Glenwood community joins Hotel Colorado, Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves in celebrating its milestone 125th birthday | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood community joins Hotel Colorado, Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves in celebrating its milestone 125th birthday

Kyle Mills
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The smell of pancakes and syrup wafted through downtown Glenwood Springs on Saturday morning as the Hotel Colorado and Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves Big Birthday Bash started with a breakfast under the Grand Avenue Bridge.

Music filled the crisp morning air as community members enjoyed breakfast and an idle chat before the big festivities began with a walk across the pedestrian bridge to Sixth Street in front of the Hotel Colorado.

After the presenting of the colors by the Boy Scouts, Ute Indian tribe elder Kenny Frost from Bayfield gave the opening blessing.

"The hot springs, caves and all the land that surrounds here are sacred to the Utes, so it is always good to come back here. Playing an important role in this event is special," Frost said.

Children flocked to the family-friendly event, as laughter and screams of joy echoed off the brick and sandstone walls of the historic Hotel Colorado.

"It's awesome that they are celebrating it with the community," Parachute resident Linda Ramirez said.

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Ramirez and her husband brought their son to enjoy the kids entertainment and activities.

"I didn't realize it was that old," Benjamin Ramirez said.

In conjunction with the event Hotel Colorado unveiled plans for some renovations that will be coming to the historic Glenwood Springs hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

"This is a great event for us to showcase and show off design boards of a model guest room and the Devereux Room remodeled," said Hotel Colorado general manager Christian Henny. "This is the first public showing of what the renovations will look like."

The Melville family of Aspen, the new owners of the hotel, has hired the same architects that did the Crawford Hotel and Union Station in Denver.

Marian Melville, the matriarch of the family, spoke during the afternoon presentation of dignitaries of her husband Ralph Melville's passion for hospitality.

"He wanted to make hotels a nice place for the guest at a price they could afford, so they would come back saying, 'I had a wonderful vacation.'

"Here's the end of it right now, the Hotel Colorado," she said, pointing to the hotel known as the "Grand Dame" of Glenwood Springs.

Her youngest son, Craig Melville, spoke to the importance of stewardship, rather than ownership, when it comes to a historic piece of property.

"Stewardship is the idea that we are entrusted with something, not that you own it," he said. "Stewardship is also about taking care of your employees and your guests."

Of the renovation plans, he added, "Her dress has become a bit ragged, torn in places, rough on the edges … our stewardship is to maintain the lady and repair her dress. I can promise you we are up to the task."

Glenwood Springs Historical Society tours of the hotel, the city's old hydroelectric power plant and Vapor Caves — all designed in the late 1800s by architect Walter Devereux — gave the community an up-close look at the history being celebrated.

"This is huge, 125 years is a tremendous accomplishment," New Castle resident Roberto Moreno said.

A steady cascade of people flowed through Sixth Street on Saturday in Glenwood, walking and biking to the event.

Martin and Lori Kollman and their two children biked into town from their home at No Name, just east of Glenwood Springs on the Colorado River.

"I think it is awesome, they have obviously have been a big part of the community for 125 year," Lori Kollman said. "It's the whole reason Glenwood got started, somebody's vision of a resort place for people internationally."

Glenwood Springs Post Independent Editor John Stroud contributed to this report.