Resorts and Hotels Became First Buildings Constructed In Teller Mountain Hub
Woodland Park was incorporated as a town in 1891, but before that people were attracted to the area due to its beautiful landscapes and plush forests. The unique location of the city at the foot of Pikes Peak first drew vacationers to the area from Colorado Springs and other locations.
In order to provide for the tourists, some of the first major buildings built in the Woodland Park area were hotels. And then in the 1890s, when gold was discovered in the Cripple Creek/Victor area, more people came to Woodland Park to participate in a growing logging industry that boomed by providing lumber for buildings in southern Teller County.
Through the years, most of these historic hotels were torn down and they no longer exist in the same capacity they once did. Now, houses and other buildings sit where the hotels once stood, but some of the locations have stone historical markers at the hotels’ previous locations. The following are some of the town’s main historic highlights:
The Manitou Park Hotel
According to the book “Discovering Ute Pass Volume II: Tales of Upper Ute Pass (Woodland Park, Edlowe, Divide, and Midland)” produced by the Ute Pass Historical Society in Woodland Park, the first hotel to get erected in the area was the Manitou Park Hotel located north of town near where Manitou Lake sits today. The hotel was a luxurious resort that was built by General Palmer and Dr. William Bell in 1873.
The hotel featured extravagant decorations imported from foreign countries and several unique amenities. The resort had a barn with 35 horses for guests to ride, carriage houses, a race track, and a black smith shop.
The resort also featured amenities like an outdoor dancing pavilion, bowling, a ballroom, billiards, a chapel, and spa facilities. Other activities available included a golf course, tennis courts, croquet, driving, riding, trout fishing, boating, and bicycling.
There was live music featured at the resort and famous authors, such as Helen Hunt Jackson, would go to the hotel and speak to guests. However, with all of the activities available, the resort actually never served alcohol.
But before the resort was 20 years old, it burned down in 1886 for the first time. The hotel was rebuilt on the same site in 1888 using local lumber, but then it burned down again in 1897.
The property was then given to the Colorado College’s forestry department and a hotel the college built burnt down a third time. Nowadays, the property is used by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) forest service for wildlife research.
The Crest Hotel
In 1884, Elfonzo Dickinson and Harry Marble built the Crest Hotel located on the northeast corner of Park Street and Lake Avenue. It was an old-fashioned style hotel with 15 rooms and a veranda all around the building where guests could sit in the afternoons and enjoy the sunshine.
The first floor had a parlor, kitchen and very large dining room. All of the rooms were on the second floor and there were no indoor restrooms, only outhouses.
The hotel though, only lasted for a short time and it was torn down in 1910 so that the lumber could be used to build other houses in the town. A house now sits where the hotel used to be.
The Midland Hotel
In the late 1800s, the Midland Eating House fed people riding through town on the railroad and it was located on the south side of the intersection of Highway 24 and West St. But then when the trains started adding dining cars, the eating house was closed.
In 1892, A.B. Hackman purchased the building and moved it to the north side of the same intersection. He remodeled the building and turned it into The Midland Hotel.
According to local historians, the Midland was the busiest hotel in the area at one point. It was the only lodging establishment open year round and it never had indoor plumbing.
The building was then torn down in the early 1940s. There is now a commercial building in its place.
The Woodland Hotel
In 1893, John Ansfield from Cleveland, Ohio built the Woodland Hotel for $15,000. The hotel was located at 919 Lorraine St. at the end of Main Street and at the foot of Gold Hill.
The hotel was known as one of the biggest in the area with 55 rooms including 42 guest rooms. There were four bathrooms, a lobby, two kitchens, a dining room, two parlors, and circular stairs.
In 1905, the hotel was then turned into a tuberculosis sanatorium by D.E. Huffman. Donors helped equip the sanatorium with furnishings including floor boards and stair railings.
In the 1930s, the hotel was abandoned and the building along with 27 acres were sold at a tax sale to Teller County. Two years later, George Rush bought the land and razed the hotel to put in a cottage camp. There is now an apartment building that sits in the hotel’s previous spot.