News & Events

What’s New at the Grand Lake Area Historical Society

970-627-8324    SMALLER Logo

Pitkin Street facing Grand Lake

P.O. Box 656 Grand Lake, CO  80447  

Facebook:Smith-Eslick Cottage Court



The GLAHS Board will meet Wednesday, June 9th, 7:00pm, at the modular office just south of the GL post office. All members of the community are invited to attend.

For Your Calendar – Lots Going On!

*June 9th & 10th  1:00 – 4:00  Dress-Up Photo Fun at the Cottage Court – our costumes, your camera!

*June 19th  8:30 pm     Old Movie Adventures at the Cottage Court

*June 23rd & 24th  1:00- 4:00  Dress-Up Photo Fun at the Cottage Court – our costumes, your camera!

*June 26th  9:00 am -2:00   History Bike Hike/Cottage Court  $15  Bring lunch, drink, sunscreen

*July 3rd   11:00 – 4:00   Saturday Sundaes & Pie Sale – a fundraiser/Cottage Court

* July 10th   1:00 pm at the Cottage Court  – Native American Dancers

*July 18th  5:00 – 9:00  Stars at the barn! A fundraiser for the Cottage Camp.   This will be casual & delicious fun!

*July 24th   9:00am- 2:00  History Bike Hike/Cottage Court  $15  Bring lunch, drink, sunscreen

*July 30th  7:00 pm  Camp Songs & Kazoos at the Cottage Court

*August 1st  11:00 am – 5:00  Colorado Day at the Kaufman House. Admission $1.00 per person of any age

*August 11th -12th  1:00 – 4:00  Dress-Up Photo Fun at the Cottage Court – our costumes, your camera!

*August 22nd   5:30pm  Annual Community Picnic at the Cottage Court Don’t miss this! Food and fun.

We’re working hard…

Growing a new and unique Cottage Court Museum is hard!  It takes persistence, ingenuity and loads of patience.  We’re adding new artifacts and displays pretty regularly. We expect the installation of the “rustic tech” Object Theaters, featuring motion sensor audio and theatrical lighting, by July 18th.

All very exciting, but we can only open the museum when we can staff it with volunteers, and we need YOU! We ask that each volunteer commit to a three-hour-per-week shift, chatting with visitors, answering questions and welcoming them tour historic community. If you can volunteer for this important community endeavor, we’d be most grateful!  Contact Elin at 970/509-9556 and leave a voice mail or text so she can call back to discuss.

The Grand Lake Area Historical Society is, and always has been an all-volunteer organization. Our members love our beautiful area and its rich history. We strive to preserve, protect and promote the history of the Grand Lake area. Please consider helping us do this, and meet some new folks while you’re at it.

The Kauffman House Museum needs volunteers as well. Same set-up, three-hour shift per week. Contact Frank at 301/859-0014 for more information.

Our most grateful thanks go out to our Cottage Court Museum heroes, already working as tour guides and museum supporters. THANK YOU Steve Batty, Jim and Elin Capps, Jim and Liza Cervenka, Paul Carlson, Joe and Julie Cunningham, Lucy Fitch, Susan Larson, Dave and Lois Sauer and Alan Walker. What a team! Hope you can join us!

Celebrating the Community House

Wednesday, July 14th, 7:00pm at the Grand Lake Community House    It’s a very special community presentation… not your ordinary slide show… to celebrate the Centennial of the opening of the Grand Lake Community House. Ever wonder why and how it was built? It’s quite a story, and some 1921 residents will be on hand to help tell it. Treats will be served, and the annual meeting of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society will follow the presentation – all members welcome to attend. This is a FREE event.


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 donors are Buck Blessing, Mary Lou Lane, Jon Linton, Dave and Corinne Lively, Dot Weber and Fred Schroeder, and Keith and Victoria Simon.  Special Thanks to Steve Batty, Elin and Jim Capps, Dawn Kaback and Marianne and Ed Marvez. Your support is invaluable and truly appreciated.

