The historic Strater Hotel (1887) began as a dream for young, inexperienced 20-year old Henry H. Strater. He convinced his father, Anton Strater, of Cleveland, Ohio to invest in a new hotel in the West, and Henry's dream was realized in 1887. The "Strater House," was completed at a cost of $70,000, an extravagant figure at that time.
Henry leased the operation to H.L. Rice. Misunderstandings occurred, so out of spite to Rice, in 1893, Henry and his brothers converted the new, mode Columbian Hotel from their existing paint and oil shop (which was next to the Strater).
In 1895 the "Silver Panic" hit the United States, and Strater lost both hotels. The Bank of Cleveland operated both hotels as one, then in 1902, sold both to Charles E. Stilwell and Hattie Mashburn. By 1926,the hotel needed renovation. A group of local businessmen, including Earl Barker, Sr., obtained the hotel, updating it and refurnishing the rooms. In 1938, the "Back Forty" rooms were added to the west side of the original building.
Earl A. Barker, Sr. bought out the partners in 1953, making the hotel a one-family operation. The Strater stands today as a testimony to the love of three generations of Barker family for Durango and the renowned hotel. In 1957, when Earl Barker, Jr. turned the CO Employment office into the Diamond Belle Saloon, other downtown businesses followed suit with Victorian decor. In 1963, Earl and wife, Jentra, bought the first antique bedroom suite for a guestroom, leading to the Strater's housing the nation's largest collection of American Victorian-era walnut furniture. Since 1983, son, Rod Barker, has
continued the family tradition as third generation president and award-winning designer of ongoing renovations. Today, the Strater houses 93 impeccably appointed Victorian rooms, and no two are alike. Bradbury & Brabury hand-stenciled art wallpapers, spectacular woodwork created by the Strater's own craftsmen, yards of plush velvet draperies, and beautiful carpets.
Visit Strater.com or call 800-247-4431. Provided by The historic Strater Hotel, 699 Main Avenue, Durango, Colorado 81301