The History of Hotel Columbia

The Hotel Columbia was originally built in 1994. Its handsome brick facade quickly became a landmark that boasted the best location of any Telluride hotel. In 2007, three local families banded together, purchased the property, and completely renovated the interior of the hotel. The freshly refurbished Hotel Columbia re-opened for the 2009 ski season.

The vision of Hotel Columbia’s new owners is to offer its guests a higher level of luxury and service. Proud to be Telluride locals, the Hotel Columbia owners and staff provide an “insider’s view” through superior concierge services. The advantage to you is that our local expertise will make your vacation a truly memorable one. During your stay, get ready to be treated like royalty. You’ll be planning a return trip to Hotel Columbia before you even leave!

Hotel Columbia pays tribute to Telluride’s colorful history while providing the opportunity for you to experience the beauty and convenience of modern-day Telluride. Our Telluride luxury hotel wishes your stay is as memorable as our town’s vibrant past!

History of Telluride (and how Hotel Columbia got its name).

In 1875, veins of gold and silver were discovered in the mountains surrounding present-day Telluride. After that, the rush was on. Three years later, the town “Columbia” was founded. Because another town in California already had the same name, which caused problems with the postal service, “Columbia, Colorado” was changed to “Telluride.”

Many proclaim that the new name was derived from the word “tellurium,” a semi-metallic element found in the vicinity of gold-bearing ore. Others say the town was named after “to hell you ride,” a castaway call from loved ones bidding farewell to those crazy enough to seek their fortunes in the 14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains.

This thriving mining camp had a population of 5,000 by the turn of the century, but prosperity and fortune soon busted. Mining became obsolete with the devaluation of gold and silver, and Telluride’s community whittled down to 500 by 1930.

Boom and bust years followed with the rise and fall of mineral prices. Mining was Telluride’s only industry through 1972 until a Californian, Joe Zoline, came to town. He developed a ski area with five lifts, a day lodge, and a shuttle from town to the slopes. In 1975, the Coonskin Lift was installed, which linked the town of Telluride to skiing access. Telluride soon experienced its second boom with the development of the Telluride Ski Resort. Today, the ski area encompasses over 1700 acres with 17 lifts, 92 trails, and a vertical drop in excess of 3,500 feet.

Telluride was designated a National Historic District in 1964. The most famous historical event occurred in 1889 when Butch Cassidy robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank. His first major recorded crime netted him almost $25,000. Telluride is also home of Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado’s longest free-falling waterfall.