The Como Eating House & Hotel, Como Depot, and Como Roundhouse are all on the National Register of Historic Places. Our recent visit to Como, Colorado far exceeded our wildest expectations! David, the owner of the Como Hotel, and his best pal, Shadow, were incredible hosts. We stayed with them for three days and two nights and had an unforgettable time. David possesses a wealth of historical information on the area, and Shadow is the friendliest dog – huge dog – you’ll ever meet. In addition to hiking, eating, and touring through South Park’s rich past, the true highlight of our stay was getting a private tour of the Como Hotel and the adjacent Como Depot and Como Roundhouse.
Como Eating House and Hotel
The original Como Hotel (a substantially larger building than the one that exists today) burned to the ground in 1896. The Como Hotel (known to locals as the Como Eating House) was rebuilt in the summer of 1897. It was one of two buildings constructed for the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad. The railroad carried passengers into Como until the last train left the station in 1937. In 1978, the restaurant was reopened and started bringing people back into the area. The restaurant is not open today, but rooms are available and can be booked through Air BnB. If you stay at the Como Hotel, be prepared to either bring your own food or travel into Fairplay. One great option in Fairplay is Millonzi’s Restaurant. In addition to visiting Millonzi’s and the local brewery, we brought our Coleman two-burner camping stove and made a couple meals during our visit.
Como Railroad Depot
The Como Railroad Depot is one of a handful of structures in Como that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located immediately next to the Como Hotel. The Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad reached Como in 1879. The Depot was likely built a couple months earlier. The railroad line went from Como and traveled over Boreas Pass to Breckenridge. It eventually went into Leadville. Como remained vital for decades due to consistent railroad traffic. The Como Depot is currently used as a museum/visitor center. It was recently restored, and efforts continue to revitalize its once famed glory.
The Como Roundhouse is a round structure built around a turntable of railroad track. Originally constructed in 1881 by Italian stonemasons, the six-bay Como Roundhouse sheltered locomotives that trudged their way up and down Boreas Pass. At one time, the roundhouse actually consisted of 19 bays. The roundhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. There is a roadside exhibit at the south end of Como that provides information about the structure and the area. The roundhouse is only open for special tours, but you can tour it as part of Boreas Pass Railroad Day (typically held in mid-August).
For anyone going from Como to Boreas Pass on the old railroad grade, now a bike trail and road, the origin of some of the material used to construct the roundhouse is easy to see: the route climbs for miles through sandstone up to Boreas Pass (eventually heading back down to Breckenridge on the other side of the pass). To see the source of the sandstone, you have to head north out of Como toward Boreas Pass but veer left at Tarryall Creek where a slope of sandstone talus can be found along North Tarryall Creek. The Como Roundhouse was the product of local geography, at a strategic location below Boreas Pass, and local geology, with its local stone, and the hard work of stonemasons from Italy who left behind a charming building and the name of Como.