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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Key to the Royal Tombs of Egypt

Good morning key lovers!

Today, I will take you half way around the world to explore a key that comes from the royal tombs in Egypt. The key is from the lock on the crypt where Ibrahim Pasha is entombed at the tombs of the califs dating to 600 A.D. “Ibrahim Pasha was the son of Mohamed Ala, the first Egyptian ruler and was the great emancipator of the Egyptians.” Pasha started off as a general in the Egyptian army as a teenager. He succeeded his father, who was the ruler of Egypt and Sudan, after he became ill. However, he died before his father, only four months after taking the throne.

Portrait d'Ibrahim Pacha 2.JPG
Ibrahim Pasha
The attached note says that the “key was obtained by Richard Spencer on his trip around the world in 1937.” There is now a monument erected to Pasha in Cairo. He was heralded as one of the greatest leaders of his dynasty due to his sweeping military victories. What other keys to royalty may be hidden among our walls?

Key to Pasha's crypt

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Polish Palace

Good afternoon everyone! 

This summer sure has flown by quickly, and I find myself on my second to last day here at the Baldpate before heading back to school. It's crazy how fast the summer has gone! Since it's my last time in the key room, I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite keys that I've come to love after spending my summer in the key room. 

When I was browsing the key room when I first got here this summer, this large key immediately caught my eye, but it wasn’t until a little later that I actually took some time to research it. I knew some preliminary information about the Wilanów Palace, but in my free time I was determined to learn some more about it. 

Key donated by Mrs. Sophia Zaleski Hinkle, longtime donor to our collection

The Wilanów Palace is located about five miles outside of Warsaw, Poland. Construction began in 1677 and was finished for a while in 1696 by King John Sobieski III. The residence started out small, but grew immensely as construction continued over the decades. The palace passed between Polish royalties as the centuries passed, falling in and out of the grandeur it was built to resemble.

Letter from Sophia, giving information about the
 key and including a picture of the palace at the time
of donation, 1936. 

The palace as it is today

Finally, after recovering from a spell of being neglected, the palace was returned to the splendor it was intended to have and was opened as one of the very first museums in Poland in 1805. The magnificent building was kept in pristine condition and had many rooms preserved in it. One of the most famous was the stark white hall built after King John’s time, which boasted a welcoming large white room for all. Others include chambers where parties would be held and bedrooms fit for kings.

The infamous White Hall, located near the palace entrance

Another hallmark of the palace is the portrait gallery that contains priceless paintings of Polish royalty and other influential members of the country’s past. These frames are preserved for all to look at even today, and tell the tale of many rulers time has forgotten.

A view down one of the hallways of the portrait gallery in the palace

I love this key because as it leads to one of the most beautiful palaces that the world has sometimes forgotten and it makes me feel connected to my family history, as we have a long, long line of Polish decent. There’s so many amazing stories to historical buildings and palaces alike in our key collection just waiting to be discovered. Come over for yourself and check them out before we close for the season in October! 

Written by:
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator

Source (for info and images): 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lindbergh Law

Good morning key scholars!

Today’s key has a unique connection to Charles Lindbergh, the famous transatlantic pilot of the Spirit of St. Louis, and a piece of legislative history. On March 1, 1932, Charles and his wife’s child, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered. Because of their high profile status, the nation was outraged by the crime against the Lindberghs. It took two years, but Bruno Richard Hauptmann was finally arrested for the kidnap and murder, before being convicted and executed in 1936.¹

Image result for lindbergh kidnapping
Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped in 1932

As a result of the popularity of this trial, the 1932 Federal Kidnapping Act, popularly called the Lindbergh Law, was passed. The law stated that it is “a federal offense to kidnap someone with the intent to seek a ransom or reward.”² Today’s key is connected directly to the implementation of this law. The key is to the handcuffs that were used on Arthur Gooch, the only person at that time to have been executed under the Lindbergh Law. The attached letter states that not only was Gooch the first person to be executed under the law, the same night his guilty verdict was returned, a jury convicted Hauptmann to death for his murder of Charles Jr.

