-Widely known as the inspiration
for Stephen King’s 1977 novel, The Shining, the
Stanley Hotel’s legacy is actually far more interesting
than the paranormal activity it’s famous for. Hi, I’m John Ferrugia. When Freelan Oscar Stanley
arrived in Estes Park in 1903, he wasn’t looking for a
hotel location, but instead a climate cure for his
bout with tuberculosis. But just like the
entrepreneurs who followed him, he fell in love with
the area, and he built a luxury hotel fit for
his elite New England friends. Travel the haunted halls
of the Stanley Hotel and meet the gentleman who
built the majestic hotel that is arguably one of
Colorado’s finest. And now “Colorado Experience–
the Stanley Hotel.” [music playing] -I want to welcome you
to the Stanley Hotel. This is the most magnificent
hotel, I believe, in the United States. -The Stanley Hotel is a gem
set in a gem of a valley. A place that is beautiful
in every direction– -Stanley Hotel’s popularity
never ceases to amaze me. -It’s pretty famous
for ghost stories. So much that goes on here
besides the spirit stuff. -One of the things that
the people of this valley are really proud of– it’s
the landmark of Estes Park. -This program was funded by
the History Colorado State Historical Fund. -Supporting projects
throughout the state to preserve, protect,
and interpret Colorado’s architectural and
archaeological treasures. History Colorado State
Historical Fund– create the future,
honor the past. -With support from the
Denver Public Library, History Colorado with
additional funding and support from these fine organizations
and viewers like you. Thank you. [music playing] -The Stanley Hotel is one
of Colorado’s– possibly the world’s– most
famous hotels. Although it is widely known
as the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining,
it’s fascinating early history remains little known. Thanks to the continuous
efforts of several dedicated entrepreneurs, this
mountain paradise has survived the test of time. -The Stanley Hotel is located
on the Northwestern end of Estes Park. It’s only 30 or so miles from
the plains and only another 10 or so miles to Rocky
Mountain National Park. And certainly the Ute
people, and probably American Indian cultures
even before that, have used Estes
Park as a hunting preserve, as a game preserve,
for elk and deer and sometimes bison and fish. And more recently, at
least in relative terms, the Arapaho people, beginning in
the late 1700s and early 1800s began coming into this valley
as well to harvest lodge poles and to hunt and to
use the same resources that American Indian people
have been using for generations. -Estes Park sits in a
30 square mile valley. It’s called “park” because in
the parlance of the mountains, “park” means “valley.” So Estes is valley. Estes Park– the white settler,
the first Anglo settler, was Joel Estes. And so it was called
Estes’ Valley, or ultimately, Estes’ Park. -Windham Thomas Wyndham
Quinn was the fourth Earl of Dunraven, an Irish baronet
who became interested, like many British aristocrats,
in the economic possibilities of the American West. And he was also interested in
treating the Rocky Mountains as a playground for the
wealthy and for the elite. -Homestead Act of 1862,
an American citizen could claim 160
acres in land that had been opened for settlement. That was the Earl’s problem. Americans could claim the land. Foreigners, Irishmen,
Irish lords could not. -But he found a way around that. He would hire roustabouts and
ne’er-do-wells from Denver to come up and file
a homestead claim. They were required
to make improvements. But the law was not
specific about what constituted an improvement. So they would simply take four
logs and lay them in a square and call it a building. Once they had acquired
title to the land, they would sell it off
at a reasonable price to the Earl of Dunraven. -He bought up those claims
and those 31 individuals. He had direct title
to about 6,000 acres of the best land in Estes Park. He wanted to use the
valley as a private hunting preserve for himself and
his aristocratic friends. By 1878, he has a hotel. It’s called the
Estes Park Hotel. The locals called it
the English Hotel, which was a mistake
because it should have been called the Irish Hotel. But it wasn’t. It was a fairly large hotel. And it was the fanciest
place in the 1870s to stay in the valley. It lasted until 1911 when
on an August morning, a fire started and
burned the building down. And it was never rebuilt. -Stanley had moved
