Gordon and Ethel Mace, who were newlyweds at the time, homesteaded the property in Estes Park and built a classic log cabin in 1911. To supplement their income, they built several small tourist cabins, which proved to be a huge success. They began to make plans to build and Inn and in1917 they opened the Baldpate Inn.
They named the inn after a fictional inn in a mystery novel where regular guests were given their own keys to the building. The Maces practiced this tradition until World War I when the cost of metal rose so steeply, they could no longer afford to give away keys. When this happened, their loyal guests started a custom of bringing a key with them to leave at the inn, which started the famous “Key Room”, which holds over 20,000 keys. Keys from Westminster Abby, Mozart’s wine cellar, the Pentagon and even Frankenstein’s castle adorn the room.
Reportedly both Ethel and Gordon continue to stay at their old Inn in a spiritual fashion. Staff and guests say that Ethel has haunted her old room for years and particularly likes spending time in the Key Room. She also likes to sit in a wing-backed rocker before a fireplace that is now located in a storage room. Her feet up, she is said to sit in the rocker reading the bible.
Evidently, Ethel supported the prohibitionists because she also likes to spill mix drinks, while others have a tendency to fly off of tables. Gordon’s pet peeve, on the other hand, is evidently smoking. Though the lodge does not allow smoking, if a guest does in fact light up a cigarette, something smashes it or their cigarette packs come up missing.
Baldpate Inn is now run by the Smith family, who purchased the inn in 1986. Only the second family to ever own the inn, the Smiths continue to welcome guests in the same fashion as the Maces. The 12-room lodge is open from Memorial Day to October 1 each year and is located at 4900 South Highway 7 in Estes Park.
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