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 

Written by: 
Victoria and Jessica, Museum Curators 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Key to Practices of the Past

Hello key enthusiasts!

Today’s key carries a more somber tone, but provides an insight into an interesting piece of New York history. The key originates from the town of Hillsdale in Columbia County, New York. This area of New York was very active during the Revolutionary War and, when the war ended, the town of Hillsdale was founded in 1790. This region continued to play an important role in war as would be seen later in the Civil War.

Key to Hillsdale vault 

However, even before the town was officially founded, there were people staying on this land. As is the course of life, people died and sometimes this occurred during the winter months when the ground was too frozen to dig the graves. Before the introduction of morgues and their ability to store bodies throughout the winter, the people of Columbia County and the town of Hillsdale stored their deceased in a vault in the ground until they were able to be buried in the spring. This key opened the “tomb in which they placed the bodies.”

Attached letter explaining the key's significance

As the attached note says, once spring came, a mass funeral was held that could involve up to twelve funerals at once. With the prominence of war in this region, it is possible that this number could be even larger. Despite the morbid nature of this key, it gives an interesting perspective on how people lived before the advent of modern conveniences. Come visit our Key Room and see if you can find any other keys that unlock the past.

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Small Key to a Big Piece of History

Howdy key lovers!

          Next week I will be going on an adventure to Washington DC!  In anticipation of my trip, and in celebration of our nation’s birthday next week, today’s key is from the capital city herself!  It is the key to the men’s restroom at the White House!

Key to the Men’s Room at the White House, donated by
Mark Luke Davis III.

          While somewhat comical, this key also holds great significance to our nation’s history.  In 1791, George Washington chose the site for the White House, and the cornerstone of the building was laid in 1792.  However, the original building was burned by the British during the War of 1812, and reconstruction began around the end of 1814.  In 1817, President Monroe was able to move into the new residence with his family, and a few additions were made to the building over the following ten years.  After Teddy Roosevelt took office, he chartered large scale renovations to the White House, including a move of the President’s Office from the second floor to what is now known as the West Wing.  Another important change was the construction of the Oval Office during President Taft’s administration.  In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt officially named the President’s home “The White House”.  In the early 1950s, it was discovered that the White House was suffering from serious structural issues.  The entire house was renovated during the Truman administration and everything except the outer walls was demolished and rebuilt.

Drawing of the White House in 1792 by James Hoban.

Reconstructed White House after it was burned during the
War of 1812 (photograph taken in 1901).

Martin Luther King and Lyndon B. Johnson meeting in the Oval Office
of the White House in 1963.

Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher meeting on the
White House lawn in 1987.

George W. Bush giving his Farewell Address from the East Room of the
White House in 2009.

          Today, the White House has 35 bathrooms…and we have the key to one of them!  I cannot wait to see this incredible portion of American history for myself next week; and as for you, come visit us at the Baldpate Key Room to see our little key to a big piece of history!

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


Monday, June 26, 2017

First Tunnel Through the Continental Divide

Welcome back to another blog from the Key Room!

Today’s trip around our museum doesn’t involve an actually key but rather another piece of history that is on prominent display. If you have ever visited our Key Room, I am sure you have seen the stone sitting on the table with a big metal key in it. Did you know that it is a significant piece of Colorado history?

Hole to the Alva B. Adams Tunnel
This inconspicuous stone slab with a hole in it was part of the first tunneling project through the Continental Divide, which created the Alva B. Adams Tunnel in the 1940s. The tunnel re-directed parts the Colorado River and other rivers to provide water to the Eastern Slope. The tunnel, which is 13.1 miles long, is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project that spans 250 miles to bring water from the Western Slope of the divide to the Eastern Slope.

      Construction of Adams Tunnel

Construction of the Adams Tunnel

Accompanying the stone was a tag explaining the story behind the hole:

For Gordon Mace—Baldpate Inn
            First Hole to Through the Continental Divide
           When there was 35 feet left to drill in the 13 mile Alva B. Adams Tunnel a pilot hole was drilled to find the distance between the two drilling crews. Since all other holes were shot and this one is not it is a part of the first hole through the Continental Divide.
                                -Presented by George W. and Lee Parker

The tunnel was completed in 1944 when the two tunnels were connected by dynamite blasts. Next time you stop by the Key Room, check out the humble stone slab in the middle of the room and realize that you are witnessing a piece of Colorado history.

Written By:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Key to Refreshment

Hello everyone!

Today as I was wondering around the key room looking for a key to blog about, I stumbled upon a classic American drink that donated a key to our collection, or rather a Colorado representative of the famous Cola.

Key donated by James A. Gooding Jr.

This key was added to our collection in 1946, by James A. Gooding Jr., in honor of his company buying the production and distribution rights of Dr. Pepper. Gooding was the president of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company located in Denver and provided Pepsi products to most of Colorado. After the acquisition of Dr. Pepper, he was able to provide Colorado with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Patio Orange, Teem, and Dr. Pepper.

The Pepsi-Cola logo at the time of the key's donation

Pepsi was created in 1893 in North Carolina by Caleb Davis Bradham and became an overnight sensation, debuting as “Brad’s Drink”. By 1898, the drink had been renamed to its now iconic Pepsi-Cola, supposedly being able to aid in digestion, but still only being sold as a syrup to mix at home. By 1902 Bradham had formed a corporation under the same name and within the next two years, the demand for the Pepsi-Cola syrup became so high, Bradham decided to start bottling a drink premade with the syrup. World War I took a toll on the company which forced Bradham to sell it, but Pepsi is still one of the most iconic drinks in America and across the world, despite the ups and downs the company faced. 

The founder of Pepsi-Cola, Caleb Davis Bradham

All of our keys have an interesting story to tell, whether it’s about a famous person or even a famous drink, so head down to our key room and come find a story to learn about today!

Written by:
Victoria, Museum Curator

Second image: 
Third image:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Not Like The Rest A Tale of Girl Power

Hello and greetings from the Baldpate Inn Key Room! As I was making my way around the key room this morning, one particular story jumped out to me. The old picture, the key itself, and the story to match made an undeniably remarkable combination that I felt compelled to share with you all.  

          Take yourselves back to the 40's, 1947 to be exact, when times were different, and the world was starting to change.  Now picture a woman, what is she doing? I bet the first thing that came to mind was not flying a plane.  We are all aware of one incredible woman, and a household name to this day, Amelia Earhart. Although she defined the odds and became a worldwide figure, this story is not about her.  This story is about a young woman named Mary H. Dickey.  Even though she was not the first, she was, at one point, the only female that held a pilots license as well as earning the highest CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).  But Mary didn't stop there. She not only established her own pilot's school at the New Orleans Airport to teach ex GI's about airplanes, but also graduated in May of 1947 from that very same school.  At one point, Mary was able to say she had flown over 3200 hours and taught over 200 Army and Navy pilots.  To defy the odds as a woman back in the 40's was one thing, but to be the one teaching the guys a thing or two...was nearly unheard of.  It is women like this that started a revolution of sort, doing the things that "women weren't supposed to do", and seeing how far we can go.  Mary is a true inspiration to not only her generation, but also the generation of today.  

Mary personally donated the key to her twin engine Cessna, N.C. 75210, which she named "I Wake Up Screaming." to The Baldpare Inn, September the 7th, 1947.  
There are 30,000 stories here in our key room.  Come find the one that inspires you!! 

Written by Tivory Luevane
Museum Curator at The Baldpate Inn 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From the Ashes to the Baldpate

Hey everyone!

Today I found a very interesting key hanging from our rafters!

Key donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Band of Chicago, IL

This old skeleton key joined our collection in July of 1939 and has been with us ever since.  While it may look ordinary at first glance, a closer look at the tag explains that this key was brought from Germany to America and survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which if you ask me, is a quite feat considering the Great Chicago Fire was one of the worst fires in American history to have happened yet.

The Great Chicago Fire

Burning from October 8th to 10th, the Great Chicago Fire’s origin is surrounded in mystery. There are many theories about how the fire started, including the famous legend that Patrick and Catherine O’Leary’s cow knocked over a lantern which started the blaze, a legend that is often accepted as fact, despite denial from Catherine O’Leary and no actual proof. No one is really certain of how the fire started, but weeks without rain and damaged firefighting equipment are a recipe for disaster in a rapidly growing and people packed city. Eventually a rain storm aided the firefighters in putting out the fire on the 10th, but over 300 people had been killed and $200 million in damages had been sustained to the city by the time it was extinguished. This tragedy did have a positive side to it though, as it made builders more conscious of fire proofing buildings and the mass construction required to rebuild the city boosted the Chicago economy enough and drew in so many people, that only New York City rivaled it.

