Visit to historic Hotel Colorado brings back memories for past visitor | PostIndependent.com

Visit to historic Hotel Colorado brings back memories for past visitor

Fran Blumenthal walks her husband, Jack, through the lobby of the Hotel Colorado Monday in Glenwood Springs. Monday’s visit to the hotel was Fran’s first in 70 years. Her family spent three summers vacationing in Glenwood and staying at the historic hotel.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

A teenage crush — everyone remembers their first. For Fran (Margolis) Blumenthal, her first crush happened on summer vacation right here in Glenwood Springs at the Hotel Colorado.

Back in the late 1940s, Fran, her two siblings and parents spent three summers vacationing at the historic Western Slope hotel.

“After the war, a group of men, including my father, got together and purchased the hotel,” Blumenthal said.

Her father, H.J. Margolis, was in real estate in Chicago when he joined the group of investors in buying the hotel after the Navy decommissioned the structure that had been used as a convalescent hospital during World War II.

“My dad was a small partner. He used to say his share was the chimney,” she said.

Seven decades have passed and memories have faded a bit, as she combs through old family vacation photos.

Reluctant to say what she remembers the most about the hotel, Blumenthal’s daughter, Jill King, beats her to the punch.

“She does remember a huge part of the hotel, which was the old elevator,” King said.

The cat was out of the bag. King said her mom had a met a boy by the name of Gene Williams on her last visit to the hotel.

“I had my first crush. He was the elevator operator, and I was only 13 years old,” Blumenthal proclaimed with her husband of 64 years only footsteps away.

SEEING HER ONE MORE TIME

A lot has changed since the 83-year-old last visited Glenwood Springs and set eyes on the Grand Dame of the Rockies perched above the Colorado River.

Fran is a Chicago native. She and Jack worked and raised their family in the midwestern city before retiring to San Diego, California.

The couple recently moved to Henderson, Nevada, to be closer to King and her husband, Steve, and daughter, Carly.

Blumenthal had always wanted to return to Glenwood Springs and the Hotel Colorado, making it part of her bucket list.

“I always wanted to come back, and kept wanting to bring my husband out here — just never happened — finally, I said I’m getting so old now if I don’t do it I never will,” she said.

King said her mom had been talking about wanting to make the journey, so on a whim, she and her husband planned a little road trip.

After a nearly nine-hour and more than 600-mile drive, they arrived Sunday evening in Glenwood.

Not wanting to go another minute without seeing the old hotel, Blumenthal and her family spent the evening driving around downtown Glenwood and the hotel.

“Nothing looks the same. The bridge is gone that we used to walk across,” Blumenthal said.

The bridge she referred to isn’t the bridge across the Colorado River, but the pedestrian bridge that spanned the old Highway 6 that passed right in front of the hotel.

“I remember one or two streets downtown. Now there are a lot of streets. It’s night and day for me,” she said.

It wasn’t until around lunch Monday that Blumenthal took her first steps this century around the Hotel Colorado.

With a gasp and a smile, her eyes lit up, as she took in the cream-colored Roman brick and Peach Blow Sandstone facade of the 126-year-old building.

“It’s amazing seeing my mom here again. She’s so happy walking around reminiscing,” King said. “To think that this is where she used to vacation as a little girl with her family 70 years ago is hard to believe. I’m so glad that she had this chance to relive her good old days.

“This is something I should’ve probably done years ago.”

Once in the lobby, Blumenthal went straight for the hotel elevator. With her outstretched hand she ran her finger across the door. The elevator has changed but the memories remain for Blumenthal.

“It is a joyful thing. It brings back good memories,” she said.

Blumenthal and her family plan to spend the week in Glenwood Springs, sightseeing and visiting spots she recalls from her youth.

Before they depart, King is making sure her mom has the full Hotel Colorado experience. She booked a room for Fran and Jack for Thursday night.

kmills@postindependent.com


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