Saturday, September 29, 2012

Baldpate Family Memories

As you may be aware, the Baldpate Inn has been run by two families since its very beginning. Those families, however, go beyond just the Mace and Smith family trees. Our staff lives, works, and plays for a full season together and by the end of their stay, they are inextricably tied to the Baldpate Inn's history. This extended family's geneology spans 95 years of operation and has undergone several changes as times have evolved, but the feeling of being home in a rustic mountain inn will never leave.

For this Share Your Story series, Becky Page Yoza recalled her experiences at the Baldpate Inn, and we are privileged  to include some of what she told us here:

"I worked at Baldpate twice.  The first was the summer of 1991 after I graduated from high school.  I was a rotator so I did every job except front desk.  Harold did front desk back then.  He was 150 years old but we loved him.  My favorite job was laundry, believe it or not.  Using the mangler was the best part.  My least favorite job is probably housekeeping.  I’d do dish dog over housekeeping to this day.  The second was the summer of 2003 when I just moved to Colorado.  I was much older at this point and worked in many other capacities and Lois was doing me a favor by hiring me part-time on the desk.  It was so different the second time around not living at Baldpate and only working part-time and only doing one job.  I couldn’t complain because it was still great.  It was so different being so old compared to the rest of the staff.
If I tell you the type of music I listened to as Dish Dog it will definitely date me.  However, I always listend to hip hop and/or rap to the annoyance of my team.   My first year we had several “lifers” that had worked at Baldpate multiple times and knew the drill.  That was very helpful.  I remember Brad and Barb Martin.  Of course there’s MacKenzie and Jen.  I miss Duke.  He wasn’t an employee but he was part of the staff.  As a guard dog he had an important task although most times he was lounging on the porch and people had to step over him to get in.  Or, he was running down through town and Lois or Mike had to go retrieve him.  I didn’t say he was a very good guard dog!
I remember MacKenzie camping out in the car next to the dumpster to see the bear who kept breaking into the dumpster. He was about 13.  I remember the building getting hit by lightning one day during a mid-day thunderstorm.  I remember the squirrels running through the dining room; always a hit. Not! I remember a giant grey squirrel sitting behind my customer as I delivered the bill in the near empty dining room late at night.  I remember trying not to react as I handed it over and slowly backed away from the table.  I remember the second time I worked there a bear was seen at the back of the lodge on the hill.  I went outside to see as the bear walked into the building through the second floor door that was always open right by the staff laundry room.  I could have done without that.
Many things changed from the first time I worked there to the second.  The second time we had the computer system which we didn’t before. Also, we served alcohol which we never did before.  Not too much else was different.  The cornbread is still a great hit.  The Beef Stew is still huge.  I still dream about Lois’ pecan pie.
I left the key from my 1999 Red VW Beetle that met a very tragic and untimely end on the I-25 in Denver.  I had a love/hate relationship with that car.  I loved it in the very beginning and then when stuff starting going wrong I wanted desperately to get rid of the car. However, I didn’t mean for the car to meet such a tragic end.  I find sometimes that I long for certain things about that car and forget some of the bad qualities about it.  This is just like any ex-relationship.  Moreover, I find it quite symbolic of my experiences at Baldpate in that some of the best and worst moments in my personal life occurred there.  However, now that I live many thousands of miles away I find myself longing for Baldpate and the memories I had there.  It will always have a special place in my heart, kind of like that car.  I have found my key since I left it there.  I find it every time I come back."
The Mangler PosterBecky's memories certainly resonate with present and past staff, but for non-staff members the words"Dish Dog" and "Mangle" may be new. To keep our non-staff family in the loop, we can explain those terms.

At the Baldpate, rotating staff has several different positions ranging from wait staff, prep cook, housekeeper, and dishwasher. Our dishwasher of the day is affectionately known as a Dish Dog, and they double as the kitchen DJ. On housekeeping days, rotators are in charge of laundry. Our basement houses an industrial sized ironing machine. One year the staff discovered a horror movie about a similar machine, entitled The Mangler. The name stuck, along with some related graffiti on the wall above the machine for the entertainment of future Baldpate housekeepers.

Thanks to Becky for sharing her Baldpate experience with our extended family! If you are interested in being featured for a Baldpate Share Your Story, email us at

Key Room Museum Curator

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reminicent Registers

One of the most rewarding parts of the Baldpate Inn Key Room is the living history that survives here. Since our collections are comprised of visitor contributions, many of our guests have a special tie to the keys, photographs, and even our guest registers.

The Baldpate has the distinction of being the only inn in Colorado with a complete set of original guest registers since opening. We have been working to document the incredible wealth of information these registers contain, and with good reason.

Just recently, a couple came to the Baldpate in search of their names in the 1968 guest register. They explained that they got married on August 14 and had driven their yellow Triumph TR250 to the Baldpate for their honeymoon. The newly married Wilhites spent a few days in Estes Park to begin their long, happy marriage.

This August 14th, the Wilhites celebrated their 44th anniversary by coming to visit the bed and breakfast where they spent their honeymoon. After quite a bit of searching through our 95 years worth of guest signatures, we were able to find an unassuming signature of Mr. & Mrs. Q. M. Wilhite, who stayed in room 14. The couple was excited to have finally found their signature after a few unsuccessful attempts in previous years of visiting while the inn was not open. The Wilhites found a priceless token of the beginning of their marriage as part of their celebration.

At the Baldpate, we have embarked on the task of copying the names and information located in these registers for their preservation and research. Some of our earliest registers contain sketches by the local Estes Park artist, Dave Stirling. Because we wish to keep all parts of our historic registers for the use and enjoyment of the public, the registers are being documented in photographic form as well as through a database. Eventually, we hope to be able to link our guest registers with our key database, and even our photograph collection so that we can align guest signatures, keys and portraits. Until then though, feel free to come and sign in on the register. When you come back in 44 years, your name will be waiting for you!

Key Room Museum Curator

Key Room News: Join us at 7 pm tonight to hear Estes Park Museum Director Derek Fortini present this season's last Summer Enchanted Evening, Charles Mace: Photography and Life in anticipation for their upcoming exhibit on the photography of one of the Baldpate's original owners.