Kitty Heit
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Drawing of Kitty Heit outside the Saint Elmo Hotel
Picture by Rhiannon Keiser

Kitty Heit was unique because she owned businesses early in Ouray history. Kitty O’Brien Porter came to Ouray with her son Freddy in 1886. She opened the Bon Ton Restaurant. It was a very popular restaurant. The restaurant was where the patio is now located. In 1889 Kitty married Joseph Heit. He was a successful electrician. In 1903, Kitty adopted a little boy named Frances and gave him last named Heit. In 1893, the silver crisis made the price of silver drop which made many people lose their jobs. Kitty opened sleeping rooms for free for the miners. For this they loved her.

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Saint Elmo's Hotel, present day
Picture by John Paul Preston
Kitty Heit died in 1915, and the town’s people were very sad to lose such a generous woman. The St. Elmo Hotel and the Bon Ton Restaurant are still in business today, thanks to Kitty Heit.

by John Paul Preston and Rhiannon Keiser

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