Friday, June 21, 2019

Keys With a lot of Teeth

Hello again Everybody! It's been a wonderful week up here at the Baldpate with many a person coming through to see our collection of keys. Today I was trying to determine what theme to follow for this week's ceiling highlight. It wasn't until my friend Matt, our Dining Manager pointed out a certain key that I was struck with inspiration. As is always the case with me the idea was the simplest one I could do but had eluded my simply from its simplicity. Without further ado then I will get on with tonight's showcase of Keys with a lot of Teeth, completely counter to last weeks theme.

The first key I'll look at is the inspirational key itself, a unique looking thing that is listed as a Lightning Rod Key. I had two thoughts upon seeing it, the first of course was is this a play on Benjamin Franklin's famed kite & key experiment? The second was do lightning rods actually need keys? The key itself was created by Robbin's Lightning Protective Co. which seems to lead credence to the second idea. But of course it might just be a marketing ploy based off of the founding father. If it truly is a key for lightning rods is it used to disrupt their ground system in some way? Honestly, if anybody has the answer I'd be ecstatic to get an email at willing to share with us.

The second key is a little less auspicious and mysterious, with a much more straightforward purpose and origin. A key to the University of Chicago it is simply an interesting looking key with equidistant teeth symmetrically placed on the keys neck. Donated to us in 1923 I'm curious to know if the key still works to some long forgotten door in the college, and what such a key arrangement actually protects considering how regular it is.

The final key for tonight's highlight is almost an up-scaled version of the previous one. With seven pairs of robust teeth, two of which are angularly cut. My searches dug up a style of key which lines up with the name left for they, specifically as a Scandinavian key. Designed for use with a Scandinavian lock system, the company who's style most immediately relates to my physical one is that of Star Lock Works a Philadelphia, PA based company. These lock and key systems worked off of however many teeth were cut at an angle, leading to a limited amount of combinations.

Well those are my three ceiling highlights for the week, I hope everybody found them as interesting as I did.

Until next time,


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Keys Without Teeth

Good Evening Everybody! This is Colton hopping on to highlight a triplet of keys that caught my eye while combing our ceiling collection. So I decided to use them for the first of a weekly series in which I take down some of our more humble keys and put them on the stage of the internet for all to see. Without further ado I'll get into the keys of interest tonight!

Each of these keys has a unifying theme which directed my choosing them tonight. The first one which dictated this choice was a Digital Equipment key used to turn a computer mainframe on & off. The following pictures depict this key and reveal my choice of theme, namely that these keys don't have any teeth! This key in particular has a hexagonal shaped neck rounding down into its flattened end. This makes it little more than a fancy Allen wrench and considering its purpose shows the utilitarian design of the key.

The second key for today's highlight pictured below is a most peculiar one made from a dark metal with a diamond head. It's neck is completely rectangular, making for a sleek flattened profile. On its tag it is listed as a paupers casket key from the Boyertown Casket Company in PA. Carved into the diamond is a B with a four pointed star crossing it. Similarly to the above key it wouldn't take much to open the intended lock without it, but as a ceremonial key it serves its purpose with style. From the moment I saw this key and input it into our collection I knew I would be showcasing it at some point, and I'm happy it happened so soon.

The final key seen below is an Ilco Marlock that was used for room 228 at the Little America lodge in WY. Donated as a replacement for a forgotten house key it is an interesting example of key innovation. The three black stripes on it cover up a specific combination of holes which are maintained in a central computer database. When the key is used in a door a sensor passes Infrared light through it and if it detects a valid combination opens the door.

Well, that's all for tonight folks. I'll catch y'all next week same time for the next part of this weekly series, and maybe we'll see a more in depth post on a more famous key or two in between.

Have a good night,


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Colton Morton 2019 Key Curator

Howdy Everybody!

      My name is Colton Morton and I will be serving as the curator for our collections here at the Baldpate Inn this 2019 season, most specifically the Key Room of course. I'll periodically be posting on some of our interesting collections and special events happening in our Key Room, such as our Summer Enchanted Evening series. So keep an eye out for those going forward!

      A little bit about me so you can become more familiar. I am a recent graduate in History from CSU, Colorado State University, in Fort Collins. To me History has long been a focus for my interest, namely in looking at the little day to day stories people leave behind through letters, journals, personal items, etc. This translated easily into my other interest of Anthropology which looks at the myriad peoples around the world today, and in the past, through their cultures and artifacts. The Key Room being such a space of wonderful items piqued my interest, and I hope will be the first step into a long career in such spaces.

      Beyond my academic interests I have spent many of my summers growing up in one set of mountains or another, specifically the Sierra Nevada back in my home state of California. I spent those days working my way up through the Boy Scouts of America until I was actually working at camps teaching youths in the same way I was once taught. Now given the chance to illuminate a much wider audience on the ins and outs of Baldpate Inn and its collections I feel like my formative years have truly come full circle.

      I look forward to interacting with all of you who join us in person here at the inn, as well as through the blog as we enjoy another enchanting summer in the Rockies!

