Stanley Museum

P.O. Box 788
Estes Park, CO 80517

The Stanley Hotel, built by F.O. (Freelan Oscar) Stanley of Stanley Steamer automobile fame, opened June 22, 1909. The Stanley Hotel story is the story of Estes Park, Colorado's oldest tourist town.

Estes Park was a tourist destination as early as 1874, long before Rocky Mountain National Park opened in its backyard in 1915. There was no gold or silver here, and most ranchers soon gave up on cattle and turned to accomodating the tourist. By 1900, "dude" ranches abounded. But none of them offered much luxury when F.O. and his wife, Flora, arrived in 1903 from the East. Being a successful, wealthy entrepreneur, F.O. saw an opportunity to fill a hospitality gap by building an elegant resort hotel.

To build his hotel (1907 - 1909), Stanley first had to create the town's infrastructure - power, sewer, water, roads, clinic, bank, etc. Then, through the use of his Stanley Steamer "Mountain Wagon" bus, Estes Park became the first resort community to fetch customers significant distances from railroad depots by automobile. Automobile tourism started right here in a major way.

In 1997, the Stanley Museum was invited by The Stanley Hotel to set up museum exhibits and to manage the historic tours of the Hotel. In the fall of 2004, the Stanley Museum set out on its own, relocating to Stanley Village below the Hotel. The museum's Estes Park location has become an important part of the original Stanley Museum. Over the years the Museum has attracted a worldwide membership while fulfilling its mission to tell the Stanley story.

In the new location, the Museum has added new programs and adapted its popular history and ghost story tours to virtual tours in a presentation format. Witht he addition of the Museum's stunning 1909 Model R Stanley Roadster, the Museum presents a much more detailed talk about the significance of the Stanley steam car, its place in automotive and transportation history and an introduction to how it works. It also offers groups of 10-20 its history lectures with special teas
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