We welcome new and renewing members Betty Allen, Steve Armstead, Ed and Barb Biddle, Liza and Jim Cervenka, P.J. and Kathy Chandler, Bobbie Heisterkamp, Christine and Jeff Jarvis, Graham Johnson, Kenn and Muriel Johnson, Dawn Kaback, Mary Lou Lane, Jon Linton, Laura Maillet, Jeri and Jerry Peirce, Roger Rood, Laurie and Chris Ruske,  Melinda and Robert McKinney, Scott Schell and Stewart Thomas, Jennifer and Richard Schliep with Sloopy’s Grill, Ingrid Smith, Rosemary Stoffel, Richard Thorpe, Wayne and Ellen Todd, and Benefactor Members Paul and Elaine Arguien, Paul Harrington of Harrington Landscapes, Sandy and Steve Kukoy, and Ann and Canton O’Donnell. Thanks for being on the team!


Love Our History? Volunteer!

We’ll soon be again asking for volunteers to be Tour Guides at the Kauffman House and at the Cottage Court. Visitors love, love, love these museums, and that’s in great part the result of the friendly volunteers who meet, greet and share our history with them. Join us for a three hours a week shift – it’s fun and very satisfying. We’re planning an “Experienced Volunteers Return, New Volunteers Join in and Interested Folks Check Us Out Breakfast” on the Cottage Court lawn at 8:30am, Friday, May 28th. Yummy food and terrific company! Mark your calendar, and hope you can come!


Object Theaters for the Cottage Court

Your donation is needed especially now to make sure that the Object Theaters being prepared by Traub Design Associates in Kansas can be completed and installed in June! Information is attached, and THANKS for helping. BREAKING NEWS! We just received a $2,000 donation from folks who want to challenge others to come forward and support. Please consider this challenge!    Introducing Object Theaters


Seems So Quiet…

It doesn’t look like it now, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. The Cottage Court Museum, the oldest original condition motor court, the “oldest motel”, is under the snow at 729 Lake Avenue, just at the corner of Vine Street. We can’t open the museum until summer melts some of this white stuff, but we are working hard to add two surprising “Object Theater” interpretive elements at the site.


Imagine coming to the door of a Cottage Court guest room, triggering an infrared sensor that starts audio and lights, and immediately being greeted by none other than the builder of the oldest original-condition motor court, Clyde Eslick! He’ll tell you a bit about the room he’s standing in, about what life was like in Grand Lake, in say 1915, and share some of his favorite items in the room and some of his favorite stories.

Clyde was noted for his affable, genuinely friendly charm, and you’ll feel a bit like a tourist coming into town back in the day as Clyde chats with you for four to six minutes. It will be sort of deliberately rustic hi-tech.  There’ll be a second Object Theater, with an older Clyde in a second room talking a bit about life in the 1930s and 1940s. It’s all part of the master plan for the site, the work of an amazing volunteer committee in conjunction with professional exhibit designers. Should be FUN! There’s more information below, should you be interested.  Just click on the link below.

Introducing Object Theaters

Got Tools? We Need You!

We want to add some more FUN stuff at the Cottage Court Museum. We’ve got this tempting expanse of lawn. Seems perfect for a couple of cornhole games, but we need YOU to help with this project. And, there’s more. We also want to add some family friendly, hinged “peek to find the answer” exhibit pieces – simple to build, but also needing some carpentry skills/tools. And more…  PLEASE contact us if you’d like to take on a project, and we’ll talk. 970/627-8324,  THANK YOU!

Meanwhile, at the Other Building      

We’re continually working to rehabilitate that other building, the Eslick Store and Office, at the Cottage Camp site. We’ve received funding from the State Historical Fund, Grand County BOCC, and the Town of Grand Lake for various planning projects to eventually make this building strong and useful again. It will be a terrific welcome center and gift shop – stay tuned.




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!




Be Well. Here’s to a More Enjoyable 2021!


A New Way to Support Your GLAHS

Wonderful News! This year there’s a brand new Colorado program that gives you the opportunity to support the work of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society when you’re completing your state income tax return.

If you are expecting a state income tax refund, please look for the Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund line on your return or tax software.