here and was looking to acquire new land
just at about the time that the Earl of Dunraven
was looking to sell. And it was kind of a
match made in heaven. -Stanley family
had been in Maine since the early part
of the 19th century. In fact, it was said
that there were so many Stanleys in
Kingfield, Maine that if you threw a stone,
you’d hit a Stanley somewhere. -Freelan Oscar Stanley
was a Yankee entrepreneur. He was born in Maine and
raised in New England. And he, along with
his twin brother Francis, were inventors
of some talent. -Story is that as kids, their
dad gave them a pocketknife. And they went to work
whittling and producing [? cobbs, ?] which they
sold to their friends. At one point, they
actually produced buckets for the maple syrup
industry and sold those. So they were enterprising young
men from the very beginning. And I suppose if you want to
trace their technology back and their ingenuity back–
that Yankee ingenuity we talk about– you take it
back to their boyhood days in Kingfield. FE Stanley had been
teaching school, had been manufacturing
little kits with compasses and protractors for
the School of Business. Done fairly well, but
his factory burned down. And he needed a job. And so FE Stanley hired him. -They got their start
by inventing a dry plate photography process– a way to
make the process of photography far less cumbersome
than it had been. -FO Stanley became
the kind of salesman. He went out in the road and
got orders for the Stanley Dry Plate Company. And they were doing very well. And along comes George
Eastman of Eastman Kodak. And they finally sold the
company to George Eastman in 1904. It was for about
$500,000, which was a princely sum for that time. -That made them a
fortune that they then turned into an even
bigger one by continuing to invent and innovate. In the late 1890s, they
developed their own steam powered automobile, which was
known as the Stanley Steamer. -The earliest
horseless carriages were of three different
kinds of locomotive power. Some were internal
combustion gasoline engines. Some were driven by
electrical batteries. And some were driven by steam. And for at least a decade,
it wasn’t at all clear which technology would win out. -In fact, the Stanley’s
broke the land speed record in the early 20th century with
one of their steam powered automobiles. It became known as
the Flying Teapot because despite the fact that it
felt like some weird steampunk device, it could really
move down the road, provided there was a road to move down. -The history of the
Stanley Steam Car Company is not nearly as
glamorous or progressive or as technologically
relevant as its beginnings. The Stanley’s were
kind of stubborn. And they didn’t keep up
with the kind of technology which you needed to keep
that a continuing success. So they kind let the
technology pass by. -So FO Stanley was
a great success before he ever came to Colorado. When he was in his 50s, he
contracted tuberculosis. Like so many other
Colorado emigrants, Stanley’s doctors encouraged
him to come to Colorado to live an outdoor
life, to breathe in our high, dry atmosphere,
because the truth is, doctors didn’t have
any cure for tuberculosis. -Fortunately, he
knew a doctor here in Denver who had been a
practicing physician in Maine. And so that summer, under
Dr. Bonny’s suggestion, he came to Estes
Park to recuperate. Fell in love with the
valley, and before he left, he bought land for a 5,300
square foot summer cottage. He was 54 when he
arrived in 1903, and he summered here
for the next 36 years. -Stanley fell in
love with Estes Park and was determined to
build a mountain paradise. He poured everything
into the hotel. At the age of 59,
FO Stanley embarked on the last chapter of his
life, building a legacy that is still remembered today. -I think you’d have to call FO
Stanley a quintessential New England gentleman. He obviously had a
New English accent. But he always
dressed to the nines. While he was 5 foot 10, because
he stood up so straight, he looked taller than that. Always a gentleman– soft
spoken and yet obviously when he said and did
something, people listened because he was just
a genuinely nice, nice guy. -Mr. Stanley had an
extremely good heart for people and for children. And he was a thinker. I think he was an
early conservationalist for our community. He was an innovator
and an inventor. He actually saw the future
is how I look at him. He’d wear a bowler hat. I called him my dapper
