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Soaking it up for 50 years

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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After 50 years, the Hot Springs Pool is still a family affair. This June, the current owners of the Glenwood Springs landmark will celebrate 50 years in business together. On June 4, 1956, 22 Glenwood Springs businessmen bought the pool for $1 million from then-owner Frank Kistler. The original investors included Hotel Denver owner Mike Bosco and his son Hank, who was the pool’s general manager and has served for many years as president and chairman of the board.”I’ve been coming to work here for 39 years,” said Bosco, who maintains an office in the pool’s administration building and athletic club.Kistler bought the pool in 1938, as well as the Vapor Caves and the Hotel Colorado. During World War II, he turned the pool and the hotel over to the U.S. Navy for use as a convalescent hospital for wounded sailors.When the war ended, he reopened the complex to the public. By 1956, he was getting older and looked to sell his properties, Bosco said.

“The rumor was he had (someone) interested in buying the pool and turning it into a private club,” he said, “and that concerned a number of people.”The Boscos; Jack Mitchell and Jess Weaver, who owned Glenwood’s dairy, the Creamery; attorney Charles Stewart; and radio station owner Jerry Fitch formed a group of investors, mostly local motel owners and other local businessmen, to buy the pool and keep it from going private.Sixteen of the original families now make up the 80 shareholders in the pool.In 1956, each investor was asked to pony up $10,000 for a down payment on the $1 million price tag.”Ten thousand dollars was a lot of money back then,” Bosco said. “I don’t know anyone who could have sat down and written a check.”Everyone had to find money from friends or local banks.

But the initial investment wasn’t all. Two years later the owners had to put in another million to build a concrete pool over the sandstone and brick-floored pool and install a filtration system, said Hot Springs Pool general manager and chief operating officer Kjell Mitchell. Kjell, the son of Jack Mitchell, also has a long history with the pool. He’d spent many weekends and summer vacations working for his dad at the Creamery, and when his dad invested in the pool it was natural that he work there as well.”I worked at the pool as a bellman in 1975,” he said. “I worked my way up through the ranks … and I’ve been here for 29 years.”Today the pool employs 175 year-round staff that swells to about 250 during the peak summer season, Mitchell said.As it did when it opened in 1888 as the Spa in the Rockies, the Hot Springs Pool has remained the premier tourist destination in Glenwood Springs.”When people think of Glenwood Springs, they think of the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool,” said Stephanie Keister, director of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “While we have some really wonderful attractions here (such as) the caverns, rafting and skiing, what’s unique about pool is people come (here) to do other things but they always go to the pool.”



Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com

Hotel Denver owner Mike Bosco and his son Hank; Buffalo Valley Restaurant owner Francis Christensen; attorney Allyn Cole; Kenrose Motel owner E.H. Dahl; Tom Dever, owner of Dever Jewelry and later Glenwood Springs mayor; Jack Farnum of Farnum Mortuary; Jack’s brother Bill Farnum, a partner in the mortuary; Jerry Fitch, owner of KGLN radio; P.J. Gallagher, Gallagher’s Restaurant; J.J. Huntley, Troy Laundry; Ed Lake, owner of Lake Texaco; chiropractor Dr. C.W. McFadden, who also purchased the Vapor Caves in 1956; Jack Mitchell and Jess Weaver, who owned Glenwood’s dairy, the Creamery; attorney Wallis Parkison; Silver Spruce Motel owner Cran Rader; attorney and later judge Charles Stewart; and Wes Tenbrook, who owned Tenbrook Garage.


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