The Historic Stanley Home Foundation
Acquisition Capital Campaign of 2017
The Board of Directors and a great many campaign volunteers will endeavor to secure the necessary funds in 2017, to purchase, renovate and furnish the Stanley Home in 2018.
This campaign is nothing less than an effort to not only preserve the preeminent historic residence in Estes Park for public use, but will also pay homage to the inestimable value of the contributions of F.O. and Flora Stanley to this town and to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Donations to the campaign are tax-deductible due to the Foundation’s status as a 501 (C) (3) entity. In the very unlikely event that the home can’t be purchased, donations held in trust will be returned to donors.
Following are the estimated sources and uses of campaign gifts:
Sources of Campaign Gifts
Leadership Gifts from Individuals $500,000
Grants from Governmental Sources 400,000
Leadership Gifts from Corporations 300,000
Grants from Non-Governmental Foundations 300,000
All Other Individual and Corporate Gifts 200,000
Total Sources of Funds $1,700,000
Total Uses of Funds $1,700,000
The purchase of the Stanley Home will honor the legacy and legend of the Stanleys, to the benefit and enjoyment of generations to come!
The Arrival of F.O. and Flora Stanley
In Estes Park, Colorado in 1903
On the morning of June 30, 1903, Freelan Oscar Stanley left Welch’s ranch hotel on the north fork of the St. Vrain River above Lyons. Following meager directions, he drove his small steam automobile up the rough wagon road toward the mountain resort of Estes Park.
Fate smiled broadly on Estes Park, Colorado that morning, with the completion of a drive just short of two hours. Forty-three years after the arrival of Joel Estes in 1859, the man who would transform Estes Park into a modern resort community had arrived.
F.O. Stanley would soon use his Yankee ingenuity and considerable wealth to advance his vision for Estes Park. He designed and built the Stanley Hotel complex, improved access to and from the Park and incorporated a transportation company for visitors. He built Estes Park’s first power plant and helped establish its water system and first bank.
With this infrastructure in place, Stanley turned to an even larger project, the creation of a national park in the Estes Park region. The direct influence of F.O. Stanley would continue to linger over town and region for another quarter of a century.
The story of Estes Park is not just a textbook lesson in civic high-mindedness and entrepreneurial success. It is part of the larger story of the development of the resort industry in Colorado and the West.
After his arrival in 1903, F.O. Stanley continued his legacy as THE transformative figure in the history of Estes Park. In 1940, he died at the age of 91. The Father of Estes Park will forever be recognized for hastening the upbuilding of the Park, to the benefit of millions who are blessed by their time in this, one of America’s beautiful places.
The Stanleys’ Summer Cottage, 1904
At what is now 415 West Wonderview Avenue
Much of the fall and winter of 1903-1904 were given over to planning and constructing the Stanleys’ new summer home.
The house the Stanleys settled upon was clearly designed by F.O. Stanley himself. Its high foundation, imposing front entrance, Greek Doric columns, and classic ornamentation are an unmistakable part of the Georgian Colonial Revival style that graced almost every structure that F.O. Stanley and his twin brother ever built.
The Stanleys’ roomy “cottage,” with its 5,240 square feet on three levels, was at once elegant but simple. The second, or main, floor was the largest of the three. It opened off a long, 40-foot veranda and into a large, illuminated front hall. Facing the front door was an impressive and airy central staircase leading to a landing and then continuing up on each side of the rotunda to the third floor above.
F.O. had his private space as well. To the left and slightly below the house, Stanley built a two-story carriage house and workshop. The lower level contained his billiard table, the upper the garage and his workshop. Here he would spend time playing his favorite game, making his famous violins and crossbows, or just plain puttering about.
Clearly the grandest house in Estes Park, the Stanleys’ new home in the area called “Rockside,” would be enjoyed by F.O. and Flora Stanley in the coming thirty-six years. In its early years, the home was the site where Mr. Stanley’s genius would be employed to, set the tone for the evolution of modern Estes Park and for the millions of visitors to come.
The Site of the Stanley Home
On West Wonderview Avenue
Located immediately to the north and west of what would soon become the center of the village of Estes Park and nestled against the lichen-covered rocks of a sloping hillside above a beautiful meadow, the new house commanded the same fine panoramic view of Longs Peak and the snowcapped Front Range that the Stanleys had enjoyed the previous summer.
To the north of the house, connected by a path from the rear porch, there would in time be a well–used picnic area, which shared much the same view as the house itself. Beyond and above this area were gigantic boulders. There Stanley built himself a wooden bench, bolted directly to the rocks, where he could sit and play his violin or quietly watch the scenery and ever-changing hues of the range spread out before him.
The site of the Stanley Home is a unique and magnificent complement to the Home itself. In an age today where open space is coveted and building density controlled, this four-acre site is enhanced chiefly by the presence of the magnificent structure, but is further improved by the beauty of the land around it. This land is destined to remain as it was.
As F.O. Stanley stated in 1928, “………nature has endowed Estes Park in a wonderful manner. The grandeur of its scenery, its deep blue skies, its clear, cool and invigorating air, its mountain streams of sparkling soft water, its sunny days and delightfully cool nights, are things the visitor never forgets, and having enjoyed once, desires to enjoy again.”
