What’s New at the Grand Lake Area Historical Society



[email protected]



P.O. Box 656 Grand Lake, CO  80447  

Facebook: Smith-Eslick Cottage Court

Blog: cottagecourt.wordpress.com

YouTube: YouTube 


The GLAHS Board will meet Wednesday, June 12, 7:00 pm  at the Modular Office at 610 Center Drive just south of the post office and ball field. 

All members of the community are invited to attend.



  • July 9 Bob Mitchell with stories about his rodeo and horse- training days, followed by a presentation Celebrating Accomplishments in 2023 at the GLAHS!   A very special happening and Annual Meeting at the GL Community house at 6:30 p.m.
  • August 13Mary Beth (Chubb) Lagerborg  “A century of Summering in Grand Lake: Stories from the Shore”  At the Yacht Club at 6:30 p.m.

As always, these are FREE events, but we appreciate your donations to support the Eslick Store Restoration as a Welcome Center at the Cottage Court History Park. Dessert will be served along with some terrific history! 


Upcoming Events

  • July 6 – Ice Cream Social & Homemade Pie Sale, 10AM – 2PM, at the Cottage Court, 729 Lake Avenue
  • July 14 – 5:30PM, Stars at the History Park. Fun and Fancy Food, Great Music and More. For tickets or information, 970/627-8324
  • August 1 – Colorado Day at the Kauffman House
  • August 18 – Community Picnic at the Cottage Court.  Delicious food, music, fun  at 5:30 pm
  • September 7 – Museums begin “open weekends only” thru September
  • November 29, 30 and December 26 – Kauffman House open 1pm – 4pm


Many Thanks!

The Board of Directors wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation for donations in support of the work of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society.   Recent generous donors are Jim and Elin Capps, Jill Dohr, Lucy and Ralph Fitch, Martin Garcia, The Grand Lake Women’s Club, Dennis Humphries, Dave and Corine Lively, Frank Thomas, Daryl and Linda Troute, and Janna Williams in honor of Joseph B. Cunningham. Your support is invaluable, and we thank you!

We welcome new and renewing members Marilyn and Gene Appelquist, Jill Dohr, Muriel Johnson, Dawn Kaback and Phil Guertin, Robert and Melinda McKinney,  Linda and Don Ray, Roger Rood, Laurie and Chris Ruske, Judith Schaffer, Suzanne and Mark Silverthorn, and Benefactor Members Steve Armstead, and Leigh Sinclair in memory of Don Elliott. Thanks for being on the team!


Eslick Store Restoration Update

Isn’t It Lovely?

Exterior October, 2023

We think so!  The Eslick Store, soon to be the Welcome Center, at the Cottage Court History Park has been transformed, restored to its 1933 condition by wonderfully skilled craftsmen, our wonderfully generous donor community of Grand Lake, and paid for in part as well by grants from History Colorado – State Historical Fund, the Town of Grand Lake, the Grand Foundation, and the Gates Family Foundation. We began planning for this restoration March 1, 2022; seeing the Eslick Store already tight and ready for winter is incredibly rewarding.

Interior May, 2024

The Eslick Store’s Interior is in process of being rehabilitated as a Welcome Center at the Cottage Court History Park, 725 Lake Avenue. You’ll notice our workers coming and going during the winter, preparing the building for its opening in the Spring of 2024. Stay tuned!





Great News for the Eslick Store and Office

The iconic Eslick Store near the Cottage Court Museum is inching closer to being restored to its 1933 condition, complete with foundation, sparkling glass and a new roof. Come by the 725 Lake Avenue (actually at the Alleyway near Vine Street) location. First to happen is “mobilization”, getting supplies on-site.  We’ll keep you apprised as things move forward.




So very much progress has been made at the Eslick Store future Welcome Center site. Just since June 21st, the building has been stabilized, “straightened up” on a proper foundation, the interior cardboard box “insulation” removed and some archived for display, and structural framing restoration ongoing.




