The first right after Goa Way: Exploring a stage station on the Overland Trail

The Overland Stage Station in Virginia Dale as it looks today. (Photo by Brian Cooke.)

by Brian Cooke, History Colorado blogger

On a lonely stretch of highway about 100 miles north of Denver, there’s a sign for a town where no town exists: Virginia Dale, Colorado. There’s a boarded-up post office, a tiny community church, and a Colorado historical site marker that may or may not catch your eye as you drive by on US Highway 287 at seventy-five miles an hour. Continue reading “The first right after Goa Way: Exploring a stage station on the Overland Trail”

A day trip to the Historic Park Theatre in Estes Park

by Brian Cooke, History Colorado blogger

One of the many advantages of living in Colorado is the easy access to Rocky Mountain National Park and its eastern “gateway” town, Estes Park. While Estes Park’s proximity to the National Park is certainly a major draw, there are many sights worth seeing in the downtown area, especially if you’re interested in a bit of history. Continue reading “A day trip to the Historic Park Theatre in Estes Park”

National Great Outdoors Month

East Longs Peak Trail, Estes Park vicinity, Boulder/Larimer Counties, listed in the National Register in 2007.

What better way to celebrate National Great Outdoors Month than to explore some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s National Register-listed trails? Many of the Park’s buildings, resources, and trails are historic.

The trail to the Longs Peak summit embodies National Park Service naturalistic design from the 1920s. Active use of the trail begin in 1873, when lodge owners began to maintain it as a tourist attraction. Enos Mills acted as a guide to the summit between 1900 and 1906, honing his skills as a lead spokesman in the effort to create Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915.

Continue reading “National Great Outdoors Month”

Keys to Historic Preservation: Estes Park’s Baldpate Inn

Imagine that your grandfather was a San Francisco ferryboat captain who transported the notorious gangster Al Capone to Alcatraz Island, and that, as a memento of the occasion, he quietly pocketed the key to Capone’s handcuffs. Now imagine that this small key—this tiny piece of history—stayed in your family for a few generations, until one day you got the idea that perhaps it should be rescued from your sock drawer and sent to a museum somewhere. But where should it go? Is there a museum for keys?

As a matter of fact, there is. And it’s in a mountainside inn near Rocky Mountain National Park.

Located near Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, the Baldpate Inn is one of thousands of locations that have benefited from History Colorado State Historical Fund Grants. (Photo courtesy of the Baldpate Inn.)

Continue reading “Keys to Historic Preservation: Estes Park’s Baldpate Inn”

Auto Record-Setter and Murderer’s Friend: Frank P. Loveland

Frank P. Loveland on the rocky summit of Mount Falcon. Denver Post, June 6, 1910.

The first automobile appeared in Louisville, Colorado in 1904. The year the first Denver resident bought a car is not known. But, the first trip by automobile from Morrison to the top of Mount Falcon, an elevation change of over 2,000 feet, took place in 1910.

The man who at age twenty-four accomplished this feat was Francis Percy “Frank” Loveland. He was a member of the social elite and of a prominent Colorado pioneer family (hint: Loveland Pass). Born in Denver on June 11, 1885, Frank attended East High School which was on Stout Street between 19th and 20th at the time. His parents sent him to Yale University, where he graduated in 1908. Continue reading “Auto Record-Setter and Murderer’s Friend: Frank P. Loveland”