< UNITED STATES | BOULDER: Hotel Boulderado
Back in 1905 when Boulder, a city of 8,000, was not growing quickly enough, the only way that city council members felt they could improve their lot was to
provide the "comfort of a first class hotel." Stock was advertised at $100 a share to raise the necessary funds. A spokesperson for the Commercial Association (forerunner to the
Chamber of Commerce) said, "We have invested our money in the enterprise because it represents Boulder's greatest need. We shall be glad of returns, but shall be infinitely
gladder if we secure a hotel of such beauty of proportions and architectural design that it will stand as a monument to her permanency and pride in her enterprises. Let it be
the Hotel Beautiful."
Four years later, the Hotel Boulderado opened its doors on New Year’s Day 1909. Designed by local architects William Redding & Son, the five-story brick building incorporates both Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival features. The four corner towers, paired tall narrow windows and bracketed cornices are indicative of the Italianate style, while the iron railings on the large east side porches, arched fourth floor windows and curvilinear gables are all Spanish Revival features.
It was named for the words "Boulder" and "Colorado" so that no guest would forget where he had stayed. To provide its guests with every human comfort, all bedrooms were fitted with light fixtures that ran on both natural gas and electricity. Unseen men were busy 24 hours a day stoking the huge coal furnace to provide hot water and to keep the hotel evenly heated.Telephones were installed in most of the 75 rooms. Rooms varied in price from $1.00 to $2.50 per day.
The hotel has come full circle from late Victorian luxury, through a shaky beginning in the teens, prosperity in the twenties; fall in the Depression, post-war modernization, deterioration and finally, restoration to its original 20th century grandeur. Hotel literature from the 1920's stated that "every guest may expect the best and get it."
One of the hotel's most famous features is the stained glass canopy ceiling over the lobby. In 1906 when the Boulderado was still in the planning stages, San Francisco was hit by a massive earthquake. The Palace Hotel, which had set a precedent for leaded glass canopied hotel lobbies, including the inspiration for the design for the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, was completely destroyed. The hotel architects incorporated the Palace's leaded glass ceiling design on a smaller scale, importing their cathedral glass all the way from Italy. Unfortunater a heavy snowfall on the roof in 1959 broke a skylight which fell and damaged a section of the ceiling. Regrettany the entire canopy was removed and replaced with red, white and blue Plexiglas. In 1977, a new ceiling was designed and installed to bring back the feel and warmth of the original. A $65,000 renovation of this ceiling was completed in 2004.
Another famous feature is the original cantilevered cherrywood staircase, extending from the basement all the way to the fifth floor. The balcony overlooking the lobby is one of Boulder's most popular photography points and is the place where many couples have exchanged their wedding vows throughout the years.
The entire mosaic tile floor in the entryway, lobby and dining room is original. The elevator in the lobby is the original Otis and requires staff to manually operate the cab between guest floors! The hotel's original safe is still behind the Front Desk and some of the hotel's archived guest registers are on display by the 13th Street entrance. The water fountain to the left of the Front Desk dates back to the days when the Arapahoe Glacier supplied most of Boulder's water.
Early guests included conservationist Enos Mills, actress Ethel Barrymore, actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and evangelist Billy Sunday. Some who followed were Clarence Darrow, Helen Keller, Robert Frost, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong, as well as a generous representation of today's political figures, speakers, entertainers, and musicians.
Since 1994, Hotel Boulderado is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Boulder landmark. On-site dining options include local farm fresh selections from Spruce Farm & Fish, casual American fare at The Corner Bar, and craft cocktails at License No. 1, a 1920’s inspired speakeasy style bar. The 160 guest rooms and suites are complemented by views of the Rocky Mountain foothills and downtown Boulder.
#Silvia Pettem: Legend of a Landmark: A History of the Hotel Boulderado
Book Lode, 2009 | ISBN-10: 1891274120; ISBN-13: 978-1891274121
English language | 113 pages | Paperback
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