An artist's depiction of Mrs. O'Leary and her famous cow

In case you felt bad for the O’Leary’s, don’t worry! Catherine and her cow were exonerated by the city in 1997 and the Chicago Fire Department now uses the old O’Leary property to conduct fire safety training.

Come check out this key and many more in our key collection; each of them has an amazing story waiting for you to discover! 

Written by: 
Victoria, Museum Curator

Second image:  
Third image: 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Key to Knowledge...and Hope

Howdy key lovers!

Today’s key is to the front gate of Oriel College, a segment of the University of Oxford.  This extraordinarily special key, donated by Ted Steele, unlocks the gates of knowledge…literally!  This key is of particular interest to me because I hope to have a career in the world of academia; also, I will be spending the upcoming 2017/2018 school year in the United Kingdom studying at the University of Essex.

Key to the front gates of Oriel College, presented by Ted Steele.

The United Kingdom is known for many things, one of which is its academic and educational excellence.  The University of Oxford, located in Oxford, United Kingdom, is one of the most prestigious centers for higher education in the world.  In addition to its reputation for providing students with a first-rate education, records suggest that students were being taught at the university in as early as 1096, making Oxford the oldest university in the English-speaking world.  Key to Oxford’s success as a school are its 38 outstanding constituent colleges, responsible for the actual teaching of students.

The constituent colleges of Oxford are self-governing institutions within the university that house and facilitate the teaching of students.  Within Oxford, each college offers a variety of subjects and student housing for undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Among these constituent colleges, one college stands above the rest: Oriel College.  The fifth college to be founded at Oxford in 1326, Oriel College holds the title of the oldest royal foundation in Oxford.  Because of this, the college is sometimes referred to as King’s College or King’s Hall.  Even more interesting, the college was used to house members of the court of King Charles I during the English Civil War in the 1640s.  From 1780 to 1830, the students and faculty of Oriel College were leaders in a movement to reform the academic standards of the University of Oxford.  Overall, the Baldpate is very privileged to have the key to a place known for such prestigious academic standards and which possesses such a rich history of innovation and success.

Oriel College at The University of Oxford.

In light of recent events, I would like to dedicate this post to the United Kingdom and its many remarkable/outstanding strengths and successes as a country.  We here at the Baldpate send our thoughts and prayers to a great nation that has experienced extreme tragedy in recent weeks.  Through heartbreaking events such as those that have occurred over the past few weeks, we pull together as a human race and mourn the tragic loss of precious life.  Although this has been a difficult season for the United Kingdom, as well as for the rest of the world, we know that this mighty nation will grow even stronger than it has been before and its people will bring each other strength and comfort.  Love and unity will bring healing to a nation in pain. 

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


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fellowman First

Howdy key lovers!

In honor of the Baldpate’s 100th birthday and of the greatest city in the world—Dallas, Texas—today’s key is one that was donated by the fantastic emcee at our 100th birthday party, Mr. Bill Melton.  The “key” is actually a commemorative pin depicting a key that was designed for the Dallas-area chapter of Lions Clubs International.

Commemorative key pin donated by former Lions
Clubs District Governor Bill Melton.

                Lions Clubs International is an organization that consists of people who work to better their communities and the lives of others around the world through service projects and volunteer work.  Today, Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organization in the world with about 1.35 million members worldwide.

During Mr. Melton’s membership in the club, he served as the governor of the 2-X1 district of Lions Clubs International.  As district governor, he oversaw and helped facilitate the day-to-day success of 70 lions clubs in the Dallas area.  He selected the mission statement of “Fellowman First” as the district’s theme from 1980-1981.  This mission statement was inscribed on a large key that was displayed at the club’s district meetings as a reminder of the overall goal of the organization.  A commemorative pin depicting the key was created for the 2-X1 district’s Club Presidents and District Officers.  This unique pin now has a home in our magnificent key collection.

Mr. Bill Melton speaking at the 85th anniversary of
Lions Clubs District 2-X1 in 2014.