The roof is prepared for incoming shingles, windows and doors covered temporarily (again!) so exterior sheathing can be added and siding restored to 1933 condition. It’s amazing. The super-skilled Summit Construction team has left; the amazing Spectrum Restoration team will begin work on-site about August 14th, with a whole new set of wonders. Stay tuned, and stop by to take a look at what is rapidly being achieved.



Heartfelt THANKS to all who have donated so far to make this possible, and Special THANKS to all who will continue to support the project as we work to complete it. You can be so proud of what you have accomplished, and will accomplish. Stop by to watch as this future historical welcome center, tour guides station, gift shop and public restroom comes alive!

And a Shout Out to the intrepid tour guides at the Cottage Court Museum who have been battling rain, occasional wind, and grim skies the past two weeks. What a joy it will be to have a completed Eslick Store Tour Guides Station. Thanks to you all!

If you’d like to help or learn more, contact us at [email protected] or 970-627-8324, or visit SmithEslick.com.


Permanent Exhibit

There’s also another permanent exhibit, a selection of items from the movie theater once operating in the Grand Lake Community House. The Allmeyer family have donated one of the theater chairs, a bit of the movie screen’s curtain made by Women’s Club ladies, posters and more. Check them out when you’re next in the House! Below are photos of the permanent display at the Community House and the theater interior in the 1960s.


Guy Allmeyer and his family visited the exhibit in September.  He is the son of Paul and Florence Allmeyer who operated the theater from 1953-1975.




Renewing Your Membership

We routinely send “snail mail” letter reminders when it’s time to renew your membership.  We can instead send you an email renewal request, if you’d prefer. Just jet us a note, and we’ll set it up.


Community Center

Presentation for the Community House 100th Anniversary.



Pledging is an “easy” way to make a real impact on the work of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society. You decide the amount and when you wish to donate, and we’ll gratefully remind you each time your pledge payment is due. Major grantors are impressed by this show of continuing support, and we at GLAHS can more easily plan for future projects. Please do contact us if you would like to plan donations through a continuing pledge. You may also download and send us the Contribution Form.


Snowy Days at Grand Lake School, 1933

Just for Fun!




Longing for the March of the Old Days?

*February 23, 1900  Middle Park Times: About thirty couples braved the cold and stormy weather of last Friday and participated in the masquerade ball given on that evening. Kremmling, Grand Lake, and Fraser were all represented… A bounteous midnight supper was served…. Blustery March will soon be here. Below from a dance case made by Nell Pauly


*March 9th, 1905  Grand County Advocate:  On Sunday, March 5th, the citizens of Grand Lake met and organized a Sunday school. P.H. Smith was elected superintendent.

*March 3, 1927   Middle Park Times: The Grand Circle: Grand Lake Items: Members of the Women’s Club met with Mrs. Murnie Harbison at the Harbison ranch Saturday, February 26. A very pleasant afternoon was spent and all enjoyed the sleigh ride to the ranch and back.

Below, a sleigh ride on Grand Lake 1908

*March 24, 1927   Middle Park Times: The Grand Circle: Grand Lake News Items: The school children and their teacher, Mrs. Daelhousen, entertained the Lake people Saturday night with a program in honor of St. Patrick. Mrs. Leslie Ish and Mrs. Gus Spitzmiller sang “Where the River Shannon Flows” and some of our young men sang some old Irish songs. After the songs and speeches, the floor was cleared for dancing and “Home Sweet Home” wasn’t played until 3 A.M

On  Second Thought… Maybe Not…

*March 2, 1933    Middle Park Times: The state patrol has cleaned a road from Granby to Grand Lake and as the snow has not melted at the Lake yet, the road is good. Below, Clearing the road of snow in RMNP, 1937



Ice Cubes Were Hard to Come By

Folks who visit the Kauffman House in winter are especially interested in how thick the ice is on Grand Lake. (An ice fisherman out a bit on the lake in front of the House reported 10 inches on the day after Christmas.) Can you imagine breaking ice near the shore, and then man-handling a three-foot one-handle saw to carve ice blocks to store in an ice-house so you could keep food cool in summer? This picture shows Colvin Kemp, husband of Patience Cairns Kemp, getting ready to harvest ice, and the reports of ice thickness in 1909 are pretty amazing!

