Glenwood accommodated the post-World War I traveler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“The scarcity of cabins is not as great as it has been in other years, but it is altogether too marked. It is already apparent that it is going to be very nearly impossible to accommodate all who seek shelter here while they explore the many wonderful scenic spots in this near vicinity.”
” Glenwood Post, June 20, 1929
The desire for mobility after World War I fueled America’s addiction to the automobile. Americans were on the go, and the push to see the country and to vacation anywhere brought massive changes in transportation. With the automobile came the need for better roads and filling stations. Travelers also demanded convenient lodging centered around their automobile.
By the late 1920s, Glenwood Springs’ businessmen were painfully aware of the shortage in lodging available to this new type of mobile traveler. The town’s grand hotels had focused primarily upon the vacationer who came by rail and who stayed for an extended period of time. This new traveler possessed the freedom to come and go as he pleased, demanded fewer amenities, and spent his vacation dollars frugally.
Across America, overnight campgrounds had been established to meet these travelers’ needs. In January 1929, Glenwood Springs’ businessmen discarded the campground idea, meeting instead to discuss and ultimately push for the construction of a cottage camp ” a place of shelter and comfort for the traveler that allowed for convenient automobile parking.
Otto J. Worrell heard the community’s call for lodging. By May 1929 he had nearly finished construction of four cabins in his automobile cottage camp on South Grand Avenue near the site of today’s VanRand Shopping Center. His plan was to open a total of 15 cabins, complete with toilets, showers and hot and cold running water. Named Mountain View Court, Worrell’s cottage camp officially opened on Strawberry Day 1929 and was filled to capacity.
Others seized upon the cottage camp idea. Margaret Noonan already had 16 cabins at Noonan’s Grove near the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. She added four more cabins that spring of 1929. Buster Gardner and C.R. McCarthy had constructed cabins at No Name the year before, and planned to add more. S.S. Elder announced in the summer of 1929 that his Okanela Lodge at Canon Creek would contain a golf course, community hall and several furnished cabins to accommodate the automobile traveler.
The building did not stop. United Taverns and Airport Inc. began construction in June 1930 of a 20-cabin camp located northwest of today’s intersection of 13th Street and Grand Avenue. Named the Kenrose Cottages for the company’s president, Ken Baillie and his wife Rose, the cottage camp offered neat furnished cottages along with a children’s playground and miniature golf course.
Cottage camps later became known as tourist courts, and more were created to meet Glenwood Springs’ lodging needs. In the 1940s, Red Rock Cabins, Columbine Cottage Court, Red Mountain Inn, Cozy Cottages and the Knotty Pine Kort were just a few that additionally filled the need.
Economics after World War II again changed America’s travel habits. Cottage courts slowly gave way to the motel concept of an office attached to rooms, lobby and dining facility.
Eventually, Glenwood Springs’ cottage courts gave way to motels. But whatever the need of traveler, Glenwood Springs has done her best to accommodate the lodging needs of all her visitors.
Thank you to Carleton Hubbard for his research and contribution to this article.
Willa Kane is former archivist of and a current volunteer with the Frontier Historical Society and Museum. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448. “Frontier Diary” appears the first Tuesday of every month.
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