This tour comes in two parts. The first part will be to the Birch Ruins and Cabin, but there is some hiking involved. The second part will be to the Stanley Home Museum, but we recognize that some of our members have already seen the museum and may prefer heading out for lunch instead. Soooo, pick the part that interests you and join us for that. And if you want to do both, we’ll be excited to host you at both the Cabins and Museum!
Derek Fortini is the Director of the Estes Park Museum. He will be guiding us during our visit to the Birch cabin. Derek served on the Historic Larimer County Board in 2017/2018.
The Birch cabin, built in 1908 by Albert Birch, city editor for the Denver Post. Birch began building it just two weeks after his home on top of the Knoll burned on the bitterly cold night of December 21, 1907. Featuring built-in bookcases and a copper-lined sink, the three-room cabin remains in excellent condition and was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2001.
A short distance on the top of the knoll stands the ruins of the original Birch cabin with the remains of a massive stone fireplace and turn-of-the-century stone masonry. The ruined walls frame a bird’s eye view of the town of Estes Park below. In the distance are stunning views of Longs Peak and Estes Park’s piece of the Continental Divide.
You can either meet us at the Knoll Willows Trail Head (across from the Stanley Hotel) at 9:45 am or meet the Stanley Home Museum bus at the Estes Park Visitors center at 9:25 and travel over from there. (Only 15 people can fit on the bus, so RSVPs are really important. But if you plan to do both parts of the tour, then this is definitely the way to go.) Please wear comfortable walking shoes and if you have a walking stick, you may find it helpful as you walk.
Stanley Home Museum
If these walls could talk, they would tell you a compelling tale of mountain life in early Estes Park through the eyes of the influential Flora & Freelan (”F.O.”). To enter the door of the Stanleys’ 1904 Colonial Revival home is to pass through a frame into a painting, one with a time and life of its own. Be inspired as you take a step back in time with a guided tour of the original mountain home of the Stanleys.
Be at the Estes Park Visitors Center at 10:45 am to take the Stanley Home Museum bus over to the house. (The Stanley Home Museum bus will be coming from the Cabins part of the tour and may not be there right at 10:45, but it should be there before 11.) Those who took the bus to the Birch ruins can pick up the bus where they were dropped off at Knoll Willows Trail Head.
The cost of the museum visit will be covered by HLC for HLC members. Non-members will need to pay the regular entrance fee to the museum. Check out the museum website for details.
So, to re-iterate the timeline:
9:25 am – Anyone taking the bus to the cabins should be at the Estes Park Visitor Center for pickup.
9:45 am – The bus will arrive at the Knoll Willows Trail Head. If you didn’t take the bus, make sure you’re at the trailhead by this time.
10:45 am – The hiking part of the tour will end. If you came on the bus, head to the next part of the tour on the same bus. If you drove to the trail head, but you want to see the Stanley Home Musem, head to the Visitor’s Center to leave your car there before heading over the museum by bus.
Noon – The Stanley Home Tour will end. Participants will take the bus back to the visitor’s center.
RSVP info will be posted here soon. We’ll be taking separate RSVPs for each part of the tour.