Monday, February 22, 2010

Louis Winterberger

The Howards sold the Hotel Boulderado in 1967 to Court Plaza Inc, a group of local investors in Boulder. Louis Winterberger was a partner in the group, and he took over the day-to-day task of managing the hotel. Like the Howards, Winterberger wished to keep the hotel rooms period in nature.

In an attempt to keep the hotel full, Winterberger allowed more permanent residents to stay at the Boulderado. Most of them were elderly folks whose spouses had already passed away. One such resident was Walter Lawry, who marched such a familiar trail from the Boulderado to his favorite restaurant that the alley he walked down would later be renamed "Lawry Lane" in his honor. According to Legend of a Landmark, "Senility was a trait of . . . Winterberger's guests. 'A woman came to the front desk one day and asked if we had any rooms,' he said. 'I showed her her own room and she said it was delightful, and that she'd take it.'"

The same year that Court Plaza Inc. took over the Boulderado, Boulder residents finally voted to repeal the prohibition the city had been under since the 30s. For the first time, full-strength wine, beer, and liquor could be legally served within the city limits. Winterberger turned an unused space in the basement into Catacombs Bar and Restaurant, which opened in 1969 to thirsty patrons. He also added an entrance to the bar from 13th Street, paving the way for the hotel entrances to be switched in the future. (The hotel's main entrance since its 1909 opening was located on Spruce Street. But with the crumbling stone portico and Catacombs traffic, the entrance was eventually moved to 13th Street.)

When Court Plaza Inc. sold the Boulderado in 1976, Louis Winterberger shared his thoughts. "Naturally we have mixed emotions about selling the hotel. Our Christmas carol sing in the decorated lobby at Christmas time soon became a family tradition and we have pleasant memories of the lovely weddings, the Philharmonic Balls, and many other social events which have taken place in the lobby. We know the new owners feel as we do about the historic preservation of the hotel, and we are pleased they will be continuing our efforts."

Gwen, Winterberger's wife, shared her memories of running the hotel with her husband in our Memories of the Boulderado. Click here to read her story.