CREEDE — Creede Hotel and restaurant owner Shelly Dee received exciting news last week when History Colorado unanimously voted to place the historic hotel on the state registry for historic places and that it would also be considered for national historic designation.
Dee has spent the past two years bringing the old hotel back to life and through this process has made the Creede Hotel once again the heart of town.
“That was my goal when I set out to run this place. It has always been the heart of Creede, right from the very start and I wanted it to continue to be the heart. Bringing it back to life and now having it on the historic registry is really a dream come true,” said Dee.
The hotel has been part of Creede’s history from the beginning in 1892 when it was known as the Zang Hotel and Annex. According to the history provided by Dee and local historians, the hotel was built in Jimtown, one of the many small communities that sprang up during those first days of the silver boom. In June of that same year, most of Jimtown was lost to a fire including the hotel but the original proprietor had it rebuilt within two days.
Though a lot of work has gone into the preservation of the hotel throughout the years, it is receiving the most updated equipment and attention in its long life and the historical designation will open doors for even more work to be completed.
“We didn’t go for architectural designation and that will allow us a lot of wiggle room when we are looking for funding to restore the main building. We can keep it the blue and burgundy color scheme in the front that was chosen by local artist Steven Quiller and his color wheel. It's things like that that we want to protect, and this designation will help us do that,” said Dee.
Dee’s vision is slowly coming together as work is finalized on the new state-of-the-art kitchen that has been under construction for much of the summer.
“We are nearing the end of that project and we will be able to be open for most of the winter, but it has been a successful year while we worked out of Arp’s down the street. We will be very happy to be back in the hotel by the end of the month though,” laughed Dee.
One of the greatest joys for Dee was to welcome one of the previous owners that worked to restore the hotel from 1987 until she purchased it in the spring of 2021. In addition to the help, she received locally through contractors and the like, Dee worked with previous Deputy State Preservation Officer with History Colorado Timothy Stroh to apply for the historical designation.
“The nomination has been approved by the national designation historic review board at Colorado SHPO and will now be forwarded to the keeper at the national park service for final review. Basically, everything is looking very good, the application has been approved at the state level and now we wait for the national review,” stated Stroh. And according to Stroh, Dee’s chances are good.
If the hotel is approved for national designation, it will be the only building in Creede to receive the designation.
“It surprised me when I started this process the amount of detail and work that has to go into the application process, and I was also surprised to find out that we would be the only building in Creede with that designation. There is so much history here and I am happy to be able to give this to the town,” Dee said.
When Dee received word of the state designation, she also received news that the board would be considering the national designation as well.
“We are pleased to inform you that the Colorado Historic Preservation Review Board will consider the National Register of Historic Places and Colorado State Register of Historic Properties nomination for the Zang’s Hotel and Annex. The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government’s official list of historic properties worthy of preservation. The state register is Colorado’s official list of historic properties deserving preservation. Properties listed in the national register are automatically listed in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.”
Final word could come before the end of fall. Dee plans to use the designation to seek grant funding to continue her work on the preservation of the hotel.