dressed gentleman. -Flora Stanley was a
teacher when FO met her. She taught for a few years
and then became a housewife. She was very soft spoken. She loved music. -I think a lot of her feelings
came through the music. Her room is the music
room where the piano is. And she was real particular with
how everything looked in here. It had to be in its proper place
with its proper cleanliness. Everything was
high class for her. She was an amazing lady, too. They were an amazing couple. -He know nothing about hotels
or building hotels or running hotels. Just Stanley goes
ahead and decides he’s going to one up the Earl
and build a bigger and finer and obviously a larger hotel–
a complex, as it were– and he did. Here is a Georgian
architecture hotel sitting on a hillside in
Estes Park above a town which is only a few wooden buildings–
very flimsy buildings. This elegant hotel
sitting up here, a monument to a man who
had audacity and nerve and the ability to
look into the future and predict what Estes Park
could be if he could give it a head start. And yet when FO
Stanley was looking for a name for his
hotel, he thought he would call it the Dunraven. The local community, having
bought into the story that what the Earl of
Dunraven tried to do was to turn the valley into
a private hunting preserve, said, wait a minute. That name really
doesn’t go very well. Let us call it the Stanley
Hotel after you, sir. And the Stanley Hotel
became the Stanley Hotel. He begins building
the hotel in 1900– the hotel, not one
building but 11 buildings– an entire complex in 1907. It takes two years to build. And in June of 1909, it’s
finally open to the public. -300 men, two years
between 1907 to 1909, working around the clock 24/7,
boosting up the economy– now Mr. Stanley needs
to build a town. Now Mr. Stanley is
bringing in things like tourism, employment. -Because he wants an
all electric hotel, he builds a power plant–
a hydro plant– out on Fall River. So from the very beginning,
this is an electrified hotel. Mr. Dunraven’s hotel,
it was not electrified. So he had a one
upsmanship on the Earl. -He’s going to be building the
landfill, the sewer, the dump– everything. He had a nine hole golf course. Where Lake Estes is
now, that was actually Stanley Land because
that’s a manmade reservoir. -I can only imagine what he
saw here 115, 120 years ago. -Because of his influence
as a New England capitalist and investor, he
was able to bring some positive political pressure
to bear on Congress in order to create the national park. And for all of these
reasons, Estes Park thrived. But Stanley brought
something else that I think he doesn’t
get a lot of credit for. And that is, he
brought automobiles. Remember, this is the end
of the great golden age of the railroad. But Estes Park never
got a railroad line. Stanley changed the
calculation of that. He inaugurated a steam powered
auto bus service or, as he called it, an auto stage
service, from Lyons, the location of the nearest
railroad depot, and Estes Park. -He goes to work. He helps to incorporate
the local bank. And before he’s done,
he gives the town land for a school, land for the
town dump, land for a park. And he’s become known as the
grand old man of Estes Park. -Stanley Hotel was modeled
on the great east coast hotels of Newport, Rhode
Island and New England– places where the wealthiest
families in America would come and
spend their summers. The scale is monumental. It dwarfed the little
village of Estes Park that sat at its base. -The intention was
so that their friends could come out and visit
them for the summer season. So we call this
Flora’s Guest House, if you can just imagine that. The style of the
building is actually called Georgian Colonial
Revival architecture. The windows are special because
some of them, or most of them, are original to the hotel. They’re the palladium windows. The first guest of
the Stanley Hotel would have arrived in
a magnificent manner, but they would have been
victims of a practical joke. You’re coming down the canyon,
the twists and the turn. You’ve never seen a bear before. You see a bear. He stands up. He charges a Stanley steam car. The steam car driver
says, don’t worry, ma’am. That happens all the time. And he gets out his gun,
and he shoots that bear. Well, no he didn’t. It’s a man in a bear suit. No one knew about the
bear except FO, Flora, and the bear himself. -Certainly a luxury hotel of
the caliber of the Stanley was going to really attract
