Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ralph Hume

Ralph Hume is an interesting figure in the Hotel Boulderado's history. He started out as a bellman in the mid-1930s and then moved up to desk clerk, making friends with Bill Mark, Hugh Mark's son along the way. In the late 1940s, when owner Bill Hutson was losing interest in running the hotel, he turned to Ralph, who took over the managerial duties until 1961.

The times, they were a changing during Hume's era. More and more people were able to afford purchasing a family car, and many travelers bypassed downtown Boulder in favor of the new, modern motels that had spring up on the outskirts of town. The motels offered amenities that the Boulderado couldn't compete with, like swimming pools. Even after adding a new parking lot, the only travelers who seemed to want to stay at the Boulderado were lawyers who wished to be near the courthouse. To compensate for the drop-off in occupancy, Hume decided to open up the Boulderado's rooms to more permanent guests who paid by the week or the month.

It was during Hume's tenure that a few panels fell from the stained-glass ceiling. The hotel in general was in need of freshening up, so Hume decided to remove the remainder of the ceiling and start over. He hired local contractor Moss Miles to install red, white, and blue Plexiglas in its place. A young Bill Hutson III (the Hutson's son) helped Miles with the installation, and admitted years later, "Even then I knew it was tacky."

Stay tuned to learn about the next couple that owned and managed the Hotel Boulderado during the 1960s, Ed and June Howard. For a sneak peek, you can read our transcript of an oral history from Ed on our website.