While Estes Park is celebrating our Centennial year in 2017, the town’s history began long before it was established in 1917. The Arapaho tribe frequented the Estes Valley in the late 1700s, and in 1859, Joel Estes, a Kentucky-born adventurer who struck it rich in the California gold rush, “discovered” the Estes Valley.
The town of Estes Park was platted in 1905 by Abner Sprague, and within a decade, much of the footprint we know today was in place. F.O. Stanley visited Estes Park in 1903 and began to generously provide early infrastructure like water, electricity, and the sewer system. The Stanley Hotel itself was built between 1907 and 1909. Over the next hundred-and-some years, residents and guests alike would continue to flock to the beautiful Estes Valley and Rocky Mountain National Park, adding to its rich history and heritage.
2017 is already promising to be a grand year of celebration! Many retailers and other businesses are offering special products and services that correspond to the Centennial. For example, the Christmas Shoppe on Elkhorn Avenue, guests can purchase an ornament embossed with the official Centennial logo that’s made of “Park Bark,” which is recycled beetle-kill pine from Rocky Mountain National Park. Or spa aficionados can head over to Riverspointe Spa on the Riverwalk for their “100 Minutes of Bliss” Centennial Massage, which includes treatments designed for Estes Park’s high altitude and outdoor sport culture and is offered through the end of the year.
Even the craft beverage watering holes are getting in on the fun: Rock Cut Brewing Company, right across from Fun City’s rainbow slide, will be brewing a Centennial beer sometime in 2017. If you’re just looking for a small memento of Estes’ 100th year, many downtown shops are creating and offering Centennial t-shirts, hats, mugs, and other souvenirs.
If you find yourself visiting Estes Park this April (and you should – snow-capped mountains, longer sunny days, fewer crowds, and beautiful spring!), make sure to carve out some time for the Mountain Festival. In its inaugural year, the Mountain Festival is designed to celebrate all things Estes. There will be music, libations, activities for kids, birthday cake, and much more.
For information about this event and everything else Centennial-related in Estes Park, be sure to check out: Estes Park’s Centennial. Come celebrate the 100th birthday of the place we all love so dearly!