Grand Lake Historical Society will move Eslick Cottage Court foot by foot |

Grand Lake Historical Society will move Eslick Cottage Court foot by foot

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

With the Grand Lake Repertory Theatre’s end-of-October deadline looming, The Grand Lake Area Historical Society plans to move the historic Eslick Cottage Court building starting the day after Labor Day, according to Society president Jim Cervenka.

The Society’s wants to save the run-down building, which sits on land where the Grand Lake Repertory Theatre plans to begin construction of a new theater. The theater sold the cottage court building to the Society for $1.

But paying for the move is still weighing on Society board members.

The quoted mover’s fee to relocate the structure 25 feet across the street is $25,000, Cervenka said, and for that, the Society has launched a “Foot By Foot” campaign.

The Society is selling one-foot units for $100 in an effort to raise enough funds to cover the move.

In all, site preparation and getting the building ready plus the actual move will cost the Society $37,500.

The Eslick Cottage Court building is deemed to be the oldest standing structure representative of the earliest motels. In Grand Lake, the Society owns the Kauffman House, a historic lakeside hotel to where early Grand Lake tourists arrived by horse and carriage. The Eslick Cottage Court marks the time in history when America began its love affair with the automobile, and hoteliers responded by building convenient ground-floor rooms with neighboring carports.

The bark-slab sided Eslick building, constructed around 1915, is believed to be the earliest example of a motor inn in the United States, according to the Society and state historians.

The Society took out a $166,000 mortgage for property kitty-corner from the cottage court’s present Grand Lake location. The Society also seeks to purchase the next-door lot for an eventual Grand Lake Historic Park.

But for that lot, the Historical Society hopes to raise from the community $150,000 more. For restoration and rehabilitation of the building once it is set on its permanent home, the Society is seeking another $124,000 in possible grant funds.

The financial road is steep, the Society president recognizes. But, according to Cervenka, “This wasn’t our choosing,” he said. “Events happened. But we’re doing it because (the cottage court) is nationally significant, and it’s significant locally. And if we don’t do it, it’s lost. It had to be done.”

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail