** Favorite Story ~ January 2011**
"It was in August of 1968 that newlyweds Bob and Norretta Taylor arrived in Boulder for Bob to begin a program of graduate studies at CU. They were pulling a trailer filled with personal items and wedding gifts, but they had neglected to arrange a place to live for the next two years!
After searching for a couple of days, they found a really great apartment (the Red Arrow) on North Broadway. The manager told Bob and Norretta that someone else was looking at the only available apartment -- which would not be ready for another month! -- but they had not yet put down a deposit. She said we could have the apartment if we could find someplace to live for the intervening month. We increased our search, and someone recommended that we go to the Boulderado Hotel, which we did.
If my memory serves correctly, the Boulderado had recently been purchased by a man who had recently left the Navy and had plans for restoration of the hotel. The only place available was a two-room 'suite' on the top floor, but we took it, notified the other apartment manager, emptied the trailer that we were still pulling at a storage unit, and moved into the Boulderado. Our plan was to live there for the next month. Little did we know ...
Our 'suite' included a bedroom/sitting room and a kitchen/dining room. The only closet was very small, and I don't recall there being any drawers, which meant we used our luggage in lieu of a chest. The kitchen had a gas stove, a small refrigerator, a metal one-piece cabinet/sink, and a chrome table and chairs that didn't match.
Of course, there was no air conditioning, and it was still summertime, so we spent many evenings on a fire escape, hoping for a breeze. Then, our month passed, and we made arrangements to move from the Boulderado into our great apartment. On the Friday afternoon before 'move-in day' the apartment's manager phoned to tell us that the apartment had burned that morning! We met with the owner, who promised us the repairs would be completed in a month, so we went back to the Boulderado and made arrangements to extend our stay another month -- although the Boulderado had already agreed to rent our 'suite' to someone else. (We never found out what happened to those people.)
Since most of our clothes were packed away in storage, we did not welcome the arrival of fall, which arrived with such strength that we had to buy a coat, gloves, and boots for Norretta! But, luckily, the fire-damaged apartment was ready for us on schedule and we were able to move in on schedule. As we have looked back over our experiences at the Boulderado, we have very fondly remembered the lovely people who worked there, the piano in the lobby, and, of course, the incredible ceiling of the lobby!"
-- Bob and Norretta Taylor
Waynesville, North Carolina
"We are looking at the early sixties and our family (two boys) was young and not very much money to spend on entertainment. This was our time to head for the Mezzanine at the Boulderado Hotel and listen to the jazz of Spike Robinson and, I believe, he had a trio. He played our kind of jazz on the saxophone and there was no cover charge. We could buy a drink and listen to jazz all evening. Lots of good memories and many evenings spent at the Boulderado."
--Ray and Jean Crowder
** Favorite Story ~ February 2009 **
"We had taken our family of three generations -- including some wide-eyed children -- to tea time during the Christmas holidays to see the gorgeous tree and soak up the hotel's elegance.
This was back in the generation of the 60s and tea was served around the tree in the lobby.
The tree that year was gorgeous as ever sitting on a large platform which was covered with a green cloth. As it turned out quite a few hippies were discovered asleep under the tree completely covered by the green cloth as we were enjoying our tea time. Seems they had been there several days enjoying the warmth and comfort of the Boulderado.
We laughed about it then and it still brings a smile to remember it now."
-- Peggy Archibald
"Over forty years ago, my family moved into Boulder from the Midwest with the plan that the five children would attend the University of Colorado while residing at home.
During the period of time our home was not quite finished, our entire family resided at the Boulderado.
Since my diploma, I have lived mostly outside of Colorado and mostly in France since I had been a French major and 'one thing led to another.'
Who could've known back in the 60s that I would be returning regularly to Boulder, along with my French husband, who always insists that we stay at the Boulderado, and only there?
We love the warm decor of the dark wood and cosy carpeting, the Victorian stateliness. The staff is professional yet with that friendly out-West touch. We have become somewhat known to the staff after our many visits and can count on special attention at times, which we most appreciate. Moreover, the bar and Q's Restaurant are top-notch -- always a joy to our French palate.
Here's to a Bonne Continuation and, see you again in a few months. Congratulations!
--Janis & Jacques Giraud
"When I was in junior high (in the early 1960s), I was involved in youth activities at First United Methodist Church, just down the street from the Boulderado. One of our Sunday School teachers was Fred Shelton, who at that time was operating the dining room at the Boulderado. Fred was very generous; he used to open early for breakfast on Easter Sunday, to accommodate those who attended the Sunrise Service, which used to be held in the amphitheater way up on the top of the mountain.
