Photo from: www.photoswest.org
The Town of Fairplay is located in central Colorado within west central Park County, approximately 85 miles southwest of Denver and 85
miles west-northwest of Colorado Springs at the intersection of U.S. Highway 285 and Highway 9. Fairplay lies within South Park which is a
broad valley covering over 900 square miles and surrounded by the Mosquito and Park mountain ranges.
Early French trappers and Ute Indians found the area a favorite summer camp for trapping and hunting and fur trading. By the mid-19th
century ranchers moved in with their cattle and sheep. Gold was discovered in 1859 in South Park and the rush was on. Gold and silver
mining were the major economic factors for towns like Fairplay.
The mining district known as “Fairplay Diggings” was established in 1859. The term “Fair Play” came from the opinion that here every man
would have an equal chance to stake a claim. This settlement was also known as Platte City, Fair Play and South Park City. Fairplay was the
accepted spelling after 1874.
Prosperity in the mining industry influenced the westward migration of men, women and families which later gave way to permanent
settlements, sturdy buildings, and amenities of home life. As Fairplay and other South Park communities became more settled, skilled
services such as carpentry and blacksmithing were needed to build houses and repair equipment. Gold and silver were shipped back to
Denver and Canon City as wagon roads and later a narrow gauge railroad were built to accommodate the businessmen and miners.
Recreational outlets were provided by dance halls, saloons and gambling houses.
Fairplay became the county seat of Park County in 1867 that served miners, ranchers, local townspeople, and travelers despite economic
ups and downs. South Park uses today range from ranching and mining to recreation.
Fairplay Hotel purchased for $400,000
The Fairplay Flume
Tom Locke - Flume Editor
Enthusiastic Owner Constance Tiel, standing on the steps of the Fairplay Hotel, is looking forward to reviving the historic
landmark as its new owner. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)
The Fairplay Hotel has a new owner.
Constance Tiel bought the hotel, which has been shuttered since Sept. 15, 2008, in a deal that closed Feb. 25 for $400,000, and she plans
to have it open as soon as possible, followed later by an opening of the bar and restaurant.
"Hopefully by mid-April I'd get the hotel open," said Tiel in a Flume interview on Feb. 11.
She will need to find a manager for the restaurant and find some equipment for the kitchen, so it will take longer to get the restaurant up
and running. Plus, she needs to get a liquor license, which will take 60-90 days. She will also need to find someone to run the bar, she said.
"I'm trying to revive it to the way it used to be. Make it into a vibrant hotel, restaurant, bar," she said.
Embracing the past
Part of her nod to history is the new name she will have for the hotel - which is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in
1873, burned to the ground in 1920, and was rebuilt in 1922-1923. It will be called the Valiton-Fairplay Hotel, recognizing the original name
for the hotel in 1873: the Valiton Hotel.
Indeed, ownership of the hotel is under Valiton-Fairplay Hotel LLC, and she is the sole owner of that limited liability company, she said.
She sees local support as being important to the restaurant and bar business, and she plans to make the private dining room open for local
groups to use as a meeting place.
In a later interview on Feb. 26, Tiel said that the local people she has met are happy about the purchase and planned reopening, and they
are particularly interested in her plans for the bar and restaurant.
For the restaurant, she is looking at bringing a chef from New Orleans, but that doesn't mean the food will be tied to dishes associated with
New Orleans, she said.
"Whatever they cook is going to be good," she said.
That will include good steaks, she said, noting that she has a good lead on grass-fed beef. And she plans on having organic vegetables
Michael DePalma, a friend of Tiel who is a certified public accountant and has lived across the street from her for two years, said the food
will "absolutely" be good at the restaurant. Tiel is a "really good cook" who has cooked dinner for him and his wife.
"She had a bed and breakfast here for a long time. She's a really good business lady. She knows how to treat people," he said.
Many people went back to her bed and breakfast because of Tiel herself, he said, and her employees were very loyal. Tiel is a very worldly
woman who is smart about her businesses, he added.
"She's a good person, and that's why she was successful at business," DePalma said.
Jeffrey Palmquist, a long-time bartender and bar manager on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, plans to come to Colorado in June and will
advise Tiel about the bar.
"Constance is a very fun-loving, energetic individual," said Palmquist. He thinks she will be a gracious host and "fit in really, really well."
Lobby to capture 1900s
Tiel likes the idea from Linda Balough, Park County Office of Historic Preservation, to focus on tying the hotel to its heyday in the early
1900s, when it was a vacation destination spot for people who wanted clean mountain air. She may even try to find a Model T Ford to park
out in front.
She plans to live on the premises and have a hands-on approach to management and also plans to keep her condominium on Bourbon
Street to visit occasionally. Long-term, she foresees building a log cabin on her property in Indian Mountain and living there.
