Turn-of-the-century resort for sale; last sold in 1924

Amy DiPierro August 10, 2016 8

 Over a mile of fishing stream runs through the property, along the North Fork of the South Platte River. (Courtesy of Bob Regester)

Over a mile of fishing stream runs through the property, along the North Fork of the South Platte River. (Courtesy of Bob Regester)

Amy Pfahler’s earliest memory of the Glen-Isle Resort is cleaning its cabins and shoveling snow.

“My parents had five kids,” said Pfahler, the middle child, of the turn-of-the-century resort her maternal grandparents purchased in 1924. “And it being a family business, we all had to work.”

But, she adds, the kids also grew up hiking and fishing on the family’s 123-acre property beside the South Platte River, 50 miles west of Denver. Every summer night brought a new amusement: square dance Tuesdays, picnic Thursdays; movies one week, bingo the next.

Now Pfahler and three siblings have put the post-and-beam style lodge and its 14 cottages on the market for $2.9 million.  The resort closed in 2012.

The hotel and 14 cabins are on 123 acres, surrounded by Pike National Forest. (Courtesy of Bob Regester)

The hotel and 14 cabins are on 123 acres, surrounded by Pike National Forest. (Courtesy of Bob Regester)

“My parents loved being in the mountains, they wanted to be their own bosses and they wanted to have a big family,” said Pfahler, 62. “I think (the next buyer will be) someone who looks at it and has a dream. It’s a beautiful property.”

The property’s listing agent, Bob Regester of Mossy Oak Properties Colorado Mountain Realty, said a buyer could build a new house on the banks of the South Platte or renovate the resort.

“We had a passion (to preserve Glen-Isle) because we’ve had a lot of family history here, too,” Regester said.

The property, at 437 Old Stage Coach Road just off U.S. Route 285 in Bailey, borders Pike National Forest.

Twenty-five men hustled to build Glen-Isle in the spring of 1901, completing it just in time to open in the middle of the tourism season, according to the resort’s 1984 bid to be listed in the National Register.

The resort was one in a wave of Adirondack-style hotels built in the Platte River Canyon in the late 19th century. Many were bankrolled by railroad barons hoping to increase traffic on the nearby tracks.

The centerpiece of the lodge lobby is a tree trunk, with logs branching out from it to prop up the ceiling. A curving staircase to the top story leads visitors to 14 guest rooms – four in a cylindrical tower and 10 along a corridor.

Built in 1901 Glen-Isle is the last remaining turn-of-the-century resort hotel in South Platte Canyon.

Built in 1901 Glen-Isle is the last remaining turn-of-the-century resort hotel in South Platte Canyon.

“It’s pretty rustic,” said Regester.

In its early days, one Denver newspaper called Glen-Isle a place for “people of refinement,” where “one can rough it as much as he chooses” or be “as exclusive and elegant as taste demands.”

Guests could spend the day on the covered veranda that still wraps three sides of the main story, or take a chair beside one of the lodge’s four stone fireplaces if the weather turned.

But the rise of the automobile and the decline of rail travel stunted tourism in the valley. Some nearby resorts burned, others closed or were converted into dude ranches.

In 1924, Pfahler’s great-grandparents purchased the resort. Their granddaughter Barbara would later meet a forest ranger named Gordon Tripp while spending the summer there. The two married and then took over the resort in 1946.

Every day between June 1 and Labor Day, Pfahler recalls her mom serving three meals in the main lodge dining room and employing a dozen college students. Many employees, families and little old ladies arriving via Greyhound bus returned each year.

“For us, it was almost like a family reunion, even though we weren’t related,” Pfahler said.

The seasonal work meant money sometimes got tight by spring, Pfahler said, so Barbara eventually opened some of the cabins in the winter.

Gordon passed away in 1999, but Barbara continued to manage the resort until her death at age 89 in 2012. Pfahler said she and her siblings have decided it’s time to share Glen-Isle with its next steward.

“We just wanted someone else to love it and hoped that they would rent it the same way our mom did,” she said. “It’s got a lot of potential.”

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8 Comments »

  1. Renee Newey August 25, 2016 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Lots of wonderful memories of Gordon and Barbara, Leonard, Howard, and Heather and all the kids from overseas that worked there when I was doing the same in the summers of 1984, ’85 and ’86. Hope new owners will preserve the “gentile shabbiness”.

  2. Linda Lutz August 26, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I took my three children up to Glen Isle every year for at least a week, and on good years 2 weeks. they are grown up now but the have very fond memories of Gordon and Barbara.

    I still went up there until Barbara passed away. I hope some buys it and returns it to the days of old, with square dancing, chuck wagon dinners, and the summer picnicks

  3. Bob Carpenter August 26, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    I have enjoyed many a summer at this special place. Ever since Barbara passed away I have been watching the property, hoping that something good would happen to it. My ideal situation would be to have a chance to buy one or two of the cabins, as I probably can’t afford to buy the whole resort. If something changes, please notify me via email. Thanks, Bob

  4. Wendy Ford November 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Just going through my grandmother’s things and found a postcard with a picture of the resort and a note on the back “Vacation – Bailey, Colo, 1927” (!)

    I wonder if anyone bought the property? Would love to come visit. Thanks.

  5. George and Cathy Hafley November 29, 2016 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    We always stayed a week for our vacation.We loved it there.So so peaceful.The folk’s there was very friendly.We really miss going there.

  6. Lisa Hundley Strong May 1, 2017 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    My parents accidently found Glen-Isle in 1972. Glen Isle became our family destination for a week many summers to escape the Dallas heat! We loved the people, activities, food, and relaxing in the beautiful Lodge.
    I worked there the summer of ’77, it was the experience of a lifetime!!
    In the 1980’s, my husband and I took many friends to Glen Isle for weekend getaways. Of course, in the 1990’s we took our children several summers and they, too fell in love with Glen Isle.
    It was an honor and a privilege to know the Tripp family, thank you for the memories!
    xoxo, Lisa

  7. Sylvia & Steve White May 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Stayed there a few years ago while working nearby. Barbara was a wonderful hostess, and the property although in need of some maintenance, was absolutely intriguing and magical. The vintage inventory and taxidermy was amazing to experience.

  8. Cindi Argumaniz May 17, 2017 at 10:31 am - Reply

    My family spent every other Christmas at Glen-Isle from 1966 thru 1976. Growing up in Port Arthur, TX on the Gulf coast, those trips were to a Christmas Wonderland! The Trip family always went out of their way to make our stay the best it could possibly be, down to making sure we had a Christmas tree. My brother was Heidi’s age and Howdy and I are the same age. On a couple of trips my aunt and cousin Helen and David Cassidy went with us. They loved it so much that they started going in the summers as well. When David was in college he even worked there one summer. I genuinely hope that whoever buys it will preserve the history and integrity of it.

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