Road Trip: Pool Party in Eldorado Springs
Summer is here and It's been hot in Denver, so last week my friends and I decided to take a short road trip to the historic pool in Eldorado Springs in Boulder County. The pool is often very crowded, but the beautiful location and the historic elements make it a fun and refreshing place to visit. Once the site of multiple resorts the land is currently part of Eldorado Canyon State Park and the historic pool is owned by Eldorado Artesian Springs Inc.
For a short time land in Eldorado Canyon was used for a spiritualist camp before William Garner purchased the area to build Moffat Lakes Resort. In the first year of construction a covered swimming pool, stables, picnic areas, and pavilions for dancing and roller skating were built. In 1906 two outdoor pools were added, one of which was located at the site of the current pool.
In 1908 Frank Fowler commissioned Horace McGrew to build a set of "crazy stairs" with 1350 steps that zigzagged up the gateway rocks. The pair also built a rooming house in 1906, and in 1908 they completed the New Eldorado Hotel just north of the swimming pool. Special excursion trains ran on the Denver Interurban to the resort on Sundays and holidays. Aside from the 8 years when the resort was owned by William Garner, the Fowlers ran the resort for 3 generations.
Some of the history of Eldorado Canyon and it's resorts is filled with disaster and made me wonder if I ought to believe in curses as the area seems to have been doomed. The Crags Hotel which existed for a short time on the south side above the canyon burned down in 1912 after the owners suffered a difficult financial year. In 1929 a fire causing $100,000 in damage hit the canyon taking down the pool, dressing rooms, the dance hall, roller rink, concession buildings, and over a dozen cabins. Another fire in 1933 resulted in the original dance hall, built during the spiritualist camp days, being burnt to the ground. In 1936 the second dance hall also went up in flames. Finally a fire in 1939 completely destroyed the New Eldorado Hotel. Beside the fires, there were several floods that wiped out bridges, roads, businesses, swimming pools and homes.
After the 1939 fire, the Fowlers rebuilt the resort and it remained as a resort until the 1960s when it became a private club, and again later it was a resort. In 1978 the state of Colorado purchased 272 acres creating the Eldorado Canyon State Park and the Fowlers eventually sold the rest of the land to Eldorado Artesian Springs Inc. in 1983. The Artesian Springs company now maintains the swimming pool and sells water bottled from the springs internationally.
Thanks for reading Wendy!
Was it the Moffat Lakes Resort because of the water diversion project using the Moffat Tunnel, which fed water into the South Boulder Creek? I wonder.
According to A Glimpse at Eldorado's Colorful Past: High-wire Aerialist, Ranchers, and Ballrooms by Joanna Simpson Moffat Lakes Resorts was named for the "Moffat Line" railroad. David Moffat incorporated the Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railway which included the tunnel.
Where can I find Joanna Simpson 's book or article?
Thanks for asking, David. A Glimpse at Eldorado's Colorful Past: High-wire Aerialist, Ranchers, and Ballrooms is a 24 page booklet that we have in our Closed Stacks. If you are in the Denver area, you can stop in and take a look at it, or you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. If you would like to own a copy, you may be able to find it through an online retailer.
I have a 1922 picture of my mother in front of a Colorado resort. Wondering if it’s Eldorado springs. Does anyone there have an interest?. I could send the picture if so.
Thank you, Laurie.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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