The visceral feelings about this place, that we all experience regardless of our human traits, are so commonly held. Whether it be F.O. and Flora Stanley in 1903, or the residents and visitors of today, it is the magnificent and soothing nature of this place that captures us always.
The Historic Stanley Home Foundation
Future Activities After Purchasing the home
The original 1904 home of F.O. and Flora Stanley has been fortunate over many decades, that faithful succeeding owners had a heart and mind for the profound history of the home and the magnificence of the structure. It is in excellent condition for a home aged 112 years.
Gary and Kelly Brown have resided in this home for the last 38 years. Only with their dedication and perseverance would this historical gem be a candidate for preservation today. It is their hope, as is ours, that our community will now see the wisdom of setting this historical site aside for many public uses through our non-profit Foundation.
After purchase of the home in early 2018, the Foundation will endeavor to convert it from a residential use to a public property use. In all ways that are possible, recapturing the authenticity of its early years will be pursued. Indeed, many features of the home and its furnishings already stand unchanged from its early 20th century glory.
We have no intention of securing this iconic home only to have it stand idle. There are innumerable uses that will be explored with the selected activities being the ones that best serve the public, while also sustaining the Foundation charged with its stewardship.
In the Estes Park Centennial year of 2017, we expect to hold events at the home in conjunction with the community participation of its purchase.
There will certainly be two recurring major events annually on an ongoing basis. Under development is our signature annual Founders Days celebration debuting in 2017. This historic home will be an extraordinary gathering place for Estes Park education and celebration for many generations to come.
The Historic Stanley Home Foundation
Case Statement for Historic Preservation
The Board of Directors of The Historic Stanley Home Foundation, hereby asserts our position, that the fulfillment of the Foundation mission is of critical importance to our community, state and visitors from all places.
- The fabric of a community will not be fully complete, unless its history is sufficiently known and displayed.
- There is no greater contribution to the founding and development of Estes Park than that of F.O. and Flora Stanley, beginning in 1904.
- The home of the Stanleys is the most historically significant residence existing in Estes Park.
- Estes Park lacks significant recognition, preservation and exposure of any major historic residences at this time.
- The existence of a residence that can be experienced to feel history in person, will supplement the mission of our fine museum.
- Delaying the accomplishment of the Foundation mission now, places the long-term preservation of the home in danger of ever occurring.
- The relative feasibility of accomplishing the Foundation mission is high due to relative lesser funds needed than other very worthy projects.
- Significant funds from beyond Estes Park are excellent possibilities due to the prioritization of historic property preservation.
- As the Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park with 4 million users annually, the Stanley Home would be of great interest to visitors.
- Numerous community uses for charitable, educational and philanthropic purposes would benefit our town and state.
From Kurtis Kelly
Estes Park History Portrayalist
As a history re-enactor, I marvel at the Stanley Historic Home as an ideal setting to celebrate the amazing stories of its original occupants. To enter this home is to be drawn immediately into its charm. Securing this historic treasure as a public site would be an economic, educational, and cultural “win” for our community, as it would become a destination for locals and visitors of all ages.
When I enjoy festivals at our town’s Indoor Event Center, or relish the sounds of Celtic rock at Scottish Fest, or cheer the Rooftop Rodeo, I’m reminded that these joys are possible thanks to F.O. and Flora Stanley’s gift of 54 acres of meadowland to our residents. These annual events happen thanks to a place we call Stanley Park. Now it’s time to match F.O.’s philanthropy by acquiring the home ready to honor his inspiring story and legacy.
Let’s not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire the Stanley Home for our civic benefit.
From James H. Pickering
Historian Laureate, Town of Estes Park
When F.O. Stanley, but recently recovered from a bout of tuberculosis, purchased land on which to build a summer home, there was as yet no Town of Estes Park, the community to whose subsequent growth and development over nearly four decades he would commit both his time and resources. The Stanley House, like the nearby Stanley Hotel, which it preceded by some four years, stands as an enduring monument to a visionary individual who through ingenuity, courage, and persistence found ways to harness the emerging technological forces of the twentieth century to make those dreams a reality. “The Grand Old Man of Estes Park” they called him, and rightfully so. From his time until our own, the influence of F.O. Stanley continues to be felt throughout the Estes Valley.
It is for this reason that the efforts being made by Tom Shamburg and his associates to purchase and maintain the Stanley home at Rockside are so important. It is an architectural treasure that, like its neighbor to the west, Rocky Mountain National Park, whose creation F.O. Stanley did much to facilitate, deserves to be preserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations. The Stanley House is a gift from the past to both the present and the future. And no one would be more appreciative, or more supportive of these efforts, than Mr. Stanley himself.
This cannot happen, of course, without the full support, financially and otherwise, of the Estes Park community and those, and they number into the millions, whose lives have been similarly touched and enriched by the physical beauty of Estes Valley and the legacy of Freelan Oscar Stanley. Surely there can be no better or appropriate way to celebrate the Centennial of the Town of Estes Park as it pauses to celebrate the beginning of its second hundred years.