Lions District 2-X1 Ambassador of Goodwill recipients, 2009.

Lions District 2-X1 Mid-Winter Conference in 2007.

                The Baldpate is honored to have received this special key pin for our 100th birthday, and it is one that will be treasured by many for years to come.  This key symbolizes the kind of selfless service that makes our world a better place to live.  In following with the mission of Lions Clubs International, and the inscription on the bottom of the pin, I want to close today’s post with a charge to readers: “TOUCH A LIFE WITH HOPE”.

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


Monday, June 19, 2017

Presenting to you...Four Generations.

Hello Everyone! Today's blog will feature the story of a heartfelt visit from the Stolz family of Chesapeake, Virginia. Dr. Steven and his wife Robin, along with their son, Michael, traveled to Estes Park to pay a visit to The Baldpate Inn like they have many time before, but this visit was different. The Stolz family arrived in search of a key that Steven's grandfather, Francis Miller, and his wife Lucille, had left during their honeymoon at The Baldpate Inn in 1936.

In recent years, museum curators and the American History Savers have cataloged and added every key into a database, making it easy to search for one particular key out of our collection of 30,000. After years of returning and hoping to become acquainted with their family treasure, the Miller key was found and reunited with the Stolz family.

Once the key was found pictures were taken and the Stolz family shared how the key represented four generations, but one piece of the story was missing. Despite the key being in our collection for a very long time, an exact date was missing. In a matter of minutes, Dr. Steven Stolz phoned his mother and asked when the Miller's took their honeymoon and just like that, another Baldpate key had been reconnected with its own history. It's always a heartwarming experience to witness the reality and the magic of what brands The Baldpate Inn as one of a kind. What makes the key room at the Baldpate particularly special is that its history is being preserved by individuals like the Stolz family, who will always share a peice of their families' history with The Baldpate Inn. 

Thank you Dr. Steven, Robin, and Micheal Stolz for sharing your story with us!

Until next time,

Jessica Carter, Museum Curator
The Baldpate Inn

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to the Baldpate!

Good afternoon everyone!

Today is the day we’ve all been looking forward to all season as we’re celebrating our 100th birthday! In honor of our birthday, here’s a quick history of the Baldpate. Before our main lodge was built, the Mace family opened up their “Baldpate” home and a few cabins that they rented out and found steady business with, registering officially under the Homestead Act in 1917. As business grew, the main building that we all love was built in 1918 and was again christened as The Baldpate Inn, after the novel, Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers when the author came to stay and exclaimed that the building looked exactly how he had written it in the book! Several additions to the property have been completed since 1917, including a dance hall that is now our key-thedral where we will be offering the play based on our namesake novel. In 1986, the Smith family took over from the Mace family and continue the amazing job of keeping up the hotel and key room.

Speaking of our key room, did you know it’s been around since 1935?? It all started with a tradition that Ethel and Gordon Mace started, by letting guests keep their key from their stay as a memento. With World War II and rising steel prices, it was no longer feasible for the family to continue this practice, so in turn Baldpate regulars decided to flip the script and bring a key to the Baldpate instead. This soon became a regular habit for guests of the Baldpate, and with a mounting key collection, Ethel and Gordon dedicated a room in the lodge to the keys, starting with a few hundred keys and today we have over 30,000!

If you’re around Estes Park, come celebrate with us from 2-5 pm with remarks at 3:30 pm! We hope to see you!

Cheers to 100 years! 

The Baldpate Museum Curation Staff 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Come celebrate with us!

Hey everyone!

While there’s no key blog today, we do have some exciting things to share!

The Baldpate is turning 100 years old tomorrow, Saturday June 17! It’s crazy to think we’ve been around for a whole century! In honor of our birthday, we’re having a party and we’d love for you to attend! There will be cupcakes and champagne (with punch for the young ones!) from 2-5 pm, with remarks at 3:30 pm. Come by for ten minutes or the whole time, we’d love to have you celebrate with us for however long you’re able!

If you can’t make it Saturday, come join us on Sunday for Father’s Day! We’ve got free ice cream for dads and if you bring your dad in for lunch or dinner, we’ve got a certificate for a free drink at one of our play performances later in the season. It’s best to make reservations, so give our front desk a call at 970.586.5397.

