Friday, July 06, 2007

The Stanley Hotel

US 36 approaching Estes Park, Colorado

One of my favorite towns is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park, Colorado is an interesting town that caters to tourists visiting the area. One landmark of note in the town is The Stanley Hotel, an historic venue that has played host to many dignitaries over the years; from Teddy Roosevelt to Steven King. It was staying at The Stanley that inspired King to create the fictional Overlook Hotel for his novel, "The Shining". The television miniseries of the same name was shot at The Stanley.

The magnificent Stanley Hotel sits by the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Driving into Estes Park, The Stanley is the largest man made structures you see. If it weren't for the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, the Stanley would overpower everything else in sight. Yesterday, I managed to get the shot above of the hotel complex from a distance, with the mountains and approaching storm clouds in the background. While the photo doesn't do the view justice, as with all of my pictures, you can click on them for a larger version.

The main building at The Stanley Hotel

The main building at the hotel is a huge structure featuring Georgian architecture. The hotel was founded by F. O. Stanley, inventor of the famed Stanley Steamer automobile. Stanley came to Estes Park to have a healing climate for his tuberculosis, and ended up building the hotel as a summertime resort, one of the first to have electricity and plumbing. An actual Stanley Steamer is displayed in the main lobby, and is a beautiful piece of early 20th Century transportation history.

As an sidebar, one thing that occasionally gets my attention is the cultural knowledge differences between people of different ages. My 17-year-old nephew and his same-aged buddy heard the rest of us talking about the Stanley Steamer. They couldn't figure out why we were so excited about seeing a vacuum cleaner! (For those who don't know, Stanley Steemer is a carpet cleaning franchise in the United States that advertises heavily on the television). So this turned into an educational moment for them.

An original Stanley Steamer

While the hotel has had a revival of interest since The Shining became popular, it is truly a piece of history. If you visit Estes Park, it is worth a stay. Barring that, at least be sure to visit this beautiful hotel just for the spectacular views and classic architecture. If you are lucky, you will be able to stay for one of the evenings of ghost stories presented by the hotel staff. Who's that wispy figure standing on the staircase?

Main Lobby staircase and elevator at The Stanley Hotel

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