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”

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”

To Landmark or Not to Landmark: That Was the Question

History Colorado volunteer blogger Brian Cooke discusses the benefits of having his home recognized as a local landmark.

The decision to landmark our house in Fort Collins’ historic Old Town neighborhood didn’t come easily. It was about six years ago: My wife and I had recently moved to Colorado from an apartment on a busy street in San Francisco, and we were looking forward to owning our first house together—with as few complications as possible.

We had found a hundred-year-old American Foursquare-style house, also known as a “Denver Square” due to the style’s popularity in the Denver area from 1895 to 1930. The house was spacious, open, and located right where we wanted to live. It even had a bit of history: The first owners were a popular local college professor and the daughter of a pioneering Fort Collins family.

Continue reading “To Landmark or Not to Landmark: That Was the Question”

Decking the Halls at Hotel Colorado

The Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs is a place where holiday tradition and history meet, year after year.

In late November, Caitlin and Megan from History Colorado Preservation Programs took part in a special holiday tradition—decorating the Hotel Colorado for the holiday season. This was Megan’s eighth year as a volunteer, and Caitlin’s first. They joined almost 40 other volunteers to help bring holiday cheer to the historic hotel. The annual decoration of the hotel is a 26-year tradition, and many volunteers have been a part of the effort for 10 years or more. Janet Koelling and Kerry Koepping of Creative Dimensions spearheaded and organized the event. Continue reading “Decking the Halls at Hotel Colorado”

National American Indian Heritage Month and Veterans’ Day

The National Register of Historic Places and Colorado State Register of Historic Properties are  tools that recognize National American Indian Heritage Month and Veterans’ Day, both celebrated in November. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. The Colorado State Register of Historic Properties is a listing of the state’s significant cultural resources worthy of preservation for the future education and enjoyment of Colorado’s residents and visitors.  Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places are automatically placed in the Colorado State Register.  They may also be nominated separately to the Colorado State Register without inclusion in the National Register.

Ute Memorial Site

Montrose, Montrose County


Listed in the National Register in 1970, the property encompasses part of pasture land once homesteaded by Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta beginning in 1875.  While at times controversial, Chief Ouray played a significant role in attempts to peacefully navigate the adversity facing the Ute people.  The Daughters of the American Revolution first established a memorial at the site in 1924, building a concrete tipi over Chipeta Spring. Chipeta’s body was relocated from Utah to the site in 1925 with a procession reported to have been a mile long. Her brother, Chief John McCook, is buried next to her. In 1947, the Colorado Historical Society (now History Colorado) commissioned landscape architect Saco Rienk DeBoer and Smith and Hegner Architects to design a museum and grounds. The Museum opened to the public in 1956 and is currently being expanded in consultation with all three Ute tribes. For more information, visit: http://www.historycolorado.org/museums/ute-museum-renovation Continue reading “National American Indian Heritage Month and Veterans’ Day”