Glenwood Springs: Take a Stroll Back in Time

Historic Glenwood Springs Bath House

Glenwood Springs, Colorado has an adventurous past and a visible history throughout its streets. Historic hot spots can be experienced all over town.

Before Glenwood Springs was a Colorado hot springs hot spot, it was a Wild West frontier town called Defiance.  As raucous and ramshackle as its original name implied, it was home to a cast of characters that included gamblers and gunslingers, industrialists and entrepreneurs.  Like an ornery child, it eventually matured and became well-mannered and welcoming, the Glenwood Springs we know today. But its knockabout origins can still be seen, just beneath the surface.  Take a stroll through Glenwood Springs and admire the architecture of these must-see historical hotspots.

  • The Hotel Colorado. (526 Pine St.) The landmark Hotel Colorado was completed in 1893, and designed in the style of the Villa de Medici in Italy. The same architects who designed the Hotel Colorado also created the Immigration Station at Ellis Island in New York.​
  • Glenwood Light & Water Company Hydroelectric Plant. (601 E. Sixth St.) Thanks to the ingenuity of developer and engineer Walter Devereux in 1886, Glenwood Springs was one of the first electrically lit cities, even before New York City!​
  • Vapor Cave No. 3. (709 E. Sixth St.) The original two vapor caves were located on the south side of the river but were closed when the railroad came through Glenwood Canyon. Cave No. 3, now the Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves was once known as the “Hygenic Hades.” It also served as a therapy center for wounded soldiers during WWII.​
  • Sandstone Bathhouse at Glenwood Hot Springs. (401 N. River) Under Walter Devereux’s direction the pool and bathhouse opened on July 4, 1888. It catered to a wealthy clientele and featured a men’s-only casino, 42 sunken Roman baths, and parlor rooms for smoking and reading.​
  • Durand’s Opera House/Odean Theater. (312 Seventh St.) This site, now the Fraternal Order of Eagles, once welcomed President Benjamin Harrison and hosted composer and conductor John Phillip Sousa. In the 1920s, it became the Odean Theater and movie star Tom Mix staged a prize fight there.
  •  Denver & Rio Grande Depot. (413 Seventh St.) Built in 1904, the depot welcomed President William Taft in 1909 and provided a whistle-stop platform for President Harry S. Truman in 1948 and 1952. Step inside to visit the Glenwood Railroad Museum.  ​
  • The Star Hotel & The Hotel Denver. (402 Seventh St.) The two lodging establishments opposite the train depot were united in 1938. These historic buildings were a favorite hangout of Chicago gangster Diamond Jack Alterie who shot two men in the lobby of the Hotel Denver in 1932.​
  • Former site of the Hotel Glenwood. (732 Grand Ave.) Currently occupied by a western lifestyle store, the Hotel Glenwood was a spectacular structure. It was also where gambler John “Doc” Holliday resided for six months before his death on Nov. 8, 1887. The hotel burned to the ground in Dec. 1945.​
  • The Silver Club. (715 Grand Ave.) Built in 1893, this gentleman’s club was known for its high stakes gambling and conveniently located brothel upstairs. ​
  • Citizen’s Bank Building. (801 Grand Ave.) The Classical Revival three-story was built in 1913. It remains one of downtown’s most striking original edifices.​
  • The Kaiser House. (932 Cooper Ave.) This elegant Queen Anne style home was built in 1902; lovingly restored it now houses professional offices.​
  • Linwood Cemetery & Doc Holliday Memorial. (12th St. & Bennett Ave.)  A short hike will bring you to the final resting place of many of Glenwood’s early residents, including Doc Holliday whose marker is often strewn with playing cards and coins.

Stop by the Frontier Historical Museum to learn more about Glenwood’s Wild West history and schedule a guided walking tour. Visit www.visitglenwood.com for lodging and activity information.

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