the best and the brightest. And it did. President Theodore
Roosevelt stayed here. The emperor and empress of
Japan stayed here at one point. This was a global
destination, a place where you could come and enjoy
the beauty of the wilderness with all the amenities
of industrial America. -This was built for the elite. They came. They stayed longer, brought
their servants with them– the maids and the
nannies and all that– and they stayed month. Some of them stayed
whole summer. -It never made a lot of money. It needed somebody like FO
Stanley who had deep pockets. And Mr. Stanley
had something else that every entrepreneur
ought to have. He had no children. He had no heirs
to leave money to. He only came here in the summer. He would come out
from Massachusetts in the late spring,
stay here all summer. The story was that he would
come out with a wad of cash in his pocket in the spring, pay
off the bills before he left, and go home, and
have a nice winter, and then come back
for the next summer. Mr. Stanley finally succeeded
in selling the hotel in the late 1920s. He would have been
now into his 70s. He sold it to a very interesting
guy, a man named Roe Emery. -He did the Rocky Mountain
tour with his tour buses, which he had a
route that he did. And basically he was the
Father of Colorado Tourism was the word for Mr. Emery. Mr. Stanley started it. Mr. Emery took it a step
further for business. -Making money was tough. The hotel was only
open, for the most part, for 90 days in the summer. Its subsequent
owners had difficulty in keeping up the hotel
from a deferred maintenance standpoint. And gradually over time,
despite their best efforts, the hotel began to
fall into disarray. -When Stanley sold
the hotel, he would have been remiss to know that
it would spend the next five decades struggling to stay open. But fate, or possibly the spirit
of FO Stanley, intervened. And a famous author
visited in 1974, changing the trajectory
of the struggling hotel. -Stephen King, who we know
is a resident of Maine, had grown up learning about FO
Stanley and FO Stanley’s hotel out here in Colorado. Oh, he didn’t come
for the ghosts. -Stephen King was kind
of a struggling author. And he lived in
Boulder for a while. And he came up right at
the end of the tourist season in October of ’74
and stayed at the Stanley. He happened to be there right
when they were shutting down operations. And just watching a grand old
hotel close down for the winter inspired him and got his
juices flowing, as only Stephen King’s can,
that led to him writing The Shining, which was
his first major best seller. -After Stephen King
came, that we really got our panoply of ghosts here. -Estes Park has been a
place to come and seek visions of spirits for
thousands of years. Not a mile and a half
from the Stanley Hotel is Old Man Mountain, a
promontory knob that rests over the town of Estes Park. So in that sense,
the Stanley Hotel was built in spirit central. -The whole valley is spiritual. The nature makes it spiritual. People came here to relax, enjoy
life, and have a good time. That’s why I think
they come back. They had a really good
time in the building. I always think of the hotel
as this is the place where the spirits come to party. And then the history,
since it’s so old, the building holds energy
like smoke on the walls. -We are literally
built on the mountain. And it has a wonderful energy
from the quartz crystals and the granite. So our theory is that the energy
shoots up through the hotel, through here, because of
the Northern Hemisphere, and then dissipates away and
is set back into the mountain itself. -So here we are by
the famous Room 217. It’s known mostly by people
because of Stephen King. He did spend one night
here, September 30th, 1974. We had an explosion,
sadly, in 1911. There had been a
leak in the room with the gas, a backup system
of acetylene– white gas– and I’m sure you know that it
was colorless and odorless back then. So the chamber maid,
Elizabeth Wilson, came through where the
archway is right here, which was the door that
day, with an open flame to light the gas lamp and boom,
10% of the Stanley is gone. She lived to tell the tale. She obviously had
very serious injuries. There was no death that day. Took her 18 months to recover,
but when she came back, she wanted to stay and stay and
stay for the rest of her life. The most haunted hall
is right in front of us. It’s the long hall that
walks past the bell tower and past Room 401. It is where the kids were. It was a big, open,
