Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Seven Keys Production

Welcome back!

Today’s key has a special connection to the Baldpate Inn. This key was used in the production of “Seven Keys to Baldpate” in the 1929 and donated to the Key Room in 1930 by Richard Dix. Dix was the actor who played William Magee in the movie and decided to donate the key after he discovered there actually was a Baldpate Inn. This movie version of the novel was produced by RKO Studios and was the first film of “Seven Keys to Baldpate” with sound. Prior to this film, all productions were either silent or plays.

Speaking of plays, this past weekend marked the last showing of Encore Encore’s take on the “Seven Keys to Baldpate.” The play was not only funny and exciting, it also exhibited the history of the Baldpate by reliving the novel that gave us our name. If you missed the play, you can still catch one of the many movies or plays that have been made throughout the years. Even better, stop in and purchase your own copy of the novel “Seven Keys to Baldpate” so that you can fully appreciate the history of the inn.

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Key to Paradise

Howdy key lovers!

        In celebration of our first day of "Summer in the Keys," today's key comes from an island just off the coast of Florida.  In fact, it is the key to the city of Key West.  You might say it's a key to a Key!

Front of the key to Key West, donated by Stuart Miller.

Back of the key to Key West, which includes a thermometer.

        The island of Key West is only about 4.2 square miles in size, but this small island holds many great treasures!  Some may not know, but Key West has a rich history beginning in precolonial times.  The earliest records of the island indicate that it was occupied by the Calusa people before conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon claimed the territory in the name of Spain in 1521.  The first name given to the island by the Spanish was Cayo Hueso, which literally means "Bone Island".  The Spanish chose this name because they discovered that the Calusa people had been using the island as a communal graveyard and they found the remains of thousands of the island's deceased natives upon their arrival.

        Although Great Britain held a short claim to the island of Key West, it was primarily under the ownership of Spain.  In 1815, the island was given to Spanish navy officer Juan Pablo Salas by the governor of Cuba.  After Florida became part of the United States in 1821, the island passed into the hands of  John Simonton, an American private businessman.  The island was desired by many because of its strategic location for shipping between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.  In fact, the island became known as the Gibraltar of the West because of its access to such large amounts of commerce.

Sign in Key West depicting its strategic location for commerce.

        A few years later, Fort Zachary Taylor, an American naval base, was built on Key West.  Because of the presence of the naval base on the island prior to 1861, Key West remained part of the Union during the American Civil War despite Florida's decision to secede and join the Confederacy.  Key West was in some ways "key" to the success of the Union army.  The Union's control over much of the South's salt production and its strategic location in the center of Southern commerce gave it the upper hand in the islands and the southern regions of Florida.

Fort Zachary Taylor, Union outpost during the Civil War.

Key West, the island paradise.

        By 1889, Key West was Florida's largest and most affluent city.  Today, Key West serves as a popular vacation destination for thousands of tourists each year.  Its gorgeous landscape and tropical climate make it a perfect getaway for individuals and families all over the United States, so it's not surprising that tourism remains the main driver of the city's economy.  Key West also has a historic district where guests can enjoy the history of some of the island's first structures.  Here at the Baldpate Inn, we are delighted to own the key to this little slice of paradise.  Come visit us in our mountain paradise to see this key to a Key, and make sure you stop in to check out our "Summer in the Keys" event going on until Tuesday, July 18th!

Blog written by:
Alicia Byers
Museum Curator, The Baldpate Inn

Key West History

Key West
Key West Attractions
Fort Zachary Taylor

Friday, July 14, 2017

Key to a Defeated Race & New Beginnings

Howdy key lovers!

        Today's key takes us back to the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 1500s and the defeat of the mighty South American Inca Empire by Francisco Pizarro.  This key unlocks a monastery in Cusco, Peru, and the key was crafted by the followers of Francisco Pizarro in the early 1500s.

Key to a monastery in Cusco, Peru, donated by
Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Gates.

        Cusco, sometimes spelled Cuzco, is a city in the Peruvian Andes that was once the capital of the ancient Inca Empire.  The famous Inca citadel known as Machu Picchu (you may have heard of it!) is located just outside the city of Cusco.  The city was acquired by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro after his army defeated and dismantled the Inca Empire in 1532.  The battle started when the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, refused to pay tribute to the King of Spain.  The Inca Emperor, who boasted an army of 50,000 men, felt confident that Pizarro's force of just 110 foot soldiers and 67 cavalrymen was no match for his enormous Inca military.  However, enraged at Atahualpa's refusal to pay tribute to the Spanish Emperor, Charles V, Pizarro attacked the Inca Emperor.  The Spanish successfully captured Atahualpa and his 12 closest advisers.  All were executed, bringing an end to the powerful Inca Empire.

Stamp depicting Francisco Pizarro and a map of Peru to
commemorate the 500th anniversary of discovering
the Americas.

City street in Cusco, Peru.

        In the early 16th Century, the national religion of Spain was the Roman Catholic religion, and the Spanish always made it a point to bring Catholicism with them to all the colonies they established in the New World.  After the Spanish defeated the Inca, they built monasteries and cathedrals as places of worship for the Spanish clergymen and settlers.  Our key opens the doors to one such monastery built by the Spaniards in the conquered city.

While we do not know the exact monastery to which our key belongs,
this is an example of a monastery built by the Spanish in Cusco, Peru.

        Today, this key hangs in the Baldpate Key Room as a symbol of a once mighty empire lost to the world.  It also represents the birth of a new civilization in Latin America and the introduction of a new religious culture in the region.  Overall, this key embodies just one of the historically meaningful events that we wish to learn about and preserve here at the Baldpate.  Come visit us in the Key Room to see this incredible ancient key and many others like it!

