Grand Lake History

Grand Lake History

Our area is steeped in fascinating history stretching from the days when Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians used our famous valley for summer hunting and fishing grounds. Explorers pushed west and traded in skins. Finally Grand Lake was settled with year-round residents in 1867. The discovery of silver, although short lived, brought more people to our area. Finally tourists arrived and hotels were built.

Walking through downtown Grand Lake is like stepping back in time.

The Grand Lake Area Historical Society offers a great walking tour and the self-guided tour pamphlet (50c donation) is available at the Rapids Lodge front desk.

So next time you are in Grand Lake, take a walk and read up about:

  • The Grand Lake Yacht Club (est. 1902)
  • Some of the great old houses for example “The Spider House” which has a rather tragic history.
  • The public square.
  • The Lariat Saloon (est. 1924).
  • The Grand Lake Mercantile general store (early 1900s).
  • The glacial moraine that Grand Avenue intersects.
  • Humphreys Store (Est. 1908).
  • The Smith-Eslick Cottage Court (fine example of an early motel accommodating motor vehicles).
  • The Kauffman House, an early Grand Lake hotel (Est. 1892).

Of course the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is on the list (est. 1915) and Laps Ish, who built the Rapids, also had a house just down Rapids Lane dating from 1900. Did you know that the Rapids Lodge was one of the first hotels in the area to have running water, electricity and heat! The Rapids had a water powered generator just upstream from the building in the North Inlet.

The Rapids Restaurant is a great place to enjoy a meal overlooking the Tonahutu Creek and we are in a prime location from which to explore Rocky Mountain National Park in any season. Our low season rates begin early October and run through Mid-June and are hard to beat: just $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people. Pets are welcome in some units too. We invite you to visit in any season, there is always lots to do and the beauty of the area will astound you.