Cottage Court Museum Opens For the Season



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Cottage Court Museum Opens For the Season

May 25 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm


Cottage Court Museum Information

Cottage Court Exterior

Cottage Court Exterior

In about 1915, the first “motel” in Grand Lake was built. Called the Smith-Eslick Cottage Court, it is thought by historians to be a rare example of a motor court, a lodging specifically designed for the automobile tourist and his car. The Cottage Court has been restored to its original condition and is now an unusual museum featuring hundreds of items, photos, and stories of early automobile tourism. It is the centerpiece of the Cottage Court History Park, a growing historic and community events site.

In 2008 the fate of the Cottage Court was in jeopardy. It sat on land owned by the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre and faced demolition to make way for construction of a new theater. The Grand Lake Area Historical Society (GLAHS), true to its mission to preserve, protect, and promote history in the area, embarked on a major effort to preserve and restore the structure. A nearby lot (still on the old original road into town) was  purchased for placement of the building while additional funds were raised for an adjoining lot. The total of one acre will allow for optimal placement of the Cottage Court with room for creation of the Cottage Court History Park.  The Court was restored with early motel furnishings, and a park environment will recreate the original wooded setting.  This is expected to be a one-of-a-kind educational experience for visitors with an opportunity to pause for a picnic, just as early Cottage Court guests must have done.

Cottage Court today

Cottage Court Today

The Grand Lake Area Historical Society has been working continually since 2009 to fully activate the Cottage Court History Park (once called Smith-Eslick Cottage Camp) as a unique reflection of Grand Lake’s remarkable history, and to realize its potential as an important asset to the town and its visitors. The generous support of our Grand Lake community and grantors has already accomplished a lot; a brief list of what’s already been done is below. There’s still more to come.


Eslick Store and Office - waiting to be once again wonderful

Eslick Store and Office

The humble building with the bay window just next to the Cottage Court was the Eslick Store, part of the original Smith Eslick auto-tourist lodging business as the visitor check-in and small mercantile.  This was once called Bay Window Cottage.  The Historical Society intends to restore and rehabilitate this building as the Welcome Center and tour guides base at the site. It will be integral to the development of property just west of the Cottage Court Museum as a community events area with amenities like a fire pit, picnic area, small stage and more. We’re looking forward to being able to host all sorts of history events and fun activities year-round when we have completed the Cottage Court History Park.

725 Lake Avenue
Grand Lake, Colorado 80447


Learn more about Cottage Court and donate to fixing up the Eslick Store at Grand Lake Area Historical Society


May 25
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Cottage Court Museum
725 Lake Avenue
Grand Lake, CO 80447 United States
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Grand Lake Area Historical Society
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