On Wednesday, we’ve got our Summer Enchanted Evenings where this week you can hear Richard Dana give a small talk about the life of Judge Florence E. Allen, the first female judge in the United States before he gives an in depth lecture at the Estes Park Women’s Club. It’s sure to be an interesting one so come check it out! If you can’t make it this week, we have them every Wednesday at 7 pm and next week’s talk will be about a Baldpate favorite- hummingbirds!

In honor of our 100th birthday, for three weeks we’ll be presenting the play, Seven Keys to Baldpate, an adaption of the novel we got our name from. We’re putting on the play June 30th, July 1st , 7th , 8th, 14th, and 15th,  with show times at 6:30 pm every day and a 2 pm matinee on the 8th and 15th of July, as well. It’s sure to be a great time so call our front desk and reserve your seats now!

It’s going to be a great summer at the Baldpate Key Room so make sure you come down and visit us the next chance you get! We hope to see you soon! 

Victoria and Brett, Museum Curators

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Highway to the Sky...

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that made all the difference.

Robert Frost made a good point about choosing a road less traveled, but for Estes Park a familiar road that is heavily traveled is open for the season. Trail Ridge Road, commonly known as the highway to the sky, has been a popular attraction in the Rocky Mountain National Park since 1931. Coined as a scenic wonder road of the world, Trail Ridge Road stretches forty-eight miles from Estes Park to Grand Lake. With eleven miles of the road being above the tree line of the national park, visitors can experience stunning views. 

Just a few miles from the Rocky Mountain National Park, the key room here at The Baldpate Inn will always be connected to Trail Ridge Road. When the vacation season opened in 1941, a large lock was made by Robert Thorson of Rocky Mountain National Park. Presenting the lock was none other than Lana Turner, a famed actress of the period. Turner's autograph can still be seen on the key face of the lock and reads

"This padlock and key, which I used May 17, 1941 Vacation Season for Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park is presented to you for your collection on behalf of the National Park Service, LOOK Magazine, Estes Park Chamber of Commerce and
myself--- through the courtesy of MGM Studios."


The Trail Ridge Road has been a popular sight for decades and will continue to be an exciting adventure for years to come. Since it is now open for the 2017 season, pay a visit to Trail Ridge Road and The Baldpate Inn Key Room, just don't tell them Robert Frost sent you! 

Happy Traveling!

Jessica Carter, Museum Curator
The Baldpate Inn

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

60 Years of a Guilty Conscience 

Good afternoon my fellow history lovers! Today, I would like to talk about a key that has a direct connection to our very dear Baldpate Inn, and is one of our staff favorites...

Some of us are more aware than others, that children have a tendency to be just a tad...lets say, sneaky.  Our story starts in the summer of 1952 with a little boy named Timothy Johnson.  Timothy was visiting Estes Park with his family, when they decided to stay here at the Inn.  Timothy was seven years young at the time, staying in room seven.  (Seven is a reoccurring coincidence at the Baldpate.  i.e. 7 Keys to Baldpate.) Noting the connections, and with no ill intentions, little Timothy decided to take the key to his family's room as a special souvenir.  Now, you might think that he forgot about, or perhaps misplaced this key over the years, but this was not the case.  Imagine holding onto a key for 60 years, a guilty conscience, and a plan to someday give it back to it's rightful owner.  Well that's exactly what Timothy did.  During the summer of 2012, the Baldpate staff was visited by Timothy, now aged 67.  He arrived, key in hand and a heartfelt apology.  With spare keys over the years, and no longer a room 7 (due to renovations), there was no harm done. However, we did take the key back, proudly displaying it in our beloved key room with its very own display case. This key is a Baldpate favorite between staff and guests alike due to it's innocent and comical nature, as well as the direct connection with The Baldpate Inn.  

We have over 30,000 keys in our collection, all with their very own unique stories, much like this one. Also, feel free to donate a key of your own, with a tidbit on why it's special to you or your family. 

Written by Tivory Luevane
Museum Curator at The Baldpate Inn 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A "Pick Proof" Key


The type key featured today is one many of you have probably never seen before or even knew existed. I didn't before I saw it hanging on the wall of the Key Room this morning! The donor of the key, T.R. Bergh, touted it as "pick proof." At the time of the donation in 1967, this key concept was brand new. It involved using dimples in the key surface rather than cuts on the edge to engage the pins in the lock.

