After A&W landed on Estes Park shores in 1956, the second fast food restaurant to establish a local beachhead was Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1965.
Colonel Harland Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken (relabeled KFC, to remove the dietary stigma associated with fried foods) was opened by the Nagl family on Moraine Avenue in 1965, north of Tiny Town Cottages in a building that, surprisingly, had been constructed just one year earlier, not to house a restaurant, but an outer space museum. This attempt to capitalize on the craze surrounding the race to the moon lasted exactly one year - the advertisement announcing its arrival in the 1963 Vacationland appears to be premature, as all other indications are that the museum opened and closed within the span of the 1964 season.
This KFC became the go-to place to supply picnics in Rocky Mountain National Park, as prices to feed an entire family (see illustration) well attest. It stayed at this location almost 40 years, and then reappeared (under a different franchisee) in Stanley Village, where it was “double-branded” with Taco Bell until being replaced by the new Starbucks in 2018.
The Estes Park Archives will share more memories and photographs of KFC this Saturday, June 29, at 1:00 p.m. at 240 Moraine Avenue. The program is free, but please be aware that paid parking is now in effect, so either grab a spot in the free parking lot south of the Barrel, or have someone drop you off. If you are fully vaccinated, you are welcome to attend without a mask, as we will have the doors and windows open for maximum circulation, and will only be inside for 15 minutes before taking a break and restarting after some fresh air.
All are welcome, and you don't need to be a member to attend. If you have questions or need directions, please call 586-4889.