As for the hotel, initially she will need to "thaw the place out," she said, getting any broken pipes fixed and getting propane heating back in
Among her initial projects will be:
•getting an outside ramp for wheelchairs and a handicap-accessible bathroom for one of the guest rooms;
•bringing in custom-made chandeliers from Julie Neill Designs in New Orleans for the lobby;
•working on the wood floors in the lobby;
•making curtains herself from fabric she bought in Atlanta that is silk with heavy backing and colors of golds, deep reds and creams;
•creating a front desk the way it looked in a photo she has of the hotel in 1910, which will fit with the 1910 look she plans for the entire lobby;
•and constructing a new memorial library next to the lobby for guests to use.
The library will be in honor of her husband, neurosurgeon Robert Tiel, who died suddenly on Aug. 2 from a pulmonary embolism. He was
well-read in a number of areas besides medicine, and Tiel has 45 boxes of books in her garage in Mississippi that she plans to put in the
They moved to Mississippi from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and after her husband's death, Tiel decided she wanted to
move back to Colorado, where she raised three children from her first husband and still has friends.
Indeed, she spent 1975 to 1996 in Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder after first having attended Ohio State
and Miami of Ohio. After her divorce from her first husband, she decided to move to New Orleans with her daughter, the eldest of the three
children, since her daughter wanted to attend Tulane University in New Orleans.
New Orleans B&B
There she decided to have a bed and breakfast, partly because she had already had some experience owning rental properties in
Colorado, partly because New Orleans is a tourist spot and a good place to have a bed and breakfast, and partly because she thought it
would be a fun business.
She got a place licensed through the city of New Orleans in 1998 and made a success of it, getting repeat guests and making more money
each year than the year before. She sold it in 2003.
She has also had two condominiums in the French Quarter of New Orleans, including one vacation-rental on Bourbon Street that she wants
to keep for her own use as a visiting spot.
She had stayed in the Fairplay Hotel a few times herself, including a couple of years ago when she met former owner David Meredith, who
learned that she had run a bed and breakfast and asked her for suggestions about the hotel.
After her husband died and she decided to move back to Colorado, Tiel was looking at properties with the idea that perhaps she would
establish a bed and breakfast on a ranch property. But the ranch properties she looked at didn't have the kind of houses she wanted.
Buying the hotel
Then on her travels she noticed a "for sale" sign in front of the Fairplay Hotel and asked her Realtor to set up a meeting. They met, and
then she heard about a couple of low-ball offers on the hotel in December and decided to offer the full asking price.
They had a deal, she put up some escrow money, and the deal closed earlier than the March 3 date originally set because the bank wanted
to close on it earlier.
Back in January 2009, Marge Hayden, broker/owner of Fairplay-based Nelson Realty, had estimated that it would cost $500,000 on top of
the purchase price to get the hotel up and running.
But Tiel said it's not going to take that much.
"I'm not bringing in decorators and architects," she said. She noted that she can get used kitchen equipment, for instance, she will have
considerable help from her sons over the entire month of March, and she plans to hire the right people to help.
She plans to be in the Fairplay area for another week or so after the closing, then go back to Mississippi and return with her dogs. "I'm real
excited about it," she said.
What are the pluses of the purchase of the hotel?
"The pluses are that it's known as the heartbeat of the town." That heartbeat had stopped, she said, and she wanted to revive it.
Tiel recognizes the importance of the hotel to the town.
"It's really owned by the town," she said. "I will be kind of the caretaker."
Her friend DePalma said that the community will be lucky to have her. "I would suggest the community will embrace her," he said. "I'm excited
for your community to have her going up there."
Her two sons, Edward Sawyer, who served as a Marine in Iraq, and Michael Sawyer have a videography business in Florida, but they'll be
helping her in March get the hotel up and running. She doesn't know whether they might move to Colorado on a more long-term basis.
It would be nice to make some money on the hotel, said Tiel, but her purpose is not to become a millionaire owning it.
"My focus is to enjoy this process and bring life back to the center of town," she said.
Fairplay Hotel under contract
By Tom Locke - Flume Editor
Rebirth Approaching The Fairplay Hotel, closed for nearly a year and a half, is under contract to be purchased in a deal to
close March 3. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)
The Fairplay Hotel, a historic landmark that has been closed since Sept. 15, 2008, is under contract to be sold, according to a confirmation
by Marge Hayden, broker-owner of Fairplay-based Nelson Realty, which has been listing the prominent property.
"It's under contract. Scheduled to close March 3," said Hayden.
Hayden said that an escrow deposit has been received, but "nothing's ever done 'til it's done." She said she could not disclose any details
about the buyer or the sale price.
She did confirm that the last listing price for the hotel, