Guides will again be offering climbing clinics for all levels of experience, in addition to a Kids Climbing College, at which children ages 5 to 16 can be introduced to the wonder of ice climbing free of charge!
Booths offering everything from a sampling of the newest gear to the warmest lightest jackets line the walkway, providing shelter from the cold to onlookers and participants alike.
There are seminars offered throughout the festival, offering a variety of information and traininig from top athletes. From classes for beginners to backcountry tips for the seasoned climber, there are sure to be several that will peak your interest!
Evenings during the festival will be filled with dinners, live music and silent auctions. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, the Wright Opera House will be hosting a kick off party, with great food, fantastic prizes, live music from the group One Roof Blues, and a special screening of the North Face film “Always Above Us” with special guest Conrad Anker. The party goes from 7pm to 10pm, and it is only a $10.00 cover charge.
On Friday, January 9
After a day of interactive clinics and gear demos at the park, head on over to the Ouray Community Center for a dinner, fashion show and silent auction! The Ouray Volunteer Fire Department will be cooking up a delicious meal, and beer will be provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association.
Saturday, January 10th
It's a full day and evening of fun and excitement. From gear expos, interactive clinics and the free Climbing College for the kids, to the highly anticipated Elite Mixed Climbing Competition, the day ends with another gathering at the Wright Opera Housewith presentations by Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf and Will Gadd. Ther will be a live auction offering a wide variety of awesome gear, and the presentation of the Jeff Lowe award. Beer provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association. Of course, tha's not the end of the celebration by any means!
From 9:30 pm to 1:30 am, relive the magical moments of Prom Night (but this time you know better) at this years themed Petzl Party and dance.
Sunday, January 11
This is the last day of the festival, beginning with the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp, sponsored by Lowa. More interactive clinics, Kids climbing College, Gear Expos and Free Walk-up Climbing at the La Sportiva Zone fill the morning and afternoon, culminating in the ASOLO Awards Ceremony at the Outdoor Gear Expo at 1pm.
As the festival begins to wind down, there is no better way to end your time in Ouray than a warm soothing soak in the all natural mineral hot springs. Regardless of whether you have been climbing all day, or watching the competitions from the side of the Gorge, a long soak in water ranging from 103 to 108 degrees is sure to take the chill from your bones and put you in a relaxed state of mind, ready for a quiet dinner and restful evening before heading home in the morning.
Once the festival is over, and the town has quieted down somewhat, it is the ideal time to come back to Ouray, and try your hand at climbing. Take a class or go with a guide to explore the many awesome climbs in the park, as well as some in the back country!
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to plan your ice climbing adventure in Ouray!
Ouray and Ridgway Welcome You to Celebrate the Holiday!
If you are planning to spend Christmas with us and would like a church to
celebrate here is a list of some options, and a bit about what each has to offer:
Ouray’s Baptist Church just a block from the hotel at 100 4th St, Ouray, Co. (970) 325-4448
will have their Christmas Eve Candlelight service @ 6:30 pm, on Wednesday, December 24th. All are welcome to come. They begin by lighting the Christ candle then different people read Scripture from the Old and New Testaments. In between the readings, they will sing Christmas carols and hymns. All of this together, tells the Christmas story. Toward the end of the service, they light a candle from the Christ candle, and then each person lights their candle from one another. The service ends with singing "Silent Night" in the glow of the candles.
Ouray Christian Fellowship at 336 4th Ave, Ouray, CO. (970) 325-4253
will have a Lessons and Carols service at 7 pm *based* on (but different than) the traditional Anglican service performed each year. It features roughly 7 “lessons” (readings from Scripture) which point us to Christ or to a theme of Christmas and 7 “carols” which are congregational and choral responses to those lessons. The service is entirely “scripture” and “song” - no preaching; we let the Bible and the Hymns preach to us on the Eve of Christmas. Everyone is welcome to attend and to listen to the themes of Scripture unfolded for us in Christ. There is no childcare provided because the service is designed with many interactive elements - mostly singing - to engage the family. The service should last about one hour, concluding with a candlelight singing of “Silent Night”.
Calvary Community Church at 380 2nd St, Ouray, Co (970) 325-4049 is having a Christmas Day Celebration at the church at 10:00 AM. The service will consist of singing Christmas Carols and special readings of the Christmas Story. They will also have stocking for children ages 2-10 during the service. The service will conclude with a brunch welcome to all.
St John’s Episcopal Church, (970) 325-4655
will have a Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service at 5 pm and a Christmas Day service at 10:30 am. St John’s is located at 329 5th Ave. Ridgway Community Church is having a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 5pm. The service will be a remembrance of Luke, Matthew and Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Community Church is located on the north side of Hwy 62 also known as Sherman in town.
St Daniel’s Catholic Church at 614 5th St, Ouray, Co (970) 325-4373
will have a Christmas Eve Mass at 8pm on December 24, 2014, and a Christmas celebration at 9am on Christmas Day.
Ridgway Community Church (970) 626-5692
Ouray and Ridgway are a magical place to celebrate the holidays. From a variety of ourdoor activities, to the thriving community togetherness, there are few more enticing places to enjoy a winter getaway.
The staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs
works to provide the ideal escape for everyone, and are more than happy to provide information to make your escape perfect!
About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and brawn of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.
Ouray Hotel Honors the Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas and where it came from.
We have all heard of or experienced the sweetly entertaining tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe at Christmas time, but does anyone really know the origin of this charming tradition?
If we travel back in time to ancient Scandinavia we may discover how it all came to be. Mistletoe was long believed to be a symbol of peace and joy. There was an ancient custom that if; while out in the woods you happened to find yourself standing under a mistletoe plant, upon encountering an enemy, you both must lay down your weapons and observe a truce until the next day. This custom eventually led to hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it as a sign of friendship and goodwill.
The ancient Druids took mistletoe very seriously; they had a very elaborate ritual for gathering the mistletoe that sometimes could include human sacrifice. When harvesting the mistletoe the branches had to be caught before they touched the ground otherwise the plant would have lost its healing powers. The plant was then distributed amongst the people to be hung over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. They would also place a sprig in a babies cradle to protect the child from Goblins. The Druids considered it to have magical properties so it was worn as a good luck charm and also placed over doorways to ward off evil spirits. And so any who entered through the doorway received a kiss as a seal of friendship.
One of the oldest myths about mistletoe was in regards to Baldur a Norse God. The story goes that Baldur, the god of sunshine and light, was the son of Odin and Frigga, goddess of love.
Baldur had a premonition of his own death; this greatly alarmed his mother for if he should die then all life on earth would end. In an attempt to prevent Baldur’s death, Frigga asked every element of nature to promise not to harm him. In her haste she forgot the lowly mistletoe, the evil God Loki knew of her mistake and so he made an arrow tip of mistletoe and gave it to the blind God of Winter, Hodar, who then accidentally shot and killed Baldur. Instantly the sun ceased to shine the sky paled and all things on Earth and in the Heavens wept for the fallen Sun God. For three days each element and all of the Gods and Goddess tried to revive him, and he was finally restored to life.
It is said that the tears of joy that Frigga shed then turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant, and in her joy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree on which it grew. It was then decreed that the mistletoe would never again cause harm and that anyone who walked under it should receive a kiss, a token of love.
The earliest document case of kissing under the mistletoe was back in the 16th century in England, it was a very popular custom at that time. The original custom in England was that the gentleman would pick a berry from the sprig of mistletoe before he could kiss the lady standing under it. Once all the berries had gone there could be no more kissing. In the 18th Century the exchanging of kisses between and man and woman was adopted as a promise to marry. At Christmas time a lady standing under a ball of mistletoe could not refuse to be kissed. It was believed that if the girl remained unkissed she could not expect to marry in the following year.
In the modern day although greenery is still widely used as a Christmas decoration, the practice of hanging mistletoe is rarely done. Even though almost everyone has heard of the custom of kissing under the mistletoe, it is a sweet and simple ancient tradition that many have forsaken. So this holiday season we here at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would wish upon everyone all the peace, joy and friendship that mistletoe was long believed to help bring.
About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle.
Santa Delivers in Southwest Colorado!
The Ouray Elks Lodge works all year, holding special events, BBQ's and meetings in order to raise money for the community. The funds these hardy volunteers raise are used to help pay medical expenses for some, scholarships to deserving students, and FUN! Perhaps one of the most touching events is when Santa comes to town. Elk members hold a special potluck dinner a week or so before Christmas, to help out Santa and his elves by stuffing dozens upon dozens of stockings. On Christmas Eve, several members of the club offer their services even further to St. Nick by becoming honorary elves for the evening, driving him to and fro, across Ouray County in whatever weather, to help him deliver gifts and good cheer.
Parents who live in the Community, and families who are visiting, are invited to call these honorary elves with the names and locations of their kids, so Santa can be sure to give them extra special attention.
With the help of a dedicated staff of volunteers, Santa is able to make his rounds all through Ouray County, visiting children far and wide. Every Christmas Eve, the Ouray Elks Lodge brings smiles and gifts to the children of Ouray County, delivering a stocking filled with treats, and a special gift just for them.
It is always such a pleasure to see the faces of children light up when they discover Santa at their door, especially when they are far from home! During your visit over Christmas to the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs we invite you to take part in this Ouray Christmas tradition. Please give us a call at 800-327-5080, or send us an email, letting us know the names, ages, and gender of the children staying with you over Christmas Eve. We will contact the Ouray Elks Lodge with your information and arrange for Santa to drop by your room and hand out gifts and treats for the children. You can even arrange to leave gifts here in the lobby that you would like Santa to deliver for you.
There are few better ways to celebrate the holiday than to spend Christmas Eve in Ouray! Enjoy a devine meal in one of our amazing restaurants on Main Street, then return for a soothing soak in our all natural mineral hot spring tubs before settling down with the little ones to enjoy a movie from our extensive video library while you wait for Santa to arrive with a jolly laugh and a memory your child will cherish forever.
Ouray, Colorado boasts beautiful architecture, and one of the largest collections of Mesker facades maintained to perfection!
The Mesker Brothers Iron Works and George L. Mesker & Co. were competing manufacturers and designers of ornamental sheet-metal facades and cast iron storefront components from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century. The Mesker Brothers Iron Works was owned and operated by brothers Bernard and Frank Mesker and was based out of St. Louis, MO. The George L. Mesker Company was operated by the eldest brother, George L. Mesker, and was based in Evansville, IN. The three brothers learned their iron-working skills from their father.
Both companies produced tin ceilings, iron railings, stairs, roof cresting, ventilation grates, iron awnings, skylights, and freight elevators. “Meskers” were marketed through mail order catalogs that displayed their designs. According to a 1915 catalog, there were Mesker storefronts in every state, and even in the territory of Alaska.
For profit-minded businessmen in the late 1800’s the goal was to stand out from the crowd. For those who couldn’t afford fancy masonry or cast iron embellishments, there was an alternative: pick up a catalogue and order a decorative, galvanized sheet metal facade from the Mesker Brothers Iron Works or George L. Mesker & Co. Purchasers could pick and choose from a range of cast iron and pressed metal mass-produced components or spring for a lavish top-to-bottom facade. Their order would come in by train and in just a few days, a plain brick or wood box of a building could be transformed into a beautifully elegant edifice, at roughly one-fifth the cost of a masonry facade.
In Colorado there are roughly 112 remaining documented “Meskers”, with 14 surviving examples (more than any other town in the state) Ouray is a favorite destination for Mesker enthusiasts. At the same time that the Mesker facades were becoming popular Ouray was in the midst of its mining heyday. This coincided with the Second Industrial Revolution and its abundance of large-scale iron and steel production and the widespread use of manufacturing machinery, thus marking the face of Ouray with a large variety of Mesker facades.
The Wright Opera House, boasts Ouray’s first and most ornate, Mesker facade, dripping with cornices, columns, ornamental sheet metal panels and other decorative elements that encrust the entire front of the building from top to bottom. The building and its facade made a big impression on the community – so much so that over the course of the next 20 years 14 more buildings were built with Mesker facades. Of the 15 buildings originally built with these facades only one has been torn down, this was the Hiebler Building located at 624 Main St.
OURAY’S SURVIVING MESKERS
Original: 1888 Wright’s Hall Today: Wright Opera House Address: 462 Main St.
Original: 1888-90 Scott-Humphries Building Today: Buen Tiempo Address: 513 Main St.
Original: 1888-90 Carney Hardware Today: Swiss Store Address: 514 Main St.
Original: 1898 Prevost Saloon Today: Citizens State Bank Address: 600 Main St.
Original: 1898 Columbus Building Today: Silver Nugget Restaurant Address: 740 Main St.
Original: 1890 Jeffers Building Columbine Rock Shop 635 Main St.
Original: 1895 Powell Grocery Today: Rockin’ P Ranch Address: 512 Main St.
