Colorado’s Landmark Hotels, by Linda R. Wommack, Filter Press, Palmer Lake, Colo., 2012, $16.95 (comes with a four-song CD)
In her sixth book about the history of her native state Linda Wommack examines in 205 pages (with plenty of black-and-white photos) 30 Colorado hotels, 22 of which began operations in the 19th century, and all of which are on national, state or local historic listings. Included here are such early lodgings as the 1862 Peck House (running water arrived in 1872), in Empire, and the 1874 Cliff House (tunnels once ran from the hotel to a natural spring spa across the street), in Manitou Springs. Other gems include Denver’s 1892 Brown Palace Hotel, which became one of the most luxurious hotels in the West, and Glenwood Springs’ 1893 Hotel Colorado, the acclaimed “Grande Dame” of Colorado.
“Colorado’s landmark hotels not only brought a sense of refinement to their town, but often became the social hub of the town,” writes Wommack, who regularly pens Wild West’s “Collections” department. “Many of these hotels hosted celebrities, U.S. presidents and European royalty.” And let’s not forget ghosts: The October 2011 Wild West told of such spirits in the Brown Palace and Hotel Colorado. Wommack relates more about those haunts as well as other “visited” inns, such as the 1909 Stanley Hotel, where, reports Wommack, “Ghosts have reportedly roamed since long before Stephen King’s visit that resulted in the best-selling novel The Shining.” The book includes a bonus CD of four hotel-themed songs by Denver musician Jon Chandler. It all makes for good nighttime reading and listening, whether or not you have a reservation.