Remembering The Park Theatre Mall
The downtown Park Theatre Mall was without question, a historic structure on historic property, and it is important to get this history right. The Estes Park History Rescue Project (EPHRP) is hosting a one-hour Park Theatre Mall “wake” on Saturday, October 31, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Lake Shore Lodge Conference Center on 1700 Big Thompson Avenue. EPHRP spokesperson John Meissner will clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the early history of the property using vintage photographs and the searchable electronic newspaper database. The bulk of the program, however, will be devoted to informal reminiscences of invited guests, including long-time residents and shopkeepers, along with audience members, indeed, anyone who wishes to share their fond memories of this early transportation complex that evolved into a commercial landmark. A “show-and-tell” table will also be available, in hopes that people will bring their Rocky Mountain Parks Transportation Company bus ticket or Lyman Byxbe print or Rocky Mountain Pottery Factory memento, whatever holds significance for them, to help younger generations and newcomers better appreciate what a trip to Estes Park or a trip through the mall could have provided.
As with all EPHRP-sponsored programs, everyone is cordially invited to attend, and both the program and the refreshments that follow are free.
Park Theatre Mall timeline:
1907-Freelan Oscar Stanley buy three adjoining block 5 lots from Dr. Homer E. James.
1908-Stanley constructs a 22-car garage on the property for his “Estes Park Transportation Company,” early local managers include C. Byron Hall and Clayton Newell “Casey” Rockwell.
1915-Estes Park Transportation Company buildings expanded to 75-foot Elkhorn Avenue storefront.
1916-Estes Park Transportation Company sold to Roe Emery of Denver, Stanley Steamers replaced with White Company automobiles manufactures in Cleveland, Ohio. Business name changed to “Rocky Mountain Parks Transportation Company.”
1955-Rocky Mountain Parks Transportation Company moves to new building on what is now Moraine Avenue, Elkhorn Avenue building converted to Rocky Mountain Pottery Factory
1970-Property owner Vic Walker begins major renovation, grand opening of “Park Center Mall” celebrated on Saturday, 5 June 1971. Name changed to “Park Theatre Mall” in 1987.
2009-Building gutted by early morning fire.