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Pinewood: Then And (Not) Now

Pinewood, which should not be confused with the younger and still-thriving Pinewood Springs eight miles to the southwest, earned a mention in this 1889 guide to western resorts. Photograph courtesy EPHRP collection

Before Drake, prior to Glen Haven, Estes Park’s closest neighbor to the east was Pinewood, a settlement halfway to Loveland on the old Pole Hill-Bald Mountain road. Located in an area still referred to locally as Rattlesnake Park, Pinewood had a post office starting in 1879, as well as one of Larimer County’s first public schools. Estes Park languished without a newspaper or even a regular newspaper correspondent until the turn of the 20th century. In contrast, Pinewood columns appearing in Loveland and Fort Collins newspapers as early as 1885 were a steady source of information on Estes Park.

Pinewood was best known for its rustic stage stop, which doubled as a hotel. Fresh cream and berries served up to the road-weary traveler, as well as the allure of nearby creeks which seemed to hold more trout than water, convinced some to extend their stay. Sadly, the beginning of Pinewood’s decline as a tourist spot, and eventually the disappearance of Pinewood from the map, can be traced to the county’s decision in 1903 to build a new road through the Big Thompson Canyon to the north, rather than improve the existing Loveland-Estes Park route through Pinewood.

Join the Estes Park History Rescue Project on Saturday, May 29, as we recreate Pinewood’s heyday using period photographs, surviving newspaper and other written accounts, and interviews with the children and grandchildren of Pinewood’s original homesteaders. The 45-minute presentation, open to everyone and free of charge, begins at 1:30 p.m. in the George Hix community room of the US Bank building at 363 East Elkhorn Avenue, with free refreshments to follow.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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