cavernous attic. And that’s when I tell
people, go down there and see if you
can reach the end. And when you do, I want to
hear you say, red rum, red rum, red rum. And that’s our fourth floor. -I have not yet seen a
ghost here at the property. Do I believe there are some
incredible coincidences? Absolutely. A lot of them that
I can’t explain– does that mean I
believe or see ghosts? I have not seen a ghost. But a lot of my guests have. And who am I to judge their
eyes, what they’ve seen? 1995, we placed third in
the bankruptcy auction at the Stanley Hotel. And yet, we still won. There was only one problem. We didn’t have the money. And I didn’t expect to win. We were the lowball bidder. So we raised $3.5
million, and the lender required us to show up with a
half million dollars of equity. Well, I’m only, at that
point, 29 years old. I didn’t have a half
million dollars. So my share of the equity
came out to $57,000. I had $50,000 in checking
as a bonus from my last job. And the last $7,000 came
off my credit card, 100% without conditions. And so the morning after
we win, we pay the check. And so I take a tour
of the entire property, and I realize the magnitude
of how much capital is going to be required
to bring this up to a minimum level like
any of our other hotels. -Because the
Stanley Hotel campus has been recognized
as a national register historic district by the
National Park Service, the property was eligible
for financial assistance from the State
Historical fund, which supported preservation
of the hotel, carriage house, and power plant. -The current owner right
now is Mr. John Cullen. -I think I’m the seventh or
eighth owner of the Stanley. -He also has that energy
and vibe of Mr. Stanley. The creativity– -I know I’m the longest
one now at 21 years. FO Stanley only owned it
for 17 or 16 or 17 years. -Mr. Stanley could see
something and then create it. I see that in Mr. Cullen. -John Cullen and FO Stanley are
alike in certain kind of ways. -I love the
comparisons to somebody that nobody’s ever met. -He has the same inventiveness. -I will take it as a compliment. -He’s taken it to a new level. -There are certain similarities,
I’ll give you that. -Both of them have lavished
their heart, their money, their soul over
this physical plant and have tried to keep it
up to the standards which a crown jewel ought to enjoy. And both of them have done that. -I do believe I am
completing his vision. -This place holds artistic
energy, creative energy. -But I’ve taken his vision to
a population that wants it. And it’s all in those same
categories of wellness, arts, the national park, outdoors,
recreational living, people coming together from
all walks of life. Well, my future is
actually his past. He just simply was 100
years ahead of the time. One of the great pillars
of the Stanley Hotel has always been arts. FO Stanley built a concert hall. He played violin. And they had performances
there every night. We started the Film Fest
three, four years ago. The part about the
Stanley Film Fest is that it became the precursor
to the Stanley Film Center. And this 45,000
square foot building is going to be the
world center of horror film and the whole film genre. -For well over 100
years, the Stanley Hotel has hosted visitors
from around the world. The dedicated persistence of
FO Stanley, and more recently John Cullen, ensured that
this white colonial style hotel would be
majestically preserved for generations to come. -The hotel gives you
a sense of time travel to go back and see what
it was like 110 years ago. -It’s important to
preserve the Stanley Hotel for the children
of the future, for people to see the
architecture of long time ago still holding up for today. -The legacy of FO
Stanley is that he created more than just a hotel. He created a town, a community. And he’s actually
created a lifestyle. -The legacy is
going on right now. People are still
coming to his hotel. And it still is a healing place. People come up here to feel
better, just like Mr. Stanley. To feel better, to just
get stronger up here– it’ll be here when
you and I are gone. And it will continue to serve
people and make people happy, because people are happy
when they come here. -I consider The Stanley
my greatest achievement. I can’t imagine how I’d ever be
able to exceed that ever again in my life. I have been extraordinarily
fortunate, starting right from the beginning. If there are spirits, I
think they’re happy with me. [music playing]