Sargento Keso Dimpled Key
The key was donated by T.R. Bergh in 1967 at was claimed "pick proof"

This type of key was first made by the Sargent company, which after WWII, decided to focus on making locks and keys. In 1965, they released this dimpled key system, which they named the Sargent Keso Security System¹. This key system is still in high demand today, with many different options offered by a variety of companies.

Drawing by Bergh showing how the key works

However, the claim that is is "pick proof" is no longer applicable, as many have successfully picked this type of lock.² Regardless, this system does prove to be more difficult than traditional key systems and it also has the added benefit that the key is reversible. This means the key can be inserted into the lock in either direction, No more fumbling around trying to figure out which way the key goes into the lock! Does this key pique your interest? Stop by the Key Room and see if there are any other unusual keys that you may not have know existed.

Written by:
Brett Meyer, Museum Curator

1. Sargent Company History
2, Dimpled Lock Picking

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Key to the Golden Age

Howdy key lovers!

Today’s key is a special treat, especially for all you history-lovers!  It is the key to the main gate of Wilanow Palace, which lies five miles south of Warsaw, Poland.  The key, donated to the Baldpate by Ms. Sophia Zaleski Hinkle in 1937, opens the gates to an enormous baroque-style structure almost sitting on thousands of square feet of beautiful gardens.  But before we can understand the significance of today’s key, we must dive into a bit of Poland’s history.

Key donated by Sophia Zaleski Hinkle.

During the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, Poland became an extremely prosperous nation under the rule of the Jagiellonian dynasty.  There were massive amounts of territorial expansion during this time, and the country underwent a cultural renaissance.  In 1569, a groundbreaking union between Poland and Lithuania, known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was established.  The new government successfully formed a political system rooted in democracy and the country thrived.  This time period in Polish history became known as the Golden Age.

Now, fast forward 100 years to 1669.  Poland is involved in the catastrophic Swedish Wars and has recently been involved in a long series of other disastrous wars.  The capital city of Warsaw has been captured and about 80% of its population has been killed.  King John III Solieski is creating plans to build himself a palace, but in the wake of the political and financial turmoil that has taken place during the past 50 years, he intends to construct a small residence.  However, in 1683, the Polish army, led by King John III, crushes the Turkish army at Vienna and saves the city from the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.  This victory for Poland marks the beginning of a short return to the Golden Age.  The political and financial status of Poland is much improved from the mid-17th century, so King John III decides to upgrade the construction of his new residence to a much larger palace that embodies the ornate, expensive fashion of the Golden Age.  This fantastic palace, to which we have the key, represents the Polish nation’s celebration of victory, but more importantly, it is a symbol of hope for the nation’s people, who dream about the return of brighter days.

Wilanow Palace

After the death of King John III, the palace was inherited by his sons before being passed through the hands of many different owners.  After the short-lived sequel to the Golden Age in the late 1600s, the palace had a front row seat for the destruction caused by many wars and revolts in Poland.  Eventually it landed in the hands of Stanislaw Potocki, who restored it to its former glory and opened one of the first museums in Poland inside the building.

Wilanow Palace from the royal gardens.

Today, the Palace of Wilanow is reminiscent of a bygone age in Poland.  It represents a time of prosperity, victory, and success for the nation.  The artwork and d├ęcor that garnish the building are invaluable, and the detailed architecture is breathtaking.  As of 1937, when the key to the front gate of the palace was donated to the Baldpate, the property was owned by Count Bronicki, but today it is a state-owned museum.  If you find yourself in Poland, a visit to this exquisite palace is a must, and make sure you drop by the Baldpate Key Room to see the magnificent key that opens the gates to the Golden Age!

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


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Polish Titanic

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to another blog from our fantastic key room!

Today I wanted to switch things up a little bit by blogging about a ship key from our collection. We actually have quite a collection of ship keys here and I wanted to shine some light on a particularly interesting one.