Image result for arthur gooch
Arthur Gooch

Below is the full content of the attached letter:
                I understand you have accumulated a rare collection of historic keys and am enclosing one I feel will add materially to the value of your collection. 
                Attached hereto is the handcuff key used by a deputy United States marshal in the eastern district of Oklahoma to shackle Arthur Gooch, the only man in America so far executed under the Lindbergh Law, when he was transported from the city-federal hail at Muskogee, Oklahoma, to the state penitentiary at McAlester, Oklahoma, for incarceration in the death row. 
                Gooch, an escaped prisoner from the Hughes County, Oklahoma, jail was arrested on December 26, 1934, after having kidnapped two policeman in Paris, Texas, on November 26, 1934, and brought them across the state line into Oklahoma. He was indicted on May 30, 1935, and on June 10, 1935, the jury returned a verdict of guilty and assessed the punishment of hanging. 
                On June 19, 1935, Honorable Robert Lee Williams, Federal Judge for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, sentenced Gooch to hang setting the date of the execution for Friday, September 13, 1935. Gooch, however, immediately appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals at Denver. The case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the offense was ruled a violation of the Lindbergh Law, and the Supreme Court later refuse to take the appeal on a writ of certiorari. The mandate was returned and filed in the office of the U.S. Court Clerk on April 22, 1936. On Friday, June 19, 1936, the death warrant was returned to the clerk showing that the order of the court had been carried out, that Arthur Gooch had been executed at McAlester, Oklahoma, at 5 o’clock that morning. 
                To date, no other person has been hanged for the same offense. 
                Another odd angle to the case is that the indictment against Gooch was returned the same night jury at Trenton, N.J., dommed Bruno Richard Hauptmann to die for the murder of the Lindbergh baby. It was Hauptmann’s offense which caused Congress to pass the law under which Gooch was executed. 
                I trust this key may find a place in your collection. 
                                                                Sincerely yours,
                                                                John E. Tidwell
Key to Arthur Gooch's handcuffs
It is amazing how some of these keys are connected to famous people and famous events in the history of the U.S. Come find out for yourselves!

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Duke of Wellington

Hello friends of the Key Room!

It has been a few days since our last post but today’s should make up for our absence. The key for today belonged to the famous first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. The Duke is famous for his role in the Napoleonic Wars. This key, which was to his soap box, was carried with him through his most famous military achievement: the Battle of Waterloo. It was during this battle, in 1815, that the Duke of Wellington shared in the victory of Napoleon.

Later in life, the Duke became the prime minister of Britain and was praised for his honest character and as an uncorrupt politician. We were fortunate enough to be given this key by Mrs. Rex Philips Johnson who says she kept the soap box that the key belongs to. Though this key is small, it unlocks an important part of history and connects us to the “conquer of the world’s conquer.” What other keys might we have that are linked to major events in the world’s history? Come check it out for yourself!

Written by:
Brett Meyer

Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Discovering Wake

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to another blog from our key room!

Today I wanted to blog about a key that I talked about in my Summer Enchanted Evening on July 19th. I felt that a lot of the transportation keys in our collection were often overlooked, so I wanted to share an interesting story from one of them with you.

One of my favorite keys that I researched for my project was the key we have for the SS North Haven. Now, many people don’t know a whole lot about this little ship but it has a huge impact on American history.
Key donated by Steward Fred Scott

The SS North Haven left San Francisco on March 25, 1935, with the goal of discovering new islands that could help as bases in the forthcoming World War II. This strategy would be later called “Island Hopping” and be crucial to the victory of the Allies. The most important island that the North Haven would discover is the island of Wake. It was previously unexplored by white men and the natives had not yet come into contact with Europeans. This discovery, along with some other key finds, secured the SS North Haven a spot on a list of very important ships.
The SS North Haven at port

There’s so many cool stories just like this one in our key room, so come on up and check it out for yourself! 

Written by:
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator 


Second Image: 

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Cold War Hotel

Hello Everyone! Back again with a fascinating story about one of our keys here at The Baldpate Inn. A few weeks ago, I presented at a Summer Enchanted Evening event on Wartime Keys throughout the key room. The history I learned was truly captivating and the best part was that there were so many stories to tell. Although I did cover some of the American wars, there is one in particular I wasn’t able to learn about, until now.

This key was given to us in 1991, the very same year the Soviet Union fell apart and the Cold War was officially over. Marlene Remington of Colorado donated the key that unlocks room 7016 at the legendary Moskva Hotel (Russian for Moscow Hotel). The idea of building Hotel Moscow was constructed in the 1920s because the USSR government wanted to create a symbol for socialist construction that would challenge the buildings in Chicago and New York City. Construction began in 1932 and lasted until 1938 but the hotel officially opened its doors on December 20, 1935.

 Hotel Moscow is not part of the famed “Seven Sisters”, a group of skyscrapers in Moscow that are known to be designed in a “Stalinist” style. The “Seven Sisters” include the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel,The Hotel Ukraina, Kudrinskaya Square Building, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs main building, the main building of Moscow State University, and the Red Gates Administrative Building. The story goes that the architect Alexei Shchusev presented two separate designs of Hotel Moscow to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, but since they were on the same sheet of paper instead of picking one design like Shchusev would have hoped, Stalin signed the middle of the paper. Of course, no one wanted to question Stalin as to which building he wanted so both designs were constructed giving the building its asymmetrical style. Hotel Moscow was equipped with 1,000 guest rooms and known for providing its guests with high-profile luxury accommodations, including the hotels picture featured on every bottle of Stolichnaya vodka that is still produced today.

Years after Stalin’s reign had ended, a debate culminated around if the Hotel Moskva was a haunting reminder of Stalin and the Soviet Union or a historical architectural monument. It was finally decided in 2002 that the original Hotel Moscow would be demolished and a modern replica would be built in its place. Now, the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow features 21st century technology unaccompanied by the Stalinist design. Hotel Moscow serves as a symbol to the both dark and heroic era, but in any case a piece of the original Hotel Moskva can still be found in our key room.

Until next time!

Jessica Carter, Baldpate Museum Curator

Sources: Hotel Moskva