Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 43: Guests Say Thank You to The Baldpate Inn

Poem penned in 1936

Over the years, The Baldpate Inn has been the recipient of many, many letters from guests who dined, stayed, or simply visited for the day, and wanted to share their gratitude. 

These letters make us smile, as it shows how positively impactful The Baldpate Inn was on each guest. 

When was the last time you wrote to a hotel staff to thank them for your lovely vacation, let alone in rhyming verse? Or invite them to dinner to meet your parents? 

It speaks volumes about the kindness, hospitality and genuine relationships that were, and remain to this day, at the heart of The Baldpate Inn. 

I love the simplicity of the address and the 1937 3-cent stamp

These days, there are just as many reasons to say “Thank you.” From an “out of this world breakfast” (I couldn’t agree more), to a spectacular wedding, it makes our day to receive these messages from appreciative guests.

Of course, these days, a letter is much more likely to come electronically, but the sentiment and message is still appreciated! 

Written by Liz Rodgers

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 42: Baldpate Horses and Livery

Horses have always enthralled me! As a young girl, I spent hours dreaming of riding horses. Staring out the car widow, I’d imagine the scenery rushing by was flying under me and my trusty steed. 

Where I dreamed of being 24/7

I have always enjoyed visiting The Baldpate Inn, and I’m still invariably drawn to the old black and white photos of the Baldpate horses and livery.  Who were these lucky folks beaming from the saddles? What trails did they ride and what stories could they tell?

Not much written history exists regarding the Baldpate Livery, especially during the earliest years, but we know it was an important part of life at the Inn. Horses were still a main method of transportation at the inception of the Inn, gradually replaced by automobiles. Although Baldpate no longer has stables, trail riding remains a popular attraction today with many stables in the area for our guests.

In the days of the Baldpate Livery, guests and tourists enjoyed trail rides into Rocky Mountain National Park, and up towards Longs Peak.

One of the most well-known characters associated with the stables was Chuck Malone. He ran the Baldpate Livery and guided tours for 20 years; our best estimate is that he started in the late 1920s. Chuck and his dog, Buster, kept things lively and entertaining, and often a bit on the wild side. Legends circulate of his fortune-telling penchant, and on occasion, riding horseback into the main Dining Room of the hotel! Chuck’s name and a Baldpate brand remain carved into the Wrangler cabin’s mantle

Care to have your fortune told?

This $1.00 lesson seems like the best buck you could spend for an adventure! 

Do you have a tale - tall or otherwise - of The Baldpate Livery or horses? Please tell us about it in the comments below! 

 Written by Liz Rodgers

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 41: Find Your Keys Day! (National Make Your Own Holiday Day)

In honor of today’s holiday, National Make Your Own Holiday Day, The Baldpate Inn would like to declare it “Find Your Keys Day!” Oh, the joy and relief that suddenly comes upon you as you at last discover those mysteriously deposited keys!

In a collection of over 30,000 keys, we can be quite certain that there are many keys here holding stories of joy at being found. Most stories of keys being found include the owner searching quite intently for them, and in fact The Baldpate Inn staff has assisted many people in finding the keys that they are searching for in the vast collection. Read the story of an amazing find in our previous blog, Six Degrees of Separation in the Seven Keys.

Here are two additional stories from our Key Collection that were quite unexpected.

Our first story from Innkeeper Lois, who recalls a woman visiting the Key Room for the first time, who initially seemed unimpressed by our Key Collection. Browsing the keys, she suddenly screamed! She had found a key that had belonged to her grandparents. She didn’t even know they had been to Colorado. The woman, now clearly fascinated with the collection, said it was like seeing a ghost from her past.

In this second story, The Baldpate staff were the ones who were surprised at the finding of a key of their own – 6o years after it had been lost! In 1952, young Timothy Johnson “borrowed” the key to Room 7 of The Baldpate Inn, while visiting with his family. He returned it 60 years later, finding the key to a clear conscious.

Imagine the stories and potential joy these keys hold! Could one of them be yours?

Do you have a story of a key lost and found? Perhaps one that now hangs in The Baldpate Inn’s famous collection? Please tell us about it!

Written by Liz Rodgers

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 40: What’s Left to Archive? Keys to Unlock The Baldpate Legacy

Baldpate really has a trifecta of collections: Keys, Photos, and our yet to be charted, Guest Registers from as early as 1918.  A long-term goal to help round out our history is to tie together the keys, the photos, and the guest registers.  So there is still lots more to do!

As our American History Savers volunteers worked to preserve and catalogue the boxes of “stuff” in the Baldpate's archives, they suggested we reach out to local historians for help as well. 

John Meissner was one of those generous people willing to research.  At one of our first meetings with John, he shared a huge inconsistency that he had discovered in our Baldpate story.  In 1938 Ethel had written in her book that Baldpate’s first year was 1917, so we had just assumed that as fact. What John had uncovered was clear documentation that the Main Lodge of our Inn was really not opened until 1918. It was one of those light bulb moments for me, since we did have all the original guest registers and the first was 1918!  Why that never clicked for me before, I don’t know!  

As we continued to dig, you can imagine our delight when we came across the very tattered Kansas City Star newspaper article that names our Homestead “Baldpate” and gives some understanding of Ethel’s 1917 claims. Although the main lodge did not open until 1918, the Mace’s were housing guests in “tourist cabins” in 1917.  

Guess I really should have been more discerning. I clearly remember the first winter after we had purchased the Inn, taking these treasured guest books home to look for names of royalty that might have visited Baldpate.

I did have to laugh at myself when reading the lists of names as I perked up when I found a Count – alas it was only “Count de Silverware,” but what was even more fun for me was to find the name of the “rich” people from the tiny farm town in southwestern Ohio where I grew up. 

Doodling is clearly not a new art form, as our guest books are packed with sketches and drawings, some by noted artists as well as some that were likely doodles of bored employees???  The margin of the Baldpate Inn register from August 1920 includes an impromptu Gaar Williams cartoon by the prominent American cartoonist.   Local artist Dave Stirling who works at the lodge, was a prolific contributor of sketching entries as well.

In recent years, our guest registers were real “keys” when trying to unravel the history and construction dates of our buildings. As room numbers were added, the registers told the history.

 It will definitely take more detective work, as really just the tip of the iceberg has been uncovered with the vast amount of information these books likely contain.

One can only imagine the truths that will be unveiled as we move forward to document these Baldpate guest registers in years to come.  

Written by Lois Smith