Estes Park History

12,000 years ago ...As the glaciers retreated at the end of the ice age, Paleo Indians including Clovis people traveled through this area hunting elk, deer, bison, and smaller animals.
6,000 years ago ...Ute Indians summered in the area, also hunting big game.
4,000 years ago ...Arapaho Indians summered in the area, hunting big game and catching eagles.
1860 ...The first known white settlers, Joel and Patsy Estes, took up residence
1866_griff 1866 ...The Estes family moved away. Their property was acquired within the year by a Welshman who had originally emigrated to Lyons, Griff Evans.
1871 ...William Henry Jackson travels to Estes Park, as the official photographer for the Department of the Interior, where he takes his famous photo of Longs Peak.
1872 ...The Right Honorable Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, Fourth Earl of Dunraven and Mount Earl left Ireland to tour the American West. Dunraven arrived in Estes Park on December 27, 1872 and stayed at the Evans ranch
1873 ...Isabella Bird spent several months at the Griff Evans ranch. She wrote letters home to her sister which were published as the popular book, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains.
A.Q. MacGregor took up a claim at the base of Lumpy Ridge which included the headwaters of Black Canyon Creek and established the MacGregor Ranch.
1874 ...Dunraven decided to create a private hunting reserve for himself. He hires Theodore Whyte to act as his agent and recruit men to file Homestead claims on all land where there were streams or springs. Approximately 5, 000 acres were filed this way with the Earl eventually controlling almost 10,000 acres
John T. Cleave helped to plan and build the Estes Park Hotel which Dunraven established just south of the Evans Ranch on Fish Creek. Albert Bierstadt picked the site. His painting of the area is now owned by the Denver Public Library.
1875 ...William James built a cabin near McCreery Spring on the Devils Gulch Road. The Hupp family homesteaded in Upper Beaver Meadows. Abner Sprague homesteaded in Moraine Park.
1877 ...The James family moved to the present site of Elkhorn Lodge and began to open their doors to tourists.
1878 ...Elkanah Lamb established Longs Peak House in the Tahosa Valley. His son, Carlyle Lamb became a professional guide, leading 146 trips to the summit of Longs Peak.
1883 ...First school district was organized. School was held in the Elkhorn Lodge.
1884 ...Enos Mills came to visit his mother’s cousin, Mrs. Elkanah Lamb.
1886 ...First schoolhouse was built on Elkhorn Avenue, just west of Moraine. Later moved to MacGregor Avenue.
1888 ...Shep Husted arrives. He was also a professional guide and was on the 1914 trip with the Arapaho. He owned the Rustic Hotel at the top of the switchbacks on the Devils Gulch Road.
1895 ...Dunraven unsuccessfully attempted to win the America’s Yachting Cup. After his failure, he never returned to the United States. He had not visited Estes Park since the late 1880s when he leased the hotel and other properties to Theodore Whyte.
1902 ...Enos Mills purchased the Lamb homestead and established Longs Peak Inn. W.T. Parke, pioneer photographer, sold his general store to Sam Service.
1903 ...F.O. Stanley arrives as a summer visitor.
1905 ...Townsite of Estes Park was platted by C.H. Bond and others. Included two blocks of commercial district with a small park and residential lots on the outskirts. Lots sold for $35 to $50. Fred Payne Clatworthy buys 2 lots in order to set up his gallery.
1906 ...Josie Hupp built the twenty-three room Hupp Hotel on the corner of Elkhorn and Moraine.
1907 ...YMCA of the Rockies is established on the site of Wind River Lodge. Dunraven sold his remaining property to B.D. Sanborn and F.O. Stanley.
1908 ...The Estes Park Bank was established. F.O. Stanley, C.H. Bond, and J.D. Stead served on the board of directors. Charles Hix was the first employee.
1909 ...The Stanley Hotel opens.
1911 ...The English Hotel burns to the ground.
1913 ...Major spring snowstorm causes collapse of Dining Hall at YMCA of the Rockies. Construction begins on the Fall River Road
1915 ...Rocky Mountain National Park is established.
1916 ...First library founded by the Woman’s Club with a room in the school. Clark Blickensderfer publishes photograph “view of Longs Peak” as seen from his cottage.
1917 ...The Town of Estes Park is incorporated. Gordon and Ethel Mace open the Baldpate Inn.
1920 ...Fall River Road is completed offering Park visitors easy access to Grand Lake and Hot Sulphur Springs.
1922 ...Woman’s Club and town residents build the public library in Bond Park. Enos Mills dies.
1925 ...Agnes Vaille dies after a successful winter climb of the east face of Longs Peak with Walter Kiener. Sven Birgin Sandzen becomes head of the Estes Park branch of the Chappell School of Art.
1929 ...Construction begins on Trail Ridge Road.
1932 ...Trail Ridge Road is completed.
1939 ...The Community Church of the Rockies (now the Old Church Shops) is built on West Elkhorn Avenue. New junior/senior high school (now the Municipal Building) is built on MacGregor Avenue. Artist Lyman Byxbe makes Estes Park his home.
1940 ...Construction of Alva B. Adams Tunnel begins. This 9.75-foot-diameter, 13-mile-long tunnel extends from Grand Lake through the Continental Divide to a point 4.5 miles southwest of Estes Park. Another series of tunnels through Giant Track Mountain to Marys Lake and through Prospect Mountain brings water to Lake Estes. F.O. Stanley dies.
1948 ...Colorado Big Thompson Project is completed with the filling of Lake Estes.
1955 ...Hidden Valley Ski Area opens.
1961 ...Artist Dorothy Carnine Scott moves permanently to Estes Park.
1964 ...Estes Park Area Historical Museum is established on the corner of Stanley Park.
1965 ...New junior/senior high school is built near Stanley Park.
1975 ...Elizabeth Knutsson Memorial Hospital opens.
1984 ...Estes Park Urban Renewal Authority authorized. Projects have changed the way downtown looks with the creation of the river walk, tree planting, etc.
1986 ...Estes Park’s hospital is renamed the Estes Park Medical Center.
1991 ...Hidden Valley Ski Area closes. Expanded Public Library opens east of the municipal building
2003 ...March snowstorm dumps more than forty inches in three days.
2009 ...The historic Park Theatre Mall burns.