A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 622

Following the establishing of Rocky Mountain National Park, and continuing for the next decade, visitors to the north part of the Kawuneeche Valley and Grand Lake, CO. often stayed at the tent resort located on the North Fork of the Colorado River, which was owned and operated by Robert L. Wheeler, also known as “Squeaky Bob” because of his falsetto voice.

“Camp Wheeler”, which also known as ‘Hotel de Hardscrabble’, was the destination of guide Shep Husted, who brought visitors across the Continental Divide, and reportedly counted among his charges was Theodore Roosevelt.

“Squeaky Bob” Wheeler came to Colorado in 1885 to visit his brother’s cattle ranch in North Park, CO., and decided to stay. In 1900, following service in the Spanish – American War and an attempt to strike it rich as a miner, he decided living on a 160-acre homestead was more to his liking. He acquired land on the west end of Milner Pass, where he trapped, ran cattle, and attempted to once more prospect. None of them satisfied him, and in 1908 he made a career change into the resort business.

His property featured not only his two-room log cabin but four tent houses. Initially he catered to hunters and fishermen, but found success with summer tourists. His success allowed him to build a total of twenty tent houses. But health issues required him to sell – which he did in 1926, for $24,000. The new owner renovated and enlarged the offerings, and added a new name: The Phantom Valley Ranch.

In the early 1960 The National Park Service acquired the property, removing all the buildings, and returning the site to meadowlands where elk and deer now graze.

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A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 620

The Moraine Park Visitor Center, in Rocky Mountain National Park, was once known as “The Moraine Lodge”. The Moraine Lodge began as the homestead of Mary Imogene Bates Greene, a native of Indiana and divorcee who decided to start over in the Estes Park area in August 1898. Following her arrival she paid two hundred dollars for a 160-acre tract of land that included a small cabin she named “Hillside”.

Following her marriage to William D. MacPherson, a Rocky Ford businessman, Mary decided in 1905 to enter the tourism trade. She expanded “Hillside” into what would be renamed “Moraine Park Lodge”. It officially opened in June 1910, and offered a main lodge and dining room, cabins, tent houses, and a horse stable.

In 1919 Mary was widowed, but she continued her business efforts. In 1923 she commissioned the building of a main lodge, which featured two stories, was constructed of logs and offered a tea room and a business office.

While visiting Los Angeles, CA. in 1928 “Mother MacPherson” was fatally injured. In 1932 The National Park Service acquired the property for $30,125. With the exception of the recreation hall all the buildings were demolished. The remaining structure was remodeled and reopened in 1937 as a museum, where visitors could learn about the basin of Moraine Park, carved by glaciers, and the human history within the national park. Additionally, using employees from the Civilian Conservation Corps, an amphitheater was built nearby, where more than two hundred visitors could gather to hear about the wonders and beauty that surrounded them.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 618

Visitors to Estes Park, CO. and visitors to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park may notice the rustic cabin that overlooks Moraine Park inside of Rocky Mountain National Park, but few may know the history of the one-bedroom, one-bath structure.

The summer retreat of Emporia, Kansas newspaper editor and author William Allen White, it owes its origins to a trip he took with fellow students from the University of Kansas to the area in the summer of 1889. The travelers were noteworthy because they included the future Major General “Fighting Fred” Funston and future Missouri Governor Herbert Hadley.

When Mr. White married he and his wife, Sallie Lindsay, returned to Moraine Park in 1893 for their honeymoon. In 1912, as the editor of the EMPORIA GAZETTE, he purchased the property that he would make his own. Built in the beginning of the twentieth century by Professor Arvin S. Olin of the University of Kansas, it quickly proved inadequate for the White family, and White remedied the matter by building two cabins – one for his son, Bill, and one for his daughter, Mary, along with a study for himself, roughly a hundred feet from the main house, where he was allowed privacy.

The summer retreat provided the family happiness until 1921 when his sixteen-year-old daughter died in a horse-riding accident in Emporia, KS.

