The well-connected silver baron Walter Devereux was Glenwood’s leading developer and visionary. It was Devereux, along with Isaac Cooper, who first dreamed of building a world caliber spa and resort. After completing the construction of the hot springs pool, the sandstone bathhouse and improvements to the vapor caves, Devereux set about building a hotel to rival Europe’s finest accommodations. The Hotel Colorado opened its doors in June of 1893. It was so spectacular that newspapers of the time called it a “marvel of the age,” and the “finest resort hotel between the Great Lakes and the Pacific.” The exterior featured Victorian gardens, a bird sanctuary, tennis courts, a Florentine fountain and a railroad spur for the private rail cars of the rich and famous. The interior was equally opulent. The most dramatic feature was an indoor waterfall. In 1905, the Hotel Colorado became the temporary White House for President Teddy Roosevelt during his three-week hunting expedition.
Also during that year Walter Devereux suffered a stroke and his longtime friend and associate, F.H.A. “Hervy” Lyle took over running the hotel. It was under Lyle’s direction that the Hotel Colorado and the Glenwood Hot Springs Company merged in 1912. That same year, Lyle died unexpectedly from appendicitis; the hotel bookkeeper Elmer Lucas assumed the helm until his death in 1927. His wife Katherine ran the hotel through the worst of the Great Depression, finally selling to a syndicate headed by Frank Kistler, a Colorado oil man in 1938. During the war years, from 1943 to 1945, Kistler leased the hotel and hot springs pool to the U.S. Navy. In order to meet the sanitary requirements of a hospital, the ornate hotel was essentially stripped bare. Kistler sold his interest in the hotel in 1946 which marked the beginning of a revolving door of owners. In 1974, under the direction of Kirk Whiteley the Hotel Colorado was designated a National Historic Landmark and restoration of the Grande Dame began. After refurbishing the hotel, the Whiteleys put it up for sale. In 1988, the hotel fell on hard times again when the bank foreclosed the property. Fidelity Bank, owned by the Bastian family, purchased the hotel at auction and transferred the hotel to a separate entity, Glenwood Properties, Inc. which contracted with Denver-based Signature Hospitality Resources. Under the new direction, the hotel became profitable once again and was gradually restored to its former grandeur. The Hotel Colorado celebrated its 100 birthday in June of 1993.
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