The Rich History of Glen Isle
Glen Isle was constructed in 1901 as a resort for the prominent and well-to-do, most of whom resided in Denver, some 50 miles to the east. It was developed by a group of Denver investors who sought to take advantage of easy railroad access and to promote not only tourism and the hotel patronage it brought, but also to boost sales of nearby building lots owned by the investment partners.
The South Platte River, its major forks rushing through the mountains toward Denver in two scenic gorges, was a favorite route for tourists and travelers from the middle 1880s. The north fork served as the route for one of the earliest narrow gauge rail lines to enter the Rockies west of Denver, and the river had long been known for its superb trout fishing.
The beauty of the Platte Canyon and its proximity and easy rail access to Denver — the canyon’s mouth is just twenty miles from Union Depot — attracted tourists, fishermen, and “summer cottagers” to what was described in a city newspaper of the time as a “breathing spot for Denverites. Cottages and more substantial summer homes sprang up in numerous villages from Strontia Springs, near the mouth of the canyon, to Grant, 40 miles upstream. The narrow gauge Denver, South Park and Pacific — later the Colorado and Southern Railroad — provided frequent train service for the mountain-lovers.
By 1895, the railroad had been suffering from an especially unprofitable year, and the Colorado & Southern attempted to increase passenger traffic on the line by promoting Platte Canyon tourism. Recreational activities, particularly fishing, were emphasized, the railroad stocking the river with up to a quarter million trout each season. In 1899, the company diversified its efforts still further by opening two resort hotels in the canyon, the Kiowa Lodge at Baileys, 55 miles from Denver,and the Shawnee Lodge, three miles further upriver. The large rustic structures patterned after resorts in the Adirondacks, were constructed of lodgepole pine logs and shingles. They were designed with wide, screened porches where guests could take advantage of the cool mountain breezes and enjoy the canyon views, and large dining and entertaining rooms. Golf, tennis, hiking, riding and fishing were favorite leisure activities, and a summer social season was created and enthusiastically reported by area newspapers. Fashionable people from Denver found the canyon to be a desirable escape from the heat and the boredom of the city, and many, having been at first attracted by the hotels, purchased house lots or cottages nearby.
Glen Isle Resort Owners
Glen Isle Resort was opened in 1901, by five original investors. In 1923, the property was bought by the Baldwin’s and in the 1940’s it was given to the Baldwin’s granddaughter, Barbara and her husband Gordon Tripp. The Tripp family owned and operated the resort until Barbara’s death in November 2012.
Mary Ruth grew up coming to Glen Isle Resort as a child in the 1970’s. Her favorite memories are the chuckwagon dinners, horseback riding, evening dances, movie nights, and the endless activities that never grew old. Mary Ruth grew up, married Greg, and they started bringing their five boys to Glen Isle Resort.
Mary Ruth and Greg were both professionals in education, and revisited Glen Isle in the summer of 2016 after an Adele concert. They found their beloved Glen Isle was being sold. After much consideration, they found the idea of not pursuing a dream to be more terrifying than looking back and wondering “why” they didn’t…so they began the magical journey to purchase, restore, and bring historical Glen Isle back to life.