January 1, 1909   Middle Park Times: The annual ice harvest is now on. Ice on the Grand River is something like two feet thick.

February 5, 1909   Middle Park Times: The ice harvesters report that the ice on the Grand River is now 28 inches in thickness.




A Bit of Past Octobers!

*October  23, 1908   Middle Park Times:  Three or four feet of snow on the main range this week.

*Photo of Rosemary Kauffman Wilkin, middle daughter of the Kauffman House family, 1988

*Oct. 11, 1912 Middle Park Times:  The ladies of Grand Lake have organized an embroider and sewing club in the hope that it will broaden the social life of the village.

*October 19, 1917 Middle Park Times: Lost: Between Grand Lake and Berthoud Pass, one No. 8705 Silvertown Tire on steel rim. Finder  please notify Mr. R.C. Emery, care of Mr. Starkweather, Savoy Hotel, Denver. Liberal  reward.

*From a slide by Paul Gilbert

*October 11, 1932    Middle Park Times: “Ki-Yi” and “Whoopee”, Indian Summer Carnival at Grand Lake Community Hall, Saturday October 22nd, 14 Booths, candy, pop corn, ice cream, sandwich & coffee, fortunes, horse-shoe, money game, balloons, bingo, horrors, menagerie, photo gallery, grab bag, fish pond, Winter Sports Club Benefit


Post a Review

If you’ve visited the Kauffman House Museum… if you’ve attended one of our GLAHS events or a “Happening at the House”… if you know about our work in our community, please Post a Review on TripAdvisor.com. Thanks!


We got a chuckle from this little story from “Happenings” participant Rich East. (It’s a perfect heavy-snow Spring story as well!)

“Bob Wall owned the Chuck Hole Restaurant on main street. This was probably before we were married in ’58 and the Tonahutu flooded and everything; all the trees impacted the bridge and there was a foot of water going down Main Street. Me and my wife’s brother sat in there with a couple of the other young’ins around here, and Bob cooked hamburgers when I believe our feet, our legs were deep in the water! Because back then the floor of the restaurant was lower than Main Street. You know when the bridge cleared, and the water went down the waterway, water came downhill into the Lake. That was pretty phenomenal.”

 Things Have Changed…

This writer’s grandsons have picked out their super hero, monster, and robot Valentines Day cards for all their classmates, and are just as excited as I remember being back in the day. They didn’t even consider making handmade cards, as I remember doing on occasion, but I also remember hoping to get cards with popular characters from the newspaper comics and Disney, and of course a card from everyone in class! Enjoy these antique and vintage charming Valentines from the past, just a few of those originally displayed in 2009’s Kauffman House special exhibit.

Ski Country!

In the 1930s and ‘40s, the children of Grand County competed in downhill ski and other snowy events. Here in Grand Lake, the school at that time was at the corner of Broadway Street and Lake Avenue, where the Trinity Church manse is now located. What we now call the “tubing hill” was truly a ski slope, with tow rope, and the school kids practiced skiing almost daily.

Then, in 1961, plans were completed for an entire ski area to be built on Shadow Mountain, but it never came to pass. Fun to think about!


World War I in Grand Lake

Solemn ceremonies took place around the world Sunday to mark 100 years to the day since the Armistice that saw the end of World War I. Grand Lake area young men were trained to enter that horrific war at the US Army’s Camp Funston located on Fort Riley southwest of Manhattan, Kansas. The Middle Park Times reported the news to a concerned public.