Key donated by Mrs. Sophia Zaleski Hinkle

This key comes to us from cabin number one on Poland’s first trans-Atlantic steamer, The M.S. Pilsudski, after its maiden voyage in September 1935.  Often called the Polish Titanic, this passenger ship met an unfortunate fate of sinking too, however in a different means than the English Titanic. While it didn’t sink on its maiden voyage like the Titanic, the Pilsudski was one of the most modern ships to ever fly a Polish flag so its sinking greatly impacted the Polish people.

Converted into a warship under British command during World War II, the Pilsudski was making its rounds in 1939 when it most likely hit a minefield which caused the ship to sink. However, unlike the Titanic, the Pilsudski has a much happier ending. Most of the crew and passengers on board were able to be rescued in time, only resulting in a few casualties.

There’s so many hidden stories like this one ready for you to discover in our key room so why don’t you come down and check them out soon! 

Written by:
Victoria, Museum Curator 

Reference and second picture:

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Key to the Paper Industry

Welcome back!

Similar to yesterday's post by Victoria, I was interested in finding a key that reflected where I came from. Like Victoria, I am also from Wisconsin, and I wanted a key that reminded me of my past. As I was surveying the keys among the walls of the Key Room, trying to pick one out of thousands for me to write on, I stumbled across this key from Appleton, WI, which is near my hometown.

Key from Edgar K. Wattingly to the Patten Paper Company

It appears that Edgar K. Wattingly, a previous guest of the Baldpate, had connections with the paper factories that are common in this region of Wisconsin and sent this key for the Patten Paper Company. According to the attached letter, the Patten Paper Company, which currently appears to no longer be operating under that name, was one of the oldest operating paper mills in the country. Mr. Wattingly sent this key to ensure that he was remembered as a good guest rather than "as the guest that did not send a key." Another interesting point is that this key seems to have been sent soon after the Key Room opened in 1935.

Postcard of paper mills in Appleton, WI

Seeing this key reminds me of driving through the Fox River area of Wisconsin and seeing the many smoke stacks of the paper mills with the accompanying "lovely" smell. Stop by our world famous key room and one of the many keys may trigger fond memories of your past as well!

Written by:
Brett Meyer, Museum Curator

Second image: Paper Mill Postcard

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hometown Tribute

Hey everyone! 

While looking through our amazing key collection today, there was a small section that caught my eye. Being from Wisconsin, I was naturally drawn to the keys that hung under the state name, and the seventeen and a half hour car ride from Wisconsin to Colorado is one I won’t soon forget, so naturally, for my first blog I wanted to pay a small tribute to my home state.

Key donated by Mr. and Mrs. E. Volks of Milwaukee Wisconsin

I noticed the Blatz Brewery key in the small collection of Wisconsin keys and was instantly reminded of visiting Milwaukee all the time as a child. Blatz was one of the very first breweries established in Milwaukee, which is one of the reasons why Milwaukee has been given the nickname Brew City. Blatz is now under the ownership of the Pabst Company, but the historic Blatz building is still there and is now an architecturally beautiful apartment complex that I grew up seeing.

The instant connection to my hometown I was able to find in our key room reminded me of home when I’m over a thousand miles away. Why don’t you stop on by our key room and see if you can find a connection with one of our 30,000 keys, I’m sure there’s one calling your name!

Written by:

Victoria, Museum Curator 

second image:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Generations of Sisters.

 Hello there! Today’s blog post will feature a key, or rather a group of keys, that caught my eye the moment I stepped into the key room. Before I go into why this group of keys hit close to home, I should add that just one week prior to getting on a plane to travel to Colorado for the first time, a few of the chapters in my life were closing, including being a collegiate member of Delta Delta Delta.


With little knowledge of what I was walking into, I headed to the key room where I would spend all summer. On one wall was a “Key of Tri Delta” sign. Tri Delta was founded on Thanksgiving Eve in 1888 at Boston University and after more than 125 years, there are 145 collegiate chapters and 210,000 alumnae members, including myself. In the key room the many tags highlight how women of Tri Delta have been connected by The Baldpate Inn. On the sign, there are numerous tags from women who have visited the Baldpate, the earliest tag dating back to 1935. I’m going to assume that it must be fate that that same 1935 tag was donated by Olinda W. Hyland, a woman who was a member of the same Tri Delta chapter I was, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Stop in the Key Room and I guarantee you will find a connection to a key like I did.

Cheers to 100 years!

Museum Curator, The Baldpate Inn