Original: 1900 Hammond & Waring Grocers Duckett’s Market 621 Main St.
Original: 1900 Derry Building Today: Gator Emporium 608 Main St.
Original: 1901 Townsend/Witherspoon Building Today: Mouse’s Chocolates Address: 520 Main St.
Original: 1902 Orendorf Building RB Horsetraders 629 Main St.
Original: 1906 Sanitary Market Today: O’Brien’s Pub Address: 726 Main St.
Original: 1906 Faussone & Pricco/ Cascade Grocery Today: Salon Envy Address: 736 Main St.
Original: 1908-10 Canavan Taylor/ Bonatti Building Today: Outlaw Restaurant Address: 610 Main St.
Of the 15 “Meskers” built in Ouray all but one were created by the Mesker Brothers Iron Works. The one by George L. Mesker & CO the Powell Grocery built in 1895, today the Rockin’ P Ranch (a clothing and gift shop) resides there. You can distinguish the two companies by looking for the embossed cast iron column nameplates bearing the company name and foundry location. George L. Mesker displayed a “morning glory” motif, while Mesker Brothers Iron Works, influenced by the French heritage of St. Louis, displayed a “fleur-de-lis.”
One of the most interesting Meskers in Ouray is the Jeffers building which appears to have used a combination of several different kits to create the façade. The Columbine Mineral Shop is currently located in the Jeffers building and offers a dazzling array of rocks, minerals, and jewelry to choose from. The 600 block of Main Street in downtown Ouray has several Mesker Brothers fronts in a row. The Jeffers Building of 1890 (far left of the photo) and the cornice and pediments of Duckett’s Market are some of the best surviving elements anywhere.
The Scott-Humphries Building built in 1889, boasts another of Ouray’s best Mesker fronts. Now home to the Buen Tiempo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, this building has several ornamental elements on the ground level, and a complete second-floor sheet metal facade. When checking out this beautifully restored building stop in and enjoy a tasty meal and margarita.
Next time you come to stay with us here at the Box Canyon Lodge please take some time to wander Main St and enjoy the beauty of the many and varied Mesker facades scattered throughout Ouray. And please don’t forget to peruse the fun shops and restaurants located within those beautiful buildings.
About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle.
The Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival in Ouray is an event not to miss.
The holiday season is once again approaching. We celebrated Fall and Halloween in Ouray fashion, with revelry and dancing in ghoulish costumes all over town. Despite the sunshine, we prepare for a quiet November as the Indian Summer continues. The Box Canyon Lodge finally had to take down the flowers, which were still colorful, but beginning to show the inevitable signs of steadily colder days and nights.
Restaurants and shops on Main Street have started their winter hours, still providing plenty of hours to peruse the unique and interesting merchandise one cannot find in a large department store.
As we enter into this quieter time, we begin to focus on the next few months of earlier evenings, warm fires, soaking in hot springs and preparing for the holidays.
This December marks the sixth year of the Annual Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival, tied in with all of the celebrations of a Holiday Weekend in Ouray. Wine, chocolate, cheese, distilled liquor, arts and crafts and live music, a great combination for a fantastic evening! A great excuse to dress up or pull out the stops for a costume along the lines of “Winter Wonderland”.
Festival goers will get to try samples of Colorado wine, chocolate, cheese and some delicious creation from Trail Town Still. This is also a great opportunity to get unforgettable Christmas gifts. All the vendors will have their product for sale, so not only do you get to sample but you also get to purchase and support Colorado business.
Swing City Express will be keeping the festive atmosphere with fantastic music from a live 9 piece band. Bring your dancing shoes and have some fun.
The festival is at the Ouray Community Center on December 13th decorated according to the theme and you would never recognize it as a community Center. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on line or check our website for a location near you. Stay at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and get tickets to the festival for half price.
Come for the weekend and we have a great package for you! December 12th Cavallos Restaurant will be preparing a 4 course Wine Dinner from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The dinner includes wines from Stoney Mesa Winery with each course and samplings of what you will experience the next night at the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival. December 13th is the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival! The Wright Opera House in Ouray will be showing “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a Radio Drama on December 14th at 3:00 pm, performed by locals. The entire weekend of activities is $140 for 2 plus your room rate. Follow Winterfest on Facebook for all the happenings in Ouray this winter.
About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and braun of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.