Howard Beehler, first RMNP Ranger West Side in his WW I uniform.

Fred McLaren on motorcycle with goggles

“November 9, 1917 Middle Park Times: Several Grand County boys were transferred to Camp Kearney, California from Camp Funston, last week. We were unable to learn all their names, but it is said that J. Johnson, Harry Swalm and Bill Lehman were among the transfers. The boys at Camp Funston report that they will have heat in their barracks in a few days. All inside pipes are installed now and waiting on the boiler station.

Grand Lake ladies knitting an afghan for the soldiers.

November 9, 1917 Middle Park Times: Word was received in Hot Sulphur Monday evening that Corporal Guy Ish, of Camp Funston was seriously ill with pneumonia and that his father had left Grand Lake to be with his son during the illness.

November 23, 1917  Middle Park Times: At Ft. Riley, Kansas, Wednesday, November 14the, 1917, Corporal Guy Lapsley Ish, Battery D, Co. 811, Field Artillery, D.S.A., aged 24 years, 1 month and 9 days.”

Monarch – a Little History

You may have walked the trail around Monarch Lake, now a very popular USDA Forest Service site located 10 miles southeast of Highway 34 on CR 6, Arapaho Bay Road. Did you know that Monarch Lake is not a natural body of water, but was made when entrepreneurs T. S. Waltemeyer, the Wolcott brothers, and others built a dam on the South Fork of the Colorado and flooded a valley in the early 1900s to make it possible to float timber for their wooden box factory?

Mr. Waltemeyer’s Rocky Mountain Lumber Company developed through a series of sometimes questionable investment and successful mining projects, but did develop a substantial sawmill operation with flumes taking logs to the “lake” and a single locomotive railroad line, a spur off the Moffat Road called the Rocky Mountain Railway.

The very small town of Monarch was a true company town, with bunkhouses for foreign workers, a store and school room combination, large men’s boarding house, a few cottages for married men, horse barn and bowling alley… all dependent on the lumber business and especially a box factory that used that lumber, but burned in Fall of 1908 after only some months of production. The town was then abandoned, though the lumber camp and sawmill remained.

GLAHS board vice-president Kathy Means recently drove to Boulder to meet with Thomas Waltemeyer’s great granddaughter, Alice Murphy, and share photos and our considerable information. We scanned photographs not already in our collection from Alice’s albums, and share some below.

 A History of Boats and Boating in Grand Lake

One of Our Favorites…

… is the lady Corinne Lively wrote about in a GLAHS 2005-6 newsletter. She wrote: Who was Louise Millinger?  “Grand Lake’s Best Known Woman”.  From 1933 through 1954 Grand Lake summers were graced by a “one woman Chamber of Commerce”.  This unique character was Louise Millinger, operator of the Grand Lake Boat Service.

The Boat Service was started by her father, Captain McCarty, in 1909 with some canoes and one cylinder motorboats for the “wagon trade”.  Louise and her husband Clem took over the business after the Captain’s death in 1933.  Clem died suddenly two years later, and Louise, at age 49, continued doing what she loved.  She spent her winters teaching at Minnequa school in Pueblo and writing fiction.  From the day school was out until the day it started in the fall, Louise was with her boats.  She built the operation to six Chris Crafts, a 40′ steamboat “Micky”, and many small boats and canoes.  She had shops capable of total motor rebuilding, and a heated and insulated hull refinishing shop.


A Favorite Boat Story

Early resident Craig Adams spoke to the Grand Lake Rotary in 1955, and shared a remarkable boating event from his youth. We love to tell this story to groups of children… it’s a funny, cautionary tale.  Enjoy!

