Nestled in the heart of Estes Park, Colorado can be found a grand hotel; one that is known for many things, including, breath taking views, wonderful amenities, and the past guests.
A brief history of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-
Born in 1849 Freelan Oscar Stanley (also known as F.O.) and his brother Francis Edgar Stanley (also known as F.E. ) were always ahead of the curve they were always trying to be the best and find a way to make money while doing it.
As mere children they made toy Dreidels and sold them to all of their friends and their friends. While growing up, the two boys took different paths F.O. became a teacher, and F.E. opened a photography studio. The success of F.E. went to new heights with the patent of the first photographic airbrush. F.O. decided to join his brother and the two of them began using dry plates for photography and were not happy with the quality of the plates, so the took it upon themselves to change them. Together they patented a machine that could coat mass quantities of plates and formed the Stanley Dry Plate company. By the early 1890s the company was turning over one million in annual sales. The brothers began to lose interest in the business, and sold it to George Eastman of Eastman Kodak for $500,000.
The brothers moved into automobile manufacturing and produced their first car in 1897, The Stanley steamer was born. I was amazed to see the journey the brothers had made up to this point, but in 1918 F.E. passed away, and the rights to the company were sold. F.O. was diagnosed with tuberculosis and came to Colorado in 1903. Tuberculosis was a death sentence back then, as the recovery rate was very low. F.O. decided to try to recover away from people in the small town of Estes Park, and to every ones surprise, F.O. had a fast recovery! F.O. fell in love with the land and wanted to return every summer.
In 1905 he completed his mansion identical to his home in New England, and in 1907 started work on the 48 room Stanley Hotel. The hotel was completed in 1909, and had some very rare commodities for the time; a hydraulic elevator, running water, telephones, and electricity from the hydro electric dam built by F.O.
Our visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-
The Stanley Hotel has a rich history, and it is a beautiful hotel, during our stay we were able to enjoy some of the tours including, the archive tour, the ghost tour, the history tour, and the ghost hunt. We started our brief stay by going on the archive tour, with our tour guide Jeremy. Jeremy is very knowledgeable on the history of the Stanley family, and the History of the Stanley Hotel itself. We learned of the way F.O. and F.E. spent their days and how the hotel came to be. We learned of tragedies such as room 217, and former guests which may have never checked out. Room 217 was a room that, during a power outage, they were going to light the acetylene lamps, found a leak and blew 10% of the hotel apart! They still have pieces of this on display in the archive.
Our next stop was to our room for a short relax before the ghost tour. The room was of decent size and was located on the 4th floor, room 418. It is said this room is haunted by small children that like to play, we were ready for it, and hoping they would make an appearance.
After a short break, we met with Alex for the ghost tour. Alex took our group to all the prime haunted spots, including the concert hall, billiard room, the tunnel, and told us about the reports of haunting there. We didn’t have any real experiences while on the tour, but did get to know the “hot spots” of the hotel and why they are considered to be such. The stories alone could make the hair on your neck stand on end.
After the tour we retreated to our room for the night. Nothing remarkable happened, but we were ready for it! The following day we went on the historical tour, with Sophie, and I can not speak highly enough of this tour or Sophie! This was the best historical tour I have ever been on, and I would pay to go on it again! This is a must while you are at the Stanley, for sure (and try to get on a tour with Sophie you wont regret it.) We learned so much about the history of the Stanley, and the the grounds it sits on that I felt like I just sat through a week long course, and it kept me hooked the whole time.
After the tour, we visited the Cascades restaurant, inside the hotel and the food was amazing! We had the chicken, and the game meatloaf, both were great and very good sized portions, for sure. The restaurant is attached to the bar so the noise from the bar lingered into the restaurant but it wasn’t enough to ruin the atmosphere by any means.
After dinner we went to the Ghost hunt with Karl, Conner, and Lisa, *this event is a must experience*. This tour starts with a little lesson about ghost hunting tools, and how to use them. During our stay there were some strange happenings, and unexplained occurrences. I do recommend this tour to anyone that can manage to keep their eyes open long enough, and the adrenaline of the hunt will help with that. The hunt is 5 hours and starts at 9pm, while they cannot promise activity, I think even the hardest of skeptics will walk away with a new sight on the afterlife. This was by far my favorite part of the trip mostly due to being a tad bit of a skeptic, it’s fun to see things that I didn’t think I would see.
You really owe it to yourself to experience this first hand it was a great stop at a Colorado Historical landmark , if not the views, then the food, if not the food then the history, if not the history, then the paranormal aspects! What ever you are looking for, The Stanley Hotel is sure to leave an impression on your life.