Blog written by:
Alicia Byers
Museum Curator, The Baldpate Inn



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Keys to a Happy Marriage

Hey everyone!

I have a really cool story to share with you today!

The keys donated on the happy couple's wedding date 1990

Colorado natives Elizabeth and Whitney Childs-Goodrich have a wonderful and memory filled history with the Baldpate Inn.  They made one of their first big memories with us in 1990 when they got married in our beloved key room, commemorating their special day with two keys to hang in the Colorado section of our rafters. The keys pictured above are the two donated on the day of their wedding and have been hanging ever since.

Photos from Elizabeth and Whitney's
 wedding in 1990 

Another huge milestone celebrated at the Inn was when Elizabeth found out she was expecting their second child while staying with us. Earlier this week, the whole family returned this past Fourth of July and shared their story with the staff and told us that on a past visit they had been unable to locate their wedding keys. Thanks to our database and some help from our intern Jessica, we were able to find the wedding keys and the whole family posed with them outside the Inn to give a happy ending to the Fourth of July.

The Childs-Goodrich family poses with their
wedding key on the Fourth of July, 2017

There’s so many wonderful stories here in the key room just like this one, so why don’t you come find one for yourself, or even start a story of your own! 

Written by: 
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Key of Life

Hello everyone!

Today I found a really amazing key that comes to us all the way from Egypt! This key is labeled as “The Key of Life” and is from a hotel room from the Shepeard’s Hotel in Cairo. It’s dated from March 1921, making it one of the older keys in our collection. This beautiful ivory key was brought to us by Felix VanCleff and is mostly likely one of our earliest acquired keys.

Key donated by Felix VanCleff in March of 1921

The symbol found on this key is one that is important to the Egyptian culture, meaning “life” and also being very closely related to deities. Many pharaohs and gods are depicted holding this looped cross, named Ankh, in ancient hieroglyphics. The origin of it are unknown as it is such an ancient symbol, but two popular theories include that it is shaped like a sandal because they share the same word root and sandals were vital to Egyptian life, which was fitting as it was a symbol for life. The other theory is that it is modeled after the goddess Isis’ belt buckle, as she is often a symbol of fertility, which is closely related to life. Both of these are accepted among scholars and provide insight into ancient life.

Ancient Egyptian statue holding an ankh in each hand

We have keys from all corners the world here at the Baldpate, so why don’t you come down and check them out for yourself! 

Written by: 
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator


Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Deutschland Submarine

Happy July everyone!

Starting today, the first week in July, and continuing throughout August, we will be focusing on a different decade each week to commemorate all that has happened throughout the last 100 years of the Baldpate’s history. During this time, blog posts will focus on either keys or Baldpate history from a particular decade. This first week starts with the 1920s, just a few years after the Baldpate opened.

However, this first blog will go back slightly further, to when the Baldpate first opened, and focus on a key that represents a major world event at the time of our opening, WWI. As many of you know, WWI lasted from 1914 to 1918 in which the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) fought against the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, and the U.S.)¹. Even though the United States and Germany were on opposing sides, it did not stop trade between the two super powers. Despite blockades attempting to stifle trade, the North German Lloyd Line developed away around this by building the “Deutschland,” a cargo submarine for which we are fortunate enough to have obtained the key.

The “Deutschland” was one of the first UA-class boats built, later known as U-boats, but it was unarmed and intended only to carry cargo. The submarine was used for high-value trans-Atlantic trade, which it accomplished by diving to avoid British patrols. On its first trip in 1916, it arrived in Baltimore carrying dyes, medicines, and gemstones. It made another trip to the U.S., this time to New London, Connecticut, which turned out to be its last. By 1917, relations between the U.S. and Germany had further deteriorated forcing the “Deutchland” to be converted for war duty as an armed submarine. After the war, it was brought to England as a war trophy before finally being dismantled in 1921².

The "Deutschland" in Baltimore Harbor, 1916.

The "Deutschland" in New London, 1916.

It is interesting how, despite war, countries continue to interact to make sure their economies flourish. Without keys like this one, this realization would be lost to history. Stop by our Key Room today and see if you can find a key that unlocks a piece of history. Also, be sure to check back here the rest of this week to learn more about the history surrounding decade when our inn first opened

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Thursday, June 29, 2017

From Indiana to Colorado; One of the Many Keys at Baldpate

Good afternoon everyone!

The key donated by the 21 graduating senior of Arsenal Techincal High School in Indiana

Today’s key comes to us all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana. This key was brought to us in 1936 by the graduating senior class of the same year at Arsenal Technical High School. These seniors passed this key along to the Baldpate Inn because it was used in their own production of Seven Keys to Baldpate, which they put on in their auditorium on November 22, 1935.

The novel that we’re named after and that the play is modeled around was written in 1913, with the play being written soon after that. Earl Derr Biggers actually came to stay with us here at the Baldpate and while he was wondering about our lodge, he told the Mace family that it was exactly how he imagined the lodge in his book! Thus we were given our wonderful name. 

Our own Millennium edition of the infamous novel 

Here at the Baldpate Inn, we’ve put on many productions of the beloved George M. Cohen play adaption of the novel, and in honor our 100th birthday, we’re putting it on once again. The play starts this Friday and will run for the next three weekends, so be sure to come on down to the Baldpate and check it out!  Give our front desk a call or check out our website for show times and ticket prices at 970.586.5397 or www.baldpateinn.com. 

Written by: 
Victoria and Jessica, Museum Curators