Take a trip down memory lane with the historic durango hot springs
Trimble Hot Springs has been around for a long time. The Ancient Puebloan lived in this region between 1000-1200 AD, as nearby as just over the Hermosa Cliffs in Hidden Valley to the west of the springs. No one knows for certain why they abandoned their habitat, but it is thought that it was due to environmental factors, such as drought and dwindling resources.
The Animas Valley was a favorite hunting ground for the Ute People for many years beginning in the 1700s. Other tribes were able to pass through the area and have access to the healing waters, as well as the Utes.
In 1881, Frank Trimble borrowed $8,000 from T.D. Burns at the going rate of 18% annually. When Trimble was unable to repay the loan, Burns and his wife Josefa Gallegas Burns acquired the property to satisfy Trimble’s debt.
In 1896 T.D. Burns built the elegant Hermosa House, an impressive Victorian three-story brick building. Sadly, on July 30, 1931 the Hermosa House burned to the ground.
An Elegant Time it Was
In 1874 Frank Trimble and his wife Rufina moved into the area. He suffered from rheumatism and old wounds from the Indian Wars in Oregon. He began bathing in the waters at the springs and declared himself healed about a month later. In 1882 he built a two-story hotel with 14 guest rooms. In 1892 the first Trimble Hotel burned to the ground.
A look at the pool
In 1931 the Burns Family sold Trimble Springs to C.C. Christenson, M.E. Matheis and J.J.Mussen. Ninety thousand bricks from the Hermosa House were salvaged, cleaned and used to build the arched porches on a new building. The 5,000 square foot building was divided into a dining room with a dance floor and orchestra pit, a large kitchen and three tremendous fireplaces. The upstairs housed 16 sleeping rooms..
The New Style
In 1937 Dorothy Piccoli purchased Trimble Hot Springs. The Piccoli Family ran a popular nightclub that was packed every weekend. The Piccoli’s also brought exotic dancers and gambling to the area. During World War II Trimble Hot Springs closed down due the gas rationing.
After the war, Curt Owens purchased Trimble Hot Springs. Owens was an avid horse breeder and racer of quarter horses. He built a stable and renamed Trimble, “Trimble Hot Springs Resort and Dude Ranch”. During weekends he held rodeos and in the fall ran hunting camps from the resort.
In 1949 Curt Owens sold Trimble Hot Springs to Bill and Lily Duncan. Their daughter, Alta managed Trimble Hot Springs. Entertainment at Trimble included the weekend rodeos and bands. A high point of the 1950’s was when Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe stayed at Trimble while filming “Across the Wide Missouri”.
Girl in the Cowboy Hat
Then in 1957 Trimble’s main building again burned, leaving nothing more than rubble. Trimble was closed for nearly 30 years before Ruedi Bear, his wife Leith, and his mother, Martha Bar-Waldemeire, a Swiss businesswoman and hot springs aficionado, purchased the resort.
The fires that had destroyed the three previous establishments left remaining nothing more than charred rubble. Some people claim that Indians cursed the place. Ruedi invited elders from the Southern Ute Tribe to attend the opening ceremonies for the new Trimble Hot Springs. Tribal elders looked kindly upon the invitation and arrived with a delegation, including Tribal Chief and Chairman Leonard Burch and their spiritual leader, Eddie Box, Sr., who blessed the grounds in an ancient native ceremony.
The Bear Family owned and operated Trimble Springs until June 2006 when Trimble Hot Springs once again changed ownership. This time, businessman Patrick J. McIvor raised the funds to purchase Trimble by taking on a number of investors and forming a LLC.
Durango Hot Springs Today
Trimble Hot Springs and the surrounding property were acquired by new owners in 2019. The intent of the new owners as Durango Hot Springs Resort is to restore and improve the hot springs facilities and spa while embracing its history and colorful past. The renovation includes 22 mineral soaking pools, three that are family specific with one that connects to the swimming pool children’s area. There are also six smaller soaking tubs with user temperature control that are refiled after each use. The new 25-meter, salt-water resort style pool incorporates lap lanes with designated times for exercise, and training. The pool has a gradual slope to a 4.5’ depth with a total of 83,000 gallons of saltwater. The new design creates spaces for privacy while also being able to host families and small events. Attention to ADA accessibility is a large part of the design. There are 10 ADA accessible soaking pools located across the property with a zero-entry ramp on the swimming pool. Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa are truly a place to embrace your soul and revive your spirit.