The Baldpate Inn is next to the Rocky Mountain National Park, seven miles south of Estes Park, Colorado. The Classic Bed and Breakfast has been offering mountain getaways to guests for 90 years. The original owners of the inn are believed to be staying at the bed and breakfast in the mountains.
The builders and longtime owners of the Baldpate Inn were Gordon and Ethel Mace. The Mace’s were newlyweds when they homesteaded the property in 1911.
It is believed that both Gordon and Ethyl have remained at the inn. The ghost of Ethyl haunts her old room. Ethyl especially likes to spend time in the Key Room. Ethyl also sits in a wing-backed rocker in front of a fireplace while reading a Bible. It is believed that Ethyl supported the prohibitionists. She continues to spill alcoholic mixed drinks. Drinks also tend to fly off the tables.
Gordon did not like smoking. The lodge does not allow smoking. If a guest does light up a cigarette something smashes the cigarette. Cigarette packs sometimes mysteriously go missing.
History of the Baldpate Inn
The Baldpate Inn was originated by a newly married couple, Gordon and Ethel Mace, along with Gordon’s two brothers, Charles and Stuart Mace. When Gordon and Ethel Mace visited Estes Park on their honeymoon in 1911, the were so taken with the beauty of the area that they decided to homestead the property. At first they built a small cabin and planted rhubarb to meet the requirements of the Homestead Act. The Mace family built several small cabins for tourists, to supplement their income.
The Mace family hospitality was in such demand that they had to expand. They made plans to build an inn, which opened in 1917. Financial resources were limited so the Mace family used the natural resources that were available. Baldpate Inn was constructed of hand-hewn timber cut from their property. Massive stone fireplaces were built for hot water and warmth. The Baldpate Inn had amenities including electric lights, hot running water and indoor plumbing.
The Baldpate Inn was named after a fictional mystery novel, “Seven Keys to Baldgate” by Earl Derr Biggers. Biggers visited the property and stated that the inn was so similar to his imaginary Baldpate Inn that the Mace’s Inn would become the “real” Baldpate Inn. In the storyline of the mystery novel, each of seven visitors traveled to the closed-in-wintertime hotel. Each visitor thought that he, or she, had the only key to the inn.
The Mace family, in keeping with the storyline of the novel, gave each visitor to the Inn a key of their own. The tradition of giving out keys continued until the outbreak of World War I. The price of metal during wartime became so expensive that they could not afford the practice of giving away keys.
Regular guests were so disappointed that the tradition of the keys was discontinued that they started bringing a key back to the inn with them each year. There was some competition between guests to bring the best and most exotic key to the Baldpate Inn each year.
The Mace family decided to display all of the keys, thus starting what would become the world’s largest key collection. The Baldpate key collection numbers over 20,000 keys. There are keys from the Pentagon, Westminster Abby, Mozart’s wine cellar and Frankenstein’s castle. The large key collection is displayed in two rooms, covering the walls and hanging from the ceilings.
The Smith family is the second family to own and operate the Baldpate Inn. The Smith family purchased the Inn in 1986. The Baldpate Inn is open from Memorial Day until mid October. There are twelve guest rooms, many with fabulous views of the surrounding area. The Inn sits on 15 acres and is surrounded by Rocky MountainsNational Park and National Forest Lands.
The Baldpate Inn sits on Twin Sisters Mountain at an elevation of 9,000 feet. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, hiking, wildlife watching and mountain climbing from the inn. The Baldpate Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.