  • Decide how much of your state income tax refund to donate (all or any portion of it).
  • Enter Grand Lake Area Historical Society and our registration number  #20063001765 in the Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund line on your return or tax software – or just give this info to your tax preparer when you share your tax documents.

You can learn more details about the program at

When you choose to donate from your state income tax refund, your contribution will go directly to us.

This is one deadline you don’t want to miss. Thank you in advance for sharing your tax refund with us so we can re-energize our important work. We are most grateful for your support.


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.



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 Thanks!


A Few Fun Shots!

Such fun at the 5th Annual Community Picnic Dinner held August 18th at the Smith-Eslick Cottage Court. We had a great time, and hope to see you all at next summer’s event!

For Your Calendar…

Now thru mid-2020  The special exhibit at the Grand County Historical Association’s Pioneer Village Museum in Hot Sulphur Springs continues: “Down the River” about the John Wesley Powell expedition to map the Colorado River.



Kauffman House has a New Roof and More

It’s done, and it looks great! Many, many thanks to GLAHS Board Property Chairman Mark Mix for moving this project along. The Kauffman House holiday decorations have been removed, repacked and re-saved. Thanks to a great team: Kathy Means, Bob Means, their grandson Jacob, Jim Capps, Elin Capps, Sandia Bruton, and Patti Stahl!

Lots Happening at the Cottage Court

Plans are coming together for a first round of exhibits at the Smith-Eslick Cottage Court. Informative panels, in part funded by a grant from History Colorado- State Historical Fund, will be in each space, the roof will be painted, flowers planted and more.  We’re recruiting volunteer tour guides, “Docents”, to work a shift from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm one day a week at this new motor court museum. If you’re interested, please call Elin at 970-509-9556. She’ll offer some training, materials, answer questions and be grateful for your participation FOREVER. This will be fun!

It’s “Laugh at Work Week”… Who Knew?

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.

How Fun Was This!

The Granby Children’s Fair in April featured all sorts of “Making and Tinkering” activities. Your Grand Lake Area Historical Society brought the always popular and mystifying rotary phone and nut cracker, and helped scads of cute kiddos make Victorian style thaumatropes. Thanks to GLAHS board members Deb Bondi, Patti Stahl, Elin Capps and the folks at Grand Beginnings for all that great fun!

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 attached to this message, and THANKS!

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,

Miraculous Garage

You’ve got to love an automatic garage door when the wind is roaring and there’s a bit of snow in the air. Our Smith Eslick Cottage Court had no doors on the carports, but each space had a roof, and was right next to where the owner slept. What luxurious security in 1915! We’re busy preparing some basic interpretive signage, funded in part with a grant from History Colorado – State Historical Fund, and additional support from our wonderful community. We’ll be able to share design plans in this coming summer, and plan to have the completed signage installed by spring of 2019.

There’s lots planned at the Cottage Camp site, but so very much has already been accomplished – purchase of land, moving the historic one-of-a-kind Cottage Court to prevent its demolition, Master Planning for the site, restoration of the roof, placement of the Court on its first-ever permanent foundation, restoration of the entire Cottage Court to its 1915-1930s condition, interpretive signs at the entrance and Cairns #3 Ditch remnant, beginning development of exhibits, ADA accessible pathways, a rehabilitated Model A display and more.

We’ll try hard to keep you apprised of every step along the way to making the Smith Eslick Cottage Camp an exciting and significant historical asset for our community, and THANK YOU to all who are participating in planning and to all who have donated to make this possible!

Grand Lake and the Smith Eslick Cottage Court were featured in Colorado Experience:  Mountain Escapes shown on PBS February 1st. You can still watch the entire show online:  Don’t miss this! We’re excited and proud to have been part of this very interesting documentary presentation.


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.


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Share your story or read other stories about Grand Lake, Colorado. Help contribute to Grand Lake’s historical records. Tell us all about your history in Grand Lake... READ MORE

Find a Museum


Get directions to the Kauffman House Museum and Smith Eslick Cottage Camp, as well as the Administration Office. See our museum hours, locations and contact information... READ MORE