The History of
Marys Lake Lodge
Since opening in 1913 Marys Lake Lodge has enjoyed decades of tourists passing through its rustic lobby. The memories captured in its walls live in the hearts of people all over the world. Thousands of visitors have spent the night, enjoyed a great meal, and relaxed in front of the roaring fire in the lobby. The building has earned its place on the State Register of Historic Properties for its unique character.
Marys Lake Lodge first began to attract travelers under the name of Estes Park Chalet more than 100 years ago thanks to the Jones family and their Rockdale cottages which were originally located just south of Marys Lake. The tourism industry grew slowly until the opening of the Trail Ridge Road in 1920 which enabled travelers to pass through Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time. Roe Emery, head of the Rocky Mountain Parks Transportation Company, saw that weary travelers taking part in bus tours of the park were missing one thing: overnight hotel accommodations. After discussing this issue with hotelier A.D. Lewis, construction quickly began on the Grand Lake Lodge. This, along with Lewis’s acquisition of the Hot Springs Hotel in Idaho Springs and the Estes Park Chalet, made the perfect components for the scenic circle tour which allowed travelers to purchase a vacation package and have their entire trip planned for them from their home train station to Denver, through the mountains and back.
In 1923 Lewis sold the three hotels to Emery. Emery built out the Estes Park Chalet adding a south wing while the main lodge and north wing were expanded to accommodate 300 guests. The lodge continued to be a successful destination resort for the next twenty-eight years.
The initial success that came to Estes Park Chalet began to dwindle after it was sold to Gene Holmes in 1951. After only two years, Holmes sold the property to the James brothers. The James brothers continued running the resort into the late 1960s when the scenic circle tour came to an en. They then sold the property to Arthur Hyde. Hyde sold Estes Park Chalet shortly after to Omar W. Box in 1972. In 1978 Estes Park Chalet experienced a devastating fire that destroyed the south wing. After the fire the property was left abandoned until 1983 when it was purchased as a Buddhist retreat center. After several years the task of restoring the lodge proved too difficult and was abandoned. Six of the individuals from the Buddhist organization formed a partnership and opened the newly renamed Marys Lake Lodge. The renovated north wing offered affordable housing to seasonal employees. After just five years of operation, the partners realized their dreams of renovating the entire lodge would not be fulfilled and decided to sell.
In the summer of 1999 Marys Lake Lodge was purchased by Frank Theis who immediately began the much needed renovation process. Beginning in 2005 condominiums were built around the Lodge creating the Marys Lake Lodge Mountain Resort & Condos we know today. After the 2007 recession the property went into receivership and in 2013 Morgan V. Mulch purchased the property. Additional renovations were conducted and Mulch launched the official opening of his new restaurant, Tavern 1929, in 2014. Marys Lake Lodge has once again been fully restored in its original mountain style. The new condominiums which stayed true to the rustic architecture of the Lodge have created a diverse resort community. Today, the ambiance of Marys Lake Lodge brings about a sense of serenity and feeling of nostalgia from a bygone era while offering the comforts and amenities of an upscale mountain resort.