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Couple of Brand New Junior Key Collectors

Good Day Everybody,

      Today we just had a couple of youngsters tour the Baldpate Key Room for the first time! Undaunted these two, Annie & Harry, ventured forth on our scavenger hunt challenge, and while the Gnome, wily as he is, tripped them at first they completed it with flying colors.

       So let's give a round of congratulations to these two intrepid detectives, and of course the wonderful parental units who kept their energy channeled in the right direction!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Key to Travel

Our key today comes all the way from Washington DC, and if you like to travel,  I think you'll especially like this key!

This key opens the front door of the United States Travel Bureau in Washington DC. The key was donated in 1941 by W. Bruce Macnamee, who worked for this department of the government. As someone who worked with National Parks, I'm sure the Baldpate being right next to Rocky Mountain National Park was a great delight for him. He kindly sent the key and encouraged them to visit whenever possible.

The Travel Bureau was started in 1937 as a way to promote National Parks to both US citizens and international visitors. It opened using emergency funds and the founders hoped Congress would legitimize it with a budget, which they did by 1940. The Bureau was used to promote American tourism by publishing pamphlets and also attending fairs to encourage people to explore their own country. A lot of now retro posters of National Parks used for marketing back then were created by this Bureau and some are still used as marketing tools today.

Unfortunately, World War II would be the demise of the Travel Bureau, as it would not make it into the fiscal budget of 1942, signalling its end by 1943. Though it was short lived, the Travel Bureau sparked a love of cross country exploration in the American people that would persist until even today.

Today, the Bureau of Consular Affairs is the modern day equivalent and functions in a similar way that the Travel Bureau did. It was started in 1979 and has some of the original functions that the Travel Bureau had but also encompasses a lot more.

There's so many interesting keys like this one in our collection, so head on up to our key room and take a look around for yourself! In the past two years we've been working on a new feature in our key room so you can learn about our keys if there's not a curator present! Just download a QR code reader and then scan the codes by different keys and it'll take you to a blog post just like this one!

Written by: Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator 

Source Used
Garden of the Gods

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Smo-"Key" the Dog

Attention dog lovers, this one is for you!

If you've been to the Baldpate, you know we have keys of all sorts: sock mon-"keys", piano keys, and many others. While we have many famous keys in our collection, sometimes the lesser known stories that hang on our walls deserve showcasing as well.

Smo-"Key" the German Shepherd is no exception. Smoky belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wagner of Greeley, Colorado and was their beloved companion for many years. This picture was donated by couple in 1937 after a recent trip up to the Baldpate and visiting the key collection. After the visit, Smoky donned a lock on his collar, as he was the key, creating a complete set. They thought the play on words that came from his name was a clever way to honor their beloved pup and also make a contribution to our collection, as they had greatly enjoyed the company of Gordon and Ethel during their visit.

Moose, the Baldpate's German Shepherd, offers companionship to all our staff and visitors just as Smoky did to the Wagners. Though he doesn't have a "key" in his name, he's still a very important member of our Baldpate family.

There are so many stories here in our key room waiting to be told- Smoky and the Wagners are just an example of countless tales all our pictures, keys, and objects tell. Come up for a visit and discover all the stories waiting to be told (and maybe give Moose a pat hello)!

Written by: 
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Welcome Back!

Welcome to our 101st season everyone!
We’re happy to see familiar and new faces in our key room this year so far, but if you haven’t been able to visit again or for the first time, we’d love for you to come back! I was one of the curators last year and I’m back for a second year in key room and would love to show you around.
Yesterday was our 101st birthday so in honor of that I’d like to show you some of my favorite Baldpate related items!
Did you know that the town we call home, Estes Park, is only a few weeks older than the Baldpate? Gordon and Ethel Mace homesteaded just outside the main town and opened the bed and breakfast to allow folks to enjoy our beautiful mountain views.

One of Charles Mace's cameras
If you've visited us before, you’re probably familiar with the hundreds of photographs that decorate our halls but did you know that all the pictures that line our walls were taken by Gordon’s brother Charles? He was a photographer following a few major generals in World War II and then continued his career as a photographer for the Denver Post. When it was time to retire, Charles found himself in possession of countless pictures he’d taken over his career, so Gordon and Charles decided the best course of action was to put the photos up in the Inn, where they’ve been ever since.

Our key room boasts over 30,000 keys, but we have two keys that claim to be the first. One is by playwright George M. Cohan, the man who is responsible for the play and earliest movie adaption of our namesake novel by Earl Derr Biggers. The second comes from famed lawyer Clarence Darrow, who is perhaps most well-known for his work on the Scopes Monkey Trial. This trial would put him on the map and solidify his career. Both these famous guests of the Baldpate donated their keys in 1923, but since the exact dates of donation are not known, it look like it’s impossible to know which key really is the “first” key to Baldpate.
All of our keys tell a fascinating story and the photographs are a delight to look at which makes a trip to the Baldpate a surefire way to turn any afternoon around. Thanks for strolling down memory lane with us today and we hope to see you in our key room soon!

Written by:
Victoria Witkowski, returning Museum Curator