The Rio Grande Southern Hotel is one of the original buildings in Dolores and is the oldest continuous running business house in Dolores, operating from 1893 to the present. If walls could talk, the hotel could tell us some great tales, from the range and Indian wars and stock drives, to booms and busts in the mining camps, to adventures of passengers and crews on the railroad. It has seen a number of owners and many changes over the years. The hotel is currently owned and operated by Susi Sieber.
The Southern Hotel was originally started as a boarding house for the railroad people. The coming of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad on January, 1892, made the hotel a necessity in town. Within a few years, Dolores was one of the major stopping points between Rico and Durango, and the need for a boarding house and hotel was clear.
The train arrived from Durango about noon for a stopover for lunch, and the hotel soon became a major gathering place for people on the railroad and the local residents. The afternoon train from Durango arrived around 8 pm, and it was necessary for passengers to stay overnight.
The only accommodation was The Southern Hotel. It also played a major role in the community as one of the ﬁrst employers of the area. Major social gatherings took place here, too. Since there was no newspaper in Dolores between 1892 and 1897, the locals depended on the travelers to bring them news from Denver, Washington D.C., and other areas outside of town. They gathered at the Southern Hotel to listen and talk to those who were from points afar.
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