The deconstruction of the buildings at the corner of Capitol and Highway 6 in Eagle has recently continued with warmer weather. Of these structures, the largest building has been a part of the Town of Eagle’s history since 1893, when Charley Nogal started a small hotel business. By 1894, this imposing structure was a thriving hotel for travelers and railroad workers.
Charley (Charles Frederick) Nogal was born in ohio in 1855, one of thirteen children. He joined the westward movement in 1871, ending up in Cedarvale, Kansas. He married a local girl, Rosetta Metheney in 1880, and son Edgar came along a year later. The Nogals were hospitable to travelers passing through, sometimes offering lodging, and it was in this manner that Charley met H. A. Hockett and his son. Hockett was one of the first homesteaders in the Eagle Valley and it was his description of the Eagle Valley weather that inspired Charley to move to Colorado. They arrived at Red Cliff, Colorado, by train, on March 20, 1885, there hiring a mule to carry Edgar and Rose, again pregnant. It was snowing so they borrowed a buckboard when they reached Minturn and made it as far as Squaw Creek that night. The next day, they arrived at Castle (before the name changed to Eagle) and stayed with the Hocketts.
By September 1885, and after the birth of Arthur Ernest Nogal, the family located on what would be the Nogal Ranch, just northeast of what would be the town, and built a cabin. That first winter, the family lived on game and not much else. In 1886, a stage route was established that went past the Nogal cabin, so Charley put up a tent building with some beds. Two stage routes and the railroad crews paid to stay here and Mrs. Nogal spent many nights cooking for everyone’s breakfast. Their business thrived. The first train came through Castle in 1887, the station being named Rio Aquilla. By 1889, Nogal had bought a block of land in the township and set up a store, at first in a tent, the supplies coming from Leadville. He was appointed postmaster and the town began to grow. Nogal continued to ranch and perform his postmaster duties but also saw the need for a hotel, starting this business in a small cabin.
“This was in 1893, and by the next year a handsome building was constructed. This occupation proved successful and for ten years Nogal was a hotel keeper. The clearing work on the ranch continued and by the time he sold his hotel, shortly after the turn of the century, ranching appeared to hold the best future for him and his family.” [“Nogals and the Town of Eagle,” by D. A. Zarlengo, in The Colorado Magazine, No. 4, 1944] Otis Ping bought the property in 1923. “The Pings branched out the commercial aspects of the building by adding two wings out back and some detached motel units….the Pings installed a gas station at the hotel, featuring a glass-bubble pump. One of the Pings’ sons, Leonard, once operated a photography lab in the building.” [“The Town of Eagle Then and Now,” by Kathy Heicher, Eagle Valley Enterprise, Dec. 25, 2003 p.1] The Town of Eagle is losing an iconic building, one that any traveler to Eagle in the last century would recognize. As it goes down, it’s good to remember Charley and Rose Nogal and their dedication to a new life in the west.