Alfred Armstrong’s two story residence was built in 1893 on the north side of Third Avenue. Today it is the foundation of the Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs. In 1901, Alf Armstrong purchased four lots for one thousand five hundred dollars. He began our history on one of them. He was one of Ouray’s lucky few to find fortune in the mines. Frank Sanders and George R. Hurlburt, were two others involved in discovering what is now known as the Bachelor Mine. The mine was named this because all three men were bachelors.
Orpha Hayden, who was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1872, left Denver to Ouray to marry Alf Armstrong in 1897.
They later had three children, George, Mary and Alfred Jr., who died at age eleven.
Alfred died, leaving his wife in 1923. His wife would later pass on in 1925, leaving the residence to her son George Armstrong. George’s wife Vivian took possession of the property after George died in 1954.
A purchase of a large amount of land was made on the south side of Third Avenue in 1913, by Bessie and Richard Cougar, who built and ran the Cougar Sanitarium. The sanitarium attracted people from all over, due to the fact it used the natural hot springs which was known for its curative powers.
Richard Cougar passed away in 1920 at the age of eighty years old, and was buried in Cedar Hills Cemetery. He left behind his wife. Who at the age of sixty, expanded on the property. Now from Second Street to the Rice Lumber Factory.
Bessie Cougar had remarried in December 1920 to Chauncey Mills, who was the foreman of the Ashenfelter barn.
It was year later that Bessier placed a manager at the sanitarium, after which her and her husband moved Uncompahgre Valley. In 1927 Bessie and her husband returned to Cougar Sanitarium with plans to sell. In 1929, Charles W. Kent became the owner of thirty-five acres which included underground streams. Charles changed the name from Cougar Sanitarium to Sweetskin Sanitarium.
The trend of cabins soon ran through Ouray in 1939, ten years after Charles Kent purchase of the sanitarium. Six cabins we built on the south side of Third Avenue. Due to the Great Depression, Kent’s plans of building more cabins and a swimming pool enclosed in glass were curtailed. The economic state of the town was not what it once was. Kent was forced to sell in 1946 to the Idarado Mining Company. The new name for the property was Crystal Court Bathhouses. They were rented to miners by the Idarado Mining Company.
In March 15, 1960, Eugene and Velma Tankersley bought the four lots from the Idarado Mining Company and Armstrong’s two story house from Vivian Armstrong. A small house sat on the west side facing Second Street, which would be where the Tankersly’s lived.
The Twin Peaks Motel became a Best Western® in 1968, and since then has won several awards, from the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The movie True Grit was filmed in Ouray County, in 1969. During filming, John Wayne was a guest of the Best Western® Twin Peaks, and stayed throughout the filming of the movie.
The Tankersley’s, removed the garage which was on the west side of the house to build an “A” frame building, used as the office for the motel. The addition of twelve new cabins on the west side of the property was done mostly by Eugene Tankersley, who was a carpenter and engineer.
Also, they added a swimming pool which uses hot springs water to stay heated. It is surrounded with a glass enclosure, just as Charles Kent wanted it. The Tankerslys etched in glass, their representation of the Twin Peaks. It depicts the famous Twin Peaks with an elk facing inward on each side.
After eighteen years of ownership, the property was now known as the Twin Peaks Motel, the Tankersley’s sold the property October 13, 1978 to Robert and Sylvia Madura. They moved from Estes Park, Colorado to Ouray with Dan, Larry and Janet, their three children. The Madura’s put in eight more units on the property, at this point in the history of the hotel there are a total of fifty five units. In 1981, Another “A” frame building with an indoor hot springs jacuzzi was built. It remains today attached the south side of the two story house.
The start of Jeep rentals, in 1982 and jeep tours, in 1984 were started by Robert and Sylvia Madura. Jeeps were rented to drive through the jeep trails, which is still done today.
The Madura’s sold the motel on March 18, 1991, to Michael and Wendy Bazin and Bette Maurer from Illinois. The Bazin’s moved to Ouray with their two children, Todd and Abigail.
In 2005, the hotel was sold to Alpenglow Properties. Today the hotel is managed by Ryan Hein, as General Manager, who has worked in upgrading the property since the purchase. Many amenities have been updated and added for our guests, amenities such as; comfortable pillow top mattress, tiki bar, guest computers, breakfast room, the list continues.
In 2010, this property was evaluated due to Best Western’s® new hotel category system. During this process we were instantly upgraded to the name, Best Western® Plus Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs.
2013 – To better assist our guests, General Manager Ryan Hein expressed that we were moving in a different direction than the Best Western® franchise intended. “We know how to serve our guests and what they require while staying at our hotel. We have joined other independent lodges in town to preserve the spirit of Ouray. Many amenities are planned to be added and we are excited to see the new additions in the years to come.”
2013 – Indoor hot springs renovations. The mineral hot springs rise from deep under the earth. It reaches the surface at a temperature of 156 degrees. We add cold spring water to cool the mineral waters to a safe temperature. Perhaps a few of the reasons these waters were held sacred by the Ute Indians was the wide variety of minerals thought to be rejuvenating and the mineral water’s low sulfur content. Giving it a fresher, cleaner smell rather than what is found in most mineral springs.