Sky-Hi Staff Observation: March 3, 2009 |

Sky-Hi Staff Observation: March 3, 2009

I’m curious about the large nautical map covering a wall in The Ship Tavern at the historic Brown Palace in Denver. According to a Tavern bartender, the map has been there for 75 years, put in about the time Mr. CK Boettcher (a sailing junky) acquired the post-Prohibition room in the 1930s. Studying the map during a Colorado Press Association annual convention last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the great prominence the painting bestows upon Grand Lake and its yacht club.

“Wherein is shown the routes of various explorers and discoveries” states a phrase on the painting, plastered on a back wall. Various sailing ships belonging to Cook, Magellan, Columbus, Cabot, Leif, Drake and others travel Pacific and Atlantic routes toward discovery.

Yet the only inland reference point on the entire North American Continent is Grand Lake.

“Grand Lake,” the map of the world boasts. “The world’s highest yacht club.”

Why is it so singled out? Perhaps Boettcher sailed on the lake or was a member of the club. Indeed the lake and its club is a Colorado novelty worth boasting about. Or, could the map predate the Tavern? Perhaps it was commissioned the time Grand Lake Yacht Club members enticed tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton to grant them the silver Lipton Cup during a soiree at the Denver Club in the late 1800s?

Lipton granted the prestigious silver to what was then a makeshift club, never having visited Grand Lake.

As the story goes, the club’s hospitality in Denver and its claim it was “the world’s highest yacht club” were good-enough reasons for him.

” Tonya Bina

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