Western Hotel earns nod from state history board
Glenwood Springs’ storied Western Hotel has earned a favorable recommendation from the Colorado Historic Preservation Review Board to be included on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The Review Board unanimously recommended that the Western Hotel be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for final consideration … for its commercial history,” Heather Peterson, national and state historian for the state’s Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, said Friday.
The review board, meeting Friday in Denver, considered the Western Hotel application under two criteria — for its commercial history and for its association with significant individuals in Glenwood Springs’ history.
The former boarding house, which served as a saloon and restaurant around the turn of the 20th century, was recommended for its commercial history. The recommendation will not include its early association with the Bosco family, Peterson said.
The recommendation now goes to the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, for final consideration.
If approved, the Western Hotel, at 716 Cooper Ave., would join such Glenwood Springs landmarks as the Hotel Colorado, Citizens National Bank Building, the Edward T. Taylor House and the Starr Manor on the national register.
The hotel has been owned by 105-year-old Ida Toniolli and her children for the past several years. In 1939, she and her late husband John Toniolli purchased the hotel from Mike Bosco, part of the family that owned the Hotel Denver and eventually the Hot Springs Pool.
Bosco ran the hotel as the “Bosco Rooms” for a period of time in the early 1920s before it became known as the Western Hotel in 1925.
“Working-class hotels are often overshadowed in a town’s lodging history by the larger, more prominent and elaborate hotels, which was the case in Glenwood Springs,” according to the city of Glenwood Springs application requesting that the Western be added to the register.
The Western was constructed as a one-story brick building in 1888 that was occupied by a restaurant. A middle two-story brick section was added sometime between 1904 and 1907, followed by a second story over the original structure sometime between then and 1912, according to the historical account.
Another two-story rear section was then built around 1945, and in 1951 the first-floor main facade was renovated to provide a more modern feel, and the wooden sign that still sits above the front entryway was added in 1985, it said.
The Toniolli family also lived in the owner’s quarters located on the south end of the first floor.
Use of the second story prior to 1912 is unknown, although speculation is that it may have been part of Glenwood Springs’ famed brothel district.
Ida Toniolli continued to own and operate the hotel after husband John’s death in 1980, up until 2012 when she retired at the age of 101.
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