Fred's daughter, Linda, was my age, and groups of us used to hang out at the restaurant. We had to behave -- we couldn't bother any of the patrons -- but we were free to explore 'behind the scenes.' The most fun was the basement, which we reached from an antique stairway behind the kitchen. It was a little spooky, but fun. There was a labyrinth of rooms with all sorts of junk. I remember one large room with nothing but bed springs. Another had storm windows and screens. Some of them were locked, and we wondered what was there!
Of course this was the space that became the Catacombs in 1967. I could hardly wait to get into the place to see what they had done with it. I had my first legal drink there in 1968. The Catacombs itself is now over 40 years old. I always wondered what became of the bed springs."
-- William Arndt
"My mother, June Howard, showed me your website of memories of the Boulderado and encouraged me to add my own. I was 12 when Ed bought the Hotel, the oldest child. I remember being with Ed, Moss and Winnie Miles (the former owners) in the basement at the Hotel shortly after Ed took over. The rooms were filled with treasures abandoned over the years, and Winnie offered me an alligator purse to keep. Instead, I chose two classic children's books printed in the early 1900s, which I have to this day. Ed hauled pickup loads of things from that basement -- postcards with 2 cent stamps, old ledgers, etc. Saddest of all were the loads of stained glass from the former "ceiling" over the lobby, which he tried to give to the Art Department at CU or anyone else, but no one wanted it. Nearly all of these relics went to the dump.
I helped by riding my bicycle to the post office each morning during the summer to retrieve the mail and carry it back to the Hotel for distribution to the elderly residents. Who knew that this would be a taste of a seventeen-year career as a rural mail carrier in Longmont? When I turned 16, I worked as a desk clerk for $1.00 per hour, with Ed in the office next to me. Although I mastered the telephone switchboard I was never allowed to touch the telegraph office in a small shop facing the street where the bar is now. (In those days Boulder was "dry" -- no alcohol sold within the city limits). I remember Ed telling me "give them the money" if anyone ever tried to rob us, but mostly, I remember gazing across the gloomy lobby through those leaded glass doors at the world going by and thinking I would NEVER get to experience life. The minute I got off work my friends and I rushed to the reservoir where I would soak up sunshine and breathe!
One time an acquaintance checked in, and I did not get the money in advance, nor did I make him leave his suitcase at the desk, trusting that he would pay, which of course he did not. I never told Ed that I had known this guy, but I certainly got a lecture about not trusting people in the future. The room cost $5.00.
When Fred Shelton took over the restaurant I worked as a waitress for him and earned much better money, as well as a skill that served me well for many years. During the turbulent late 60's I recall a couple complaining about the long hair of the busboy. Fred told them their meal was free, get out and never come back.
When it appeared that Boulder would vote to allow liquor sales inside the city, Ed knew he could not afford to purchase a liquor license and couldn't compete against the luxurious Harvest House (Boulder's only other hotel) without one. The hotel was sold.
Ed always emphasized shopping locally and, to this day, our family avoids chain operations, knowing how the independent owner struggles to survive. One of my favorite Ed quotations was 'If it isn't in Boulder, you don't need it.'
The Hotel has changed all of our lives forever."
-- Sue Howard Krohn (seen below with mother June)
** Favorite Story ~ January 2008**
"In April 1947, I stepped off the train at Union Station in Denver in my new spring suit and flowered hat (borrowed from my University of Kansas roommate) to a swirling snowstorm. My fiance, an engineering student at the University of Colorado, drove us to Boulder where he had reserved a room for me at the Hotel Boulderado. Such elegance! For the first time in my twenty-one years, a room all to myself, and this especially after riding all night on the train. Ed suggested that he might join me -- of course I said no (this was 1947) as the old guy behind the desk watched.
Little did we know that fourteen years later, Ed and I would be running this hotel. The depression and the war years had damaged the hotel business, and the Boulderado had been further damaged by poor management. The owners, who were friends of ours, wanted out and did not care if the fine old building was condemned by the city of Boulder. Ed agreed to lease it for a year with an option to buy. He convinced the city administrators that the building was sound and was willing to install a fire sprinkler system.
I learned to be a desk clerk, mastering the operation of the switchboard, which was as old as the hotel. Many retirees lived in the Boulderado in the 1960s, but there were also overnight guests. Ed was thrilled to have Duke Ellington and his entourage of about sixty folks stay at the Boulderado.
One day with no warning, the restaurant operator failed to open. He simply vanished leaving unpaid bills. The cooks stayed on, I was a hostess but often filled in for a waitress, and Ed managed while pleading with his friend, Fred, to leave his small restaurant and to take over the Boulderado Dining Room. Fred brought success with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus the Boulderado became the meeting place for long established coffee groups.
February 1963, Ed bought the Boulderado and I became a teacher in the Boulder Valley School System. Ed sold the Boulderado in 1967 when the hotel was doing well and more renovations were needed."