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Hotel Rates in the Old Days
Whenever you buy or inherit a place in our mountains, you get much more than a cabin. You get all the things, good and bad, that have accumulated over the years. Sometimes it’s a wonderful stove, or a collection of Geographics, or old books or newspapers.
One of the things that came with my house was the RMNP booklet for the year 1933. Today, when you pay $5.00 to get into the Park, you get a single page, folded so it looks like a brochure. In 1933 you got into the Park free and they gave you a 45 page booklet which not only told you how to get to the Park and all about various hikes, the geology, flowers, and the like, it also had a heading for Various Diversions such as golf and croquet, plus a two color map of all the National Parks.
For those of us in the Allenspark area the booklet gives us just a glimpse of the lodgings available in what was called the “Allens Park District.”
First, there was the Copeland Lake Lodge, H.R. Finn, proprietor, Capacity, 200 guests. That’s all there is. no prices, no description of various diversions. It’s one of the few such barren listings in the booklet. Crystal Springs Lodge, on the other hand, with Mr. Wm. Morgan, proprietress, shows a capacity of 40 guests (one wonders where). “General store in connection.” Board and room, per day: $3.00-$3.50.
It sounds ridiculous, of course, but the fact is that the most expensive accommodations in the area were, as you might have guessed, at the Stanley, where you could, if you were a big spender, plunk down as much as $10.00 for both room and board. Longs Peak Inn, then run by Mrs. Enos Mills, was not far behind, charging as much as $9.00 a day, with weekly and monthly rates available “on application.” Probably the monthly rate was about $200, including all meals.
Even more startling than the room rates, however, are the tours that were available. Tour #5 was a six day affair: “All expense, including automobile transportation, meals and lodging at the Rocky Mountain Lodges, Inc. Automobile transportation from Denver via the Big Thompson, across Trail Ridge, to Berthoud Pass, Idaho Springs, Lookout Mountain and Golden and thence to Denver, with a side trip to Bear Lake with 16 meals and 5 nights’ lodging, as follows:
First day: Luncheon, dinner and lodging at Estes Park Chalets. [The Chalets was a huge lodge just south of Mary’s Lake which easily accommodated 280 guests. It was often devastated by fire. Only a small remnant remains today]
Second day: At Estes Park Chalets — side trip to scenic Bear Lake.
Third day: At Estes Park Chalets
Fourth day: Breakfast as Estes Park Chalets. Luncheon and dinner at Grand Lake Lodge (single room, hot and cold running water and toilet, including meals, $6.00)
Fifth day: At Grand Lake Lodge.
Sixth day: Breakfast at Grand Lake Lodge, Luncheon at Placer Inn, Idaho Springs.”
That last day was a killer. And the bill for this Grand Tour? Forty-one dollars. It was a lot of money in 1933.
Still, one could long for the good old days, when there was a Bear Lake Lodge, and a Fern Lake Lodge, where you could rent a tent, by the week, with meals, for $25.00, or hike up to the Boulder Field Cabin and stay the night for $2.00 and buy breakfast for $1.00, Lunch or dinner for $1.50, and coffee, tea or cocoa for 25¢. You could also feed your horse. 50¢ per feed, please. And a guide up the North Face would cost you $2.00. For the West Face, or Keyhole route, the party limit was 4, and the cost was a whopping $15.00.
But friends, I have news for you. These are the good old days. Our children and their children will recall the good old days, when there was this lodge and that lodge, and when land sold for only $1000 an acre.
Names like the Brinwood, Forest Inn, Lester’s Hotel, the Lewiston Hotel, The Fall River Lodge, Cascade Lodge, Stead’s, the Columbines Lodge, the Hewes-Kirkwood Inn, Windvale Ranch, Mountainside Lodge, Phantom Valley Ranch, the Pine Cone Inn, the Rapids Hotel are now just dim memories in the minds of the very elderly. Soon, they will be just names in the yellowing pages of old newspapers and booklets.
Still, what’s important is what happened at those places, the good and bad times that made the lives of the visitors more interesting and complex, that changed their lives and the lives of those that came after them.
Eventually, people will be writing about us, and what we did here. Let’s hope their recollections will be fond ones.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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