Tuesday, January 26, 2010

December Winner ~ Tell Us Your Boulderado Story

One of the components of the Boulderado's 100 year anniversary is the Tell Us Your Boulderado Story campaign, which is a collection of memories and narratives from the last century about the Hotel Boulderado. Our goal is to collect 100 stories which will be compiled into a coffee table book. The Boulderado selects a monthly favorite, and December's winner is Glenn Donharl. Enjoy his story, "Well, it's a radio."

"We spent our first night in Boulder at the Boulderado.

Nearly 40 years ago, during the first week of January 1973, Margaret and I moved to Boulder. Our apartment was not ready the first night, so we booked a room at the Boulderado. While definitely not the 'new' Boulderado, the experience was distinctly Boulder of the 1970s. The hotel restaurant then was Chinese.

We stayed in a corner room facing Spruce and 13th Street.

It was a bitter cold, windy, snowy night. Remember, this is when Colorado still had significant winters. The wind whistled through the bricks, serenading the room with an icy banshee-like quality. The wind blew hard all that night. Heat came randomly, clanging loudly through the accordianed iron heater.

As sparse as the room was, it did have a TV. Not knowing Boulder, we decided to stay in, because of the weather, and watch TV. Given the ambiance of the Boulderado at that time, we should not have been surprised when the TV had no picture but did have sound. We called the front desk. A disembodied voice (in a prescient imitation of Carlton, the doorman on the Rhoda TV show the following year) said, 'Well, it's a radio.'

We got up in the morning, shook off the cold, listened to the 'radio' and moved into the future with Boulder and with a distinct memory of the 'old' Boulderado.

The rest is history."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ed and June Howard

Boulder has long been known as a hippie haven, and no decade conjures up the hippie in the mind's eye more than the 1960s. It was a tough time by then for the Hotel Boulderado. A guest left a note summing up the stay: "Toilet got stuck in night, had a hard time stopping it. Towel rak fell down when I hung up towel. Lamp switch out of order, won't always turn off. Shades too small and don't keep out streetlights. Pillows like rocks. I scarcely slept, all things taken together."

It took a brave spirit to take on a hotel in the condition the Boulderado was in, and that spirit was embodied by Ed and June Howard. The Howards had been friends with the Hutsons for years and agreed to lease the Boulderado from Winnie Hutson beginning in June of 1961. The Howards worked hard to keep the hotel running -- Ed represented management, maintenance, and also worked as a desk clerk, while June also worked behind the desk, connected incoming and outgoing phone calls, and worked briefly in the dining room.

Ed and June cultivated a family atmosphere in the lobby. When the Boulderado first opened in 1909, an orchestra played to entertain guests. The lobby orchestra was replaced by a Victrola, then a radio, and then during the 1960s, a television that guests could gather round and watch. The Howards encouraged the community to come in during the holidays for sing-a-longs. Many of the hotel's guests at the time were permanent residents, mostly elderly folks who could no longer live on their own.

Not everyone in Boulder thought the Boulderado was worth holding on to. City administrators declared it to be a fire hazard because of the cherrywood staircase that stretched from the basement up to the fifth floor and wished to tear the hotel down to make more room for parking downtown. They gave the Howards two options: either encase the entire staircase in sheet rock, or install a sprinkler system throughout the hotel. Ed effectively saved the Hotel Boulderado by deciding to install the sprinklers.

In 1967, just six years after taking over, the Howards had had enough and passed the ownership and management of the Boulderado over to Louis Winterberger, whom we will meet in a future blog post. If you are interested in reading more about the Howards and the Boulderado in the 1960s, check out Ed's oral history or June's Boulderado story.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making Plans for February?

Whew! I survived the holidays and my post-holiday vacation, and now I'm back blogging about the Boulderado. February is quickly approaching, which means more and more people are investigating what to do for the month's biggest holiday -- Groundhog's Day.

Just kidding.

Of course, I'm talking about Valentine's Day, and here at the Boulderado, we've got you covered. Check out what we're offering that week/end.
  • If you're looking to impress your sweetie with bright lights and big stars, consider booking our Boulder International Film Festival Package. You'll stay at the Boulderado the night of February 11th and receive two tickets for BIFF's Opening Night Gala, honoring special guest Alec Baldwin. Valet parking is also included.
  • If Baldwins aren't your thing, take advantage of the Valentine's Day Package (includes the room, champagne, roses, and valet parking) or the Romantic Dinner Package (includes the room, chilled champagne and chocolates upon arrival, $100 towards dinner in Q's Restaurant, and valet parking) to get some extra value for your stay.
  • If you're single, you can still celebrate your love for your favorite person in the world -- you! Try the Celebrating Singles Package (includes the room, a bottle of wine, a house plant, and valet parking) or the Downtown Excursion Package (includes the room, a $25 gift card to Downtown Boulder, and $20 for breakfast in Q's Restaurant) is great if you're looking for retail therapy, and you can check out the films over at the film festival when your feet need a rest.
  • If you're single, part of a couple, or somewhere in-between, you can come to our Anti-Valentine's Day Party on Saturday the 13th. Funkiphino will be rocking the house 8pm-11pm, Francoise the fortune teller will be on hand to reveal your future, and you can take a break and watch some non-romantic comedies in our movie room. $10 cover charge gets you in the door plus a raffle ticket, plus you can make a night of it and spend the night with us for a bargain -- just reference the "Just In Case" rate when you book your room!