Despite the grief and loss White and his family returned to Moraine Park for several years. In 1972 his son, “Young Bill”, William Lindsay White, made arrangements to sell the house, the property, and the contents of the house to the National Park Service. Today it serves as a house and studio for the Park Service’s Artist-in-Residence Program.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 616

The Longs Peak Inn and its predecessor, The Lambs Ranch, date to 1875, when Reverend Elkanah J. Lamb, his wife, Jane, and their son, Carlyle, homesteaded at the base of Longs Peak, near Estes Park, CO.

Elkanah Lamb had traveled to the Estes Park area four years earlier and stayed at Griff Evans’ ranch. While visiting he climbed Longs Peak. Taken by the beauty and the landscape he returned and built a twelve-by-fourteen foot cabin – the origins of what would become the Longs Peak House.

Enos A. Mills, whose father and Lamb were cousins, arrived to The Lambs Ranch in 1884, and the following year he built a small homestead cabin, which featured a tin roof on the lower slopes of nearby Twin Sisters Mountain.

In 1902 Mills bought The Lambs Ranch. In 1906 a fire destroyed the main lodge of The Longs Peak Inn – which was the name of the property following the acquisition by Mills. The ruined structure was rebuilt using trees felled by wind or fire. Mills also included gnarled roots and tree stumps in the construction.

In 1909 Enos A. Mills made The Longs Peak Inn the base of his operations for his six-year effort to create Rocky Mountain National Park. Following his death in 1922 the inn operations were assumed by his widow, Esther, who carried on his efforts and traditions.

The property was sold in March 1946. Just three years later the main building was again destroyed by fire. Today the remainder of the structures and the property are owned by The Salvation Army. The history created by Enos A. Mills remains in cabins and outbuildings on the property.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 614

The Hewes – Kirkwood Inn, in Estes Park, CO., started as “The Bleak House”, and was the cabin of Mary Kirkwood, the widowed mother of poet – novelist Charles Edwin Hewes and his brother, Steve.

In about 1907 the family homesteaded 960 acres in the Tahosa Valley, along present-day Highway 7, and operated an inn at the location for more than forty years.

The addition to Bleak House was done by the brothers in 1913. It included a kitchen and dining room, and seven cabins – four single and three double, and eight tent houses.

On July 4, 1914 The Hewes – Kirkwood Hotel Ranch and Store opened for business. Mary Kirkwood managed the dining room, assisted by her maid, Julia Morrissey, while Steve Hewes worked as a guide and entertained guests. Charlie Hewes worked as a jack-of-all-trades and bookkeeper.

In 1916 six more cabins were added as a well as a dining room with an eighteen foot high ceiling and a stone fireplace. The following year it became apparent the business was a success.

During The Great Depression and World War II Charlie Hewes managed the business. In 1945 he sold the ranch to Paul W. Nesbit, a former ranger and mountain guide, with the agreement and understanding that he and the maid would be allowed to live on the property. In 1947 Charlie Hewes passed.

In 1951 Beth Miller from Nebraska acquired the property and made the property over into The Rocky Ridge Music Center, a summer music camp for young musicians. In 1994 The Hewes – Kirkwood Inn was entered onto The National Register of Historic Places.

Mary Kirkwood’s 1907 cabin, the 1917 dining room, and a number of original cabins have been restored with a grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 612

Located in the Tahosa Valley, near Estes Park, CO., The Columbine Lodge, now called “High Peak Camp”, a property owned and operated by The Salvation Army – Intermountain Division, was established in about 1908 by Harry Bitner, an attorney from Michigan.

In July 1913 it was sold to Edwin Gillette, who also owned property nearby. In 1916 Mr. Gillette sold the property to Charles H. Alexander, who had a history of success in hotel management. He ran The Columbine Lodge until 1944.

At its peak The Columbine Lodge was comprised of a main lodge, a dining hall and a group of cabins.

A Voice of Colorado Version 2018 No. 610

Tahosa Valley, near the Estes Park Valley and Estes Park, CO., was almost named “Elkanah Valley” for the first permanent white resident of the valley, the Reverend Elkanah J. Lamb. The name was rejected by the Colorado Geographic Board and “Tahosa Valley” was accepted instead because of opposition by another resident of the area, Enos A. Mills, who believed recognizing those who came before was more suitable.