A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 574

One of the first buildings on Elkhorn Avenue in Estes Park, CO. was built in 1905 – 1906 by Samuel Service. Service, a native of Ireland’s County Antrim, came to Estes Park from nearby Lyons, CO., where he had owned a grocery business and quarry and served as mayor.

Service had previously purchased the William T. Park General Store located on Elkhorn Avenue, which was the first business to be open year-round. With success in hand he decided to expand and when the opportunity to relocate to a larger property was available he moved to the corner of Elkhorn Avenue and Virginia Drive.

The Sam Service Store, recognized for its frescoed front and sign “Sam’l Service General Merchandise” painted across the roof, provided the focal point for the Estes Park business district for more than two decades.

Many locals favored the business because it also served as the local gathering spot, especially in the cold winter months and the pot-bellied stove inside was more than appealing.

Sam Service operated his business until 1928. Over the years it was renamed “Honor Brite Grocery Store” and became the first Safeway location in Estes Park in 1938.

More recently the business became known as “The Coffee Bar”, and like Service’s business, it was a local favorite.

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A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 572

Visitors to Estes Park may pause and notice the stone ruins on the knoll behind and above The Municipal Building on Elkhorn Avenue. Curious travelers may want to explore the ruins and are allowed to do so.

The stone structure was once the home of journalist Al Birch, who visited Estes Park in 1902, when he was twenty years old. With two other visitors to the area he worked to help cut a trail to Bear Lake, in Rocky Mountain National Park. During his stay he decided to make Estes Park his summer home, and proceeded to build his home on the knoll, which was completed in 1907. Mr. Birch called the resulting structure “Jacob’s Ladder” because when sunlight refracted through the leaded-glass front door it reminded him of Joseph’s biblical coat of many colors.

Estes Park stonemason Carl Piltz was engaged to do the stonework for the house, and would gain fame for the many fireplaces he built throughout Estes Park. Despite his work the building had problems unknown to Piltz or Birch: The carpenter contracted to do the interior work ran floor joists under the fireplace with only four inches of cement above the timbers. In December 1907 the joists, heated by the firebox, caught fire, destroying the house.

The house known as “Jacob’s Ladder” was not rebuilt because Birch could not justify the expense. Despite the ruin condition it remains a historic and visible landmark in the community, and is a favorite of visitors to the adjacent twenty-acre property now called “Knoll – Willows”, where a nature tail connects the ruins to a small parking lot located across from The Stanley Hotel. Additionally, The Estes Park Valley Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the land, ensuring future protection for the natural beauty and the wildlife which resides on the property.

After the destructive fire Al Birch built another summer home on the property, below the cliff, on Black Canyon Creek. Conventional, it has been preserved and expresses an example of mountain resort architecture.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 570

The Stanley Power Plant in Estes Park, CO. has had an important role in the development of the village and its infrastructure, and has also contributed to the tourism trade.

Built in 1909 by F.O. Stanley for The Stanley Hotel, which was marketed as “all electric”, The Stanley Power Plant was enlarged several times over the three decades following its construction. Initially there was one generator powered by a waterwheel. Water to drive the turbine was provided by a pipe leading from an intake on the north bank of Fall River, at Cascade Lake, approximately 5,300 feet upriver of the plant, and descended more than 400 feet to the plant. Mr. Stanley constructed a wood-frame building to protect the unit from the elements, and that remains the core of the current structure.

Nearby another housing facility was built for the plant’s operator. The total cost of the plant and the equipment was just under $70,000.

Despite the opportunity it offered through technology it had problems from its beginnings. For example, Fall River could not provide enough water year-round to meet the rising demand for electricity. In 1921, in an attempt to improve the capacity, a second generator and turbine were installed in a room which had been added to the northwest side of the original building. In 1931, when a third unit – a diesel engine and a generator – were added the building was expanded in the form of a 28-by-15 foot addition to the west, resulting in the structure that exists today. In 1938 a fourth unit consisting of a diesel engine and generator was added to the operations.

In 1928 the Public Service Company of Colorado purchased the plant, and in 1945 the Town of Estes Park acquired the property.

The Stanley Power Plant operated until the morning of July 15, 1982, when the flood waters from the breached dam at Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park overwhelmed it. A wall inside the plant that remains for visitors, stopped working when the disaster occurred. Like The Estes Park Fish Hatchery The Stanley Power Plant ceased operation because of the disaster. Despite the outcome the Town of Estes Park and the Colorado State Historical Fund have worked to restore the buildings for visitors. Today it is part of the Estes Park Museum holdings, offering tours and information about hydropower and the history of the plant within the history of Estes Park.

The Stanley Power Plant is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 568

The original Estes Park Fish Hatchery was built in the spring of 1907. A community effort intended to promote tourism, the hatchery a success because of the support by the Estes Park Protective and Improvement Association, the donation of land by rancher Pieter Hondius, the location near the Fall River, and the efforts of the superintendent Gaylord Thomson. Like The Stanley Power Plant it was located on the road leading into Horseshoe Park inside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

In 1909 a cottage was built for Thomson and his family. Four sizing ponds were also added to the hatchery. In 1928 – 1929 the State of Colorado, operating the facility, removed the old building, built a new building twice the size of the previous one, and added concrete nursing and sizing ponds to the east side of the facility.

The Estes Park Fish Hatchery operated until 1982, when flood waters from the ruptured dam at Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lawn Lake destroyed the property.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 566

The original Estes Park Fish Hatchery was built in the spring of 1907. A community effort intended to promote tourism, the hatchery a success because of the support by the Estes Park Protective and Improvement Association, the donation of land by rancher Pieter Hondius, the location near the Fall River, and the efforts of the superintendent Gaylord Thomson. Like The Stanley Power Plant it was located on the road leading into Horseshoe Park inside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 564

In the summer of 1903 Freeland O. Stanley arrived to the Estes Valley with a burden: He had tuberculosis, and had come to the higher elevation in an attempt to recover. Before the season was over he was improved. He and his wife, Flora, decided to return and purchased 8.4 acres where they built a summer home in an area called “Rockside”, which was located north of the future village of Estes Park, CO. The choice in the setting was almost without equal: A sloping hillside that faced Longs Peak and the Front Range.

The “cottage” that was constructed was 5,240 square feet, and would be the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley for the next thirty-six years.

The house reflected Mr. Stanley’s interest in architecture: It features a high foundation, imposing entrance, Doric columns, and a Georgian Colonial Revival style as The Stanley Hotel, built five years.

In time Mr. Stanley also built a two-story carriage house that included a garage and a workshop. The garage was noteworthy because it featured a built-in turntable that saved Mr. Stanley the effort of having to back out of the garage.

The lower level of the carriage house provided an area for the billiard table – the only form of recreation that Mr. Stanley pursued.

Behind the house, off the rear porch, there was a path that navigated boulders to a level outcropping when Mr. Stanley meditated or played his violin.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 562

In the summer of 1903 Freeland O. Stanley arrived to the Estes Valley with a burden: He had tuberculosis, and had come to the higher elevation in an attempt to recover. Before the season was over he was improved. He and his wife, Flora, decided to return and purchased 8.4 acres where they built a summer home in an area called “Rockside”, which was located north of the future village of Estes Park, CO. The choice in the setting was almost without equal: A sloping hillside that faced Longs Peak and the Front Range.

The “cottage” that was constructed was 5,240 square feet, and would be the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley for the next thirty-six years.

The house reflected Mr. Stanley’s interest in architecture: It features a high foundation, imposing entrance, Doric columns, and a Georgian Colonial Revival style as The Stanley Hotel, built five years.