All involved should try to preserve Grand Lake’s historic Eslick Motor Court
Efforts to preserve the historic Eslick Motor Court in the center of Grand Lake, Colorado, took a surprising turn this month when the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (RMRT) turned down the Grand Lake Area Historical Society’s request for more time to figure out how and where to move the building.
Eslick Motor Court was built between 1912 and 1915. Located on Grand Avenue, the building is an early example of a lodge that accommodated automobiles and guests.
It is a precursor to the modern motel. The Eslick Motor Court is believed to be the oldest example of a “cottage court” unaltered and still standing today in Colorado.
Initially, RMRT offered the building to the historical society for $1, as long as it was removed from the theatre’s property.
The society was given until Oct. 14 to make its decision. The deadline came and went and the society’s request for an extension was denied.
Members of the Grand Lake Town Board had expressed concern that the building would not survive a move and would lose a great deal of its historic value if it were to be moved.
The theatre took that concern into consideration when taking its offer to the historical society off the table.
However, by taking the Eslick Motor Court off the negotiating table, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre accepted the entire responsibility for the fate of the building.
This is no small weight they have on their shoulders.
As a member of the community ” a member that recently reached out its hand for community goodwill in its fundraising efforts for the construction of a new theatre ” we trust that RMRT will do everything in its power to preserve the building, preferably in its current location.
Grand County does not have a large number of historic structures. It would be a shame to lose one.
Unlike mining towns, where workers poured into the town center with their pockets full of money looking for entertainment, our towns were cattle towns. Our buildings were constructed for practical purposes ” for the short visits from ranchers and sheepherders to stock up on supplies.
We do not have opera houses and masonry decorated banks and mansions.
But we have a handful of buildings ” mostly made of wood ” that hold our history. A train depot, historic cabins and lodges and a 1910s motor court hold the story of what happened here.
To tear down these buildings in the name of progress is short-sighted.
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