I always loved history and writing so when this opportunity came I decided to write about some Grand Lake history. After all, how hard could it be to sit at a computer and type?
Well, I soon found out that research could often be a long and time consuming job. Reading one paper after another often caused me to change direction and research something else. Gaining a little bit of knowledge here and there then having to go to another direction to get additional information.
This happened again when I thought I would write stories of historic buildings in Grand Lake, I thought about the Historic Rapids Lodge. I found the name of John Lapsley Ish who built the Rapids in the early 1900’s.
Now understand these dates and who did what, occasionally may changed, but I try to be as accurate as I have found from research.
During the time Mr. Ish was building the Rapids Lodge, he was apparently the owner of the Pine Cone Inn. (changing direction #1).
The Pine Cone Inn was located at the southwest corner of what is now Grand Avenue and Hancock Street. There are several different versions as to who actually built the Pine Cone Inn. Another version is that a Wilson Waldron (Changing direction #2) built the building in 1878.
So I started researching Wilson Waldron (occasionally spelled Waldren) and found that he actually built his hotel The Grand Lake House. (changing direction #3) The Grand Lake House was one of the largest buildings in Grand Lake and had a very large dance floor and could accommodate 75 people in the dining room. It was at this point that I found that many building had a dance floor and that dancing was a very big attraction at the time. The second floor was reserved for hotel guests including spring beds with mattresses.
As this version goes, Wilson Waldron, who was at one time a Grand County Commissioner, had built The Grand Lake House on the North side of Grand Lake. He was very aggressive at promoting Grand Lake as well as his hotel. However; this was very early and the hotel was a two story building one of only eight buildings in Grand Lake, and one of only two hotels.
However; another resident of Grand Lake, by the name of Billy Murphy lived on the south side of Grand Lake. Shadow Mountain Lake did not exist at that time, and the road into Grand Lake came up from the south and crossed the river exiting Grand Lake in the approximate area of where the Rainbow bridge is now located. Anyway, Billy decided to divert the traffic on this road to his area on the south side of Grand Lake. He blocked the road going to the north side of Grand Lake with rocks and logs. He tore down Wilson Waldrons sign for the Grand Lake House and with the blocked road people could no longer travel to Wilson Waldrons Grand Lake House.
As this story goes the aggressive and not to be defeated, Wilson Waldron promptly proceeded to beat Billy with his fists until Billy agreed to remove the rocks and logs from blocking the road, replace the Grand Lake House sign and quit interfering.
For a time everything went smoothly for The Grand Lake House and for the aggressive Wilson Waldron. But, on New Years Eve of 1882 a large gathering had come to the Grand Lake House to celebrate.
The evening was going well and was peaceful as long as the younger children played together in the early evening. Once the young children retired to beds in the upstairs and the older adults continued to dance, drink and in general prepare to celebrate the New Year, the tension began to build within Wilson.
It wasn't long until arguments broke out and at the request of Wilsons’ wife, a man by the name of Robert Plummer tried to get Wilson to go outside for a breath of fresh air. Apparently, Wilson resented being asked to leave his own house so he walked over, picked up his rifle and shot Robert Plummer as he walked across the street. (changing direction #3)
Waldron was later jailed, escaped and laid low until his death in 1897. His wife left town in October 1883 and the Grand Lake House was abandoned.
Pine Cone Inn …continued in next issue.