 Craig Adams Chats With Grand Lake Rotary Club 1955

(transcribed from original tape recording)

My brother and I were running this store (Joe Wescott’s store on the Lake’s west side). One evening we closed the store, and got one of these little Mullins steel boats and went fishing. And we drifted over toward the east shore, and the fishing was pretty good, and the wind was coming up a little, and we decided like some of these crazy people do, that we could do better and we stood up. So we stood up in this little tin boat, and doing our fishing with our backs to the wind, drifting towards the east shore. All of a sudden, one of these Grand Lake puffs hit us on the back, and we pushed forward and both stepped on the side of the boat at the same time, went down far enough to start taking water. Wasn’t anything we could do, we couldn’t keep it from doing that, so we just stood up and looked at each other as the boat kept on going down, down, down, ’til finally it got about this deep, and my brother said, “Well, I guess we have to swim.” I said okay, so we started. Hadn’t anymore than started and he tells me, “Well, you’re smaller than I am. You better go back and hang on the boat rope carry you, and I’ll swim on in.” So he started, and I got on the boat, and I watched him. I hollered to him, I said, “Do you think you can make it?” He said, “I think to can.” So I waited him out, and he was still getting a little closer. I said, “Do you think you can make it?” He said, “I think to can.” So he swam just as long as he could, he told me afterwards, and then let down. He said, “If I let down and couldn’t hit bottom, I was through.” But luckily he hit bottom. And by that time, the wind had drifted me in. There wasn’t anybody living on that side, our folks hadn’t come up, except the Harmons. Their home was over about where the tunnel entrance is. So we were cold and shivering, scared too. We just left the boat there, and went on over to Harmons’ house late in the evening. Nobody home; they were over town. So we walked around and couldn’t get in the front door; finally found a window open in the back, so we jimmied the window open and got in, built a fire in the stove, started gettin’ warm. Then we took a lamp and started walking through the house to find some blankets to put around us. ‘Bout that time, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon, who always rowed doubles, started for home. They saw this light going through the house; they thought somebody was stealing them out of their house and home. And they pretty near rowed themselves to death to get home. So instead of coming to the front door, Mr. Harmon went around the back and walked up to the window, and he says, “Hellooo.” We said, “Hello. This is Craig and Carleton”. So that relieved him, and he came on in and they gave us some tea and coffee and dinner. Our clothes were all wet, said, “Well, there’s nothing you boys can do but stay here all night, we’ll dry your clothes out, and you can go on back to the store tomorrow morning. So, we did that, of course a little late getting off the next morning. Somebody, apparently, had gone to the store to get some bread or coffee for breakfast, and the store wasn’t open. Somebody else came along, said, “Yeah, I saw the boys over there fishing on the east side, Craig and (unintelligible) were standing up in the boat. So they thought we were at the bottom of the lake. We finally got dressed, warm, started home and we met three boatloads of people out in the middle of the lake, coming over with ropes and dragging hooks to fish us out of the bottom of the lake. I don’t know
whether they were glad or sorry.

Grand Quilt Trail

You’ve noticed the many “quilt squares” on display on buildings around the County. The one at the Kauffman House is a “Lady of the Lake” pattern. There’s now a booklet guide to all the quilt patterns which you can download from the Grand County Historical Association website, http://grandcountyhistory.org/.



We’d Love to Share…

We have a lot of wonderful history stories to tell. If you are part of a group that would like to have us present in PowerPoint or other format… subject of your choice, or one we have already prepared…give us a call or jot an email note. Having a party at your home? Call us! Need a topic for your organization’s meeting? Call us! Hope to hear from you!


What is this??!

It was the El Navajo Lodge, a prominent accommodation for travelers back in the day.

Stop by the Smith Eslick Cottage Court when you have a chance. It’s in process of being restored by Maple Street Builders, Architect Dennis Humphries and the Historical Society team. 

Clyde Eslick loved his cars, and apparently really enjoyed driving them! The Middle Park Times newspaper reported on many of his auto adventures… big news back then:

May 31, 1918   Middle Park Times: Through J.P.Schulz, the Eslick boys have purchased a Ford runabout.

Grand Lake Items: George Nair and Clyde Eslick returned from Denver Saturday.

Grand Lake News: Mrs. Georgia Eslick and son, Mr. Clyde Eslick, and little Hazel Masterson, went to  Denver and Fort Collins Wednesday and returned home Sunday.

Grand Lake News: Mrs. Susan Johnston made a trip to Denver with Clyde Eslick during the week.

Please give us a call if you’d like more information and, again, we would be very grateful for your help with this project. GLAHS-Cottage Court, P.O. Box


It’s official…

plaque-national-designation-anne-mccleave-cervenka-capps-10-25-16Anne McCleave,State Historical Fund Preservation Specialist for the Northwest Region, has delivered a lovely brass plaque showing that the Smith Eslick Cottage Court is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Here are a happy Jim Cervenka, Historical Society President, with Elin Capps and Anne. We’ll soon attach the plaque, and are of course continuing the restoration of the Cottage Court.

Your Historical Society often receives donations that seem a bit unusual, but always have an interesting story to tell. Here’s a couple of recent additions!

If Only a Building Could Talk…

Bears Den cropped

Some years ago, Mac Ruske and Martha Boehner shared what they remembered about the building in this photo. Mac said his shift boss on the Adams Tunnel project was Swede Sandstrom. When he and his wife Adele divorced, Adele and her friend Vannie Maker logged and built (with some unknown helpers) Adele’s home, shown in the photo. Mac said they used a lot of free stuff. Martha said it was later sold to Jo Anne (McLaren) Warner, wife of Jim Warner, son Tom, and continued as a home. At sometime, Martha said, it became a furniture store operated by the Clarks and their daughter Carol.

Then in 1965 it sold to Mr. and Mrs. Patty who operated it as the Patty’s Mountain Inn. Mac remembered Lynn Cox and her son Kevin telling him that fried chicken “the size of turkeys” were on the menu. Mr. Patty had a wind-up toy collection that he liked to line up parade style and send out to entertain. Kevin thought the best part were the wind-up, clacking dentures.

Then in 1981 it was sold to Dave McDougal, and operated as Dougal’s Mountain Inn. “Dougal” hosted the town’s first trivia contest as part of the Winter Carnival activities in about 1985, and would hire energetic young Pine Cone Theater actors as waiters. When Dave McDougal went to Denver and opened Dougal’s Catering, the restaurant was sold to Michelle Marcello, and operated as the Mountain Inn. Later, it sold to Benton and Vickie Johnson, and was operated as Bear’s Den.

With all these years of history, there must have been so many more stories to tell, if only the building could talk…


Does anyone remember this “Grand County –opoly” game, a “real estate trading game” that teased you could “own your own home town”? The GLAHS collection’s copy belonged to Hazel Mosely.  Every “property card” is an ad for a local business. Perhaps you can figure out the game’s exact publication date by remembering when the businesses were active in town. Take a look at the game board, and let us know what you remember about those places!

Monopoly Grand County boxGrand Co Opoly Game 8



… and Just ‘Cause It’s PrettyGrand Lake sunrise - Steve Batty, 10 5-2015

Photo from GLAHS Board member Steve Batty: Fall sunrise seen from Point Park




What a Makeover!

Shiny Kauffman HouseThe Kauffman House Museum has received a lovely exterior restoration, with log damage repaired or replaced, all the icky chinking between logs removed and replaced with authentic and substantial new daub, and a fresh coat of stain to make it glow. Huge thanks to the Colorado State Historical Fund/History Colorado for funding and patiently guiding us through this all-important project, and to everyone who donated grant matching funds. Thanks too to the crew: Dan Schneller/DSD Construction for log repair, Wes Bishop/Stonehinge Masonry for chinking, and Jim Peterson/Grand Design Painting for the lovely stain work.   The trim has been painted during the summer of 2016 by Jim Peterson.