Malo House

History of the Malo House

A copy of this document is in the Grand Lake Area Historical Society collection.

During the time of prohibition, a wealthy family named Malo built a large summer home along the north shore of Grand Lake. At the time of its completion it was reported to have been the largest home on the lake. It was located in an area that was almost inaccessible by road or footpath. It was difficult to even bring in building materials at the time the home was being constructed. The home was said to have had eleven bathrooms and thirty bedrooms.

Local townspeople used to marvel at the fact that even though it was difficult to get to the house, it was always crowded with friends of the Malo family and it seemed there was never a shortage of that illegal substance, booze. Wild, all night parties were often the talk of the small hamlet of Grand Lake.

In 1928 a paternity suit was brought against a Denver priest, Father Grace. When it came time for his court hearing, he could not be found in order to bring him to trial. Authorities looked high and low for Father Grace but they never looked in Grand Lake, for many of the locals knew that the good Father was hiding out in the Malo House. He stayed in residence long enough that the case against him was finally thrown out of court and he was never brought to trial on the paternity charges.

It was during the 1940’s that a group of investors purchased the Malo House in order that they might turn it into a hunting lodge. Over the next few decades financial problems beset the group and it was reported that they took out a very large insurance policy on the home. One night during the fall of 1963 the house caught on fire and before the local volunteer fire company could stop the blaze, the house burned to the ground leaving only the rock chimneys and foundation.

While this wealthy family was known to have played hard and fast, they were also known to be very charitable and always willing to help out those in need, especially Catholic organizations. During August 1993, Pope John Paul II came to Denver for a World Youth Day conference and during this gathering he spent one day resting in Estes Park at a Catholic Retreat known as St. Malos. This place in the pines was given by the Malo family to the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver. A wing of St. Joseph’s hospital in Denver was also donated by the Malo family.

It has been whispered about by those who should know that maybe these extravagant gifts to the Catholic Church helped pay off the church so that the Malo daughter, Edith, could get a divorce. Divorce is a big No No in the Catholic Church, but Edith got one with a special dispensation from the Holy Father, the Pope in Rome.

Today, all that remains is the old rock foundation with an abundance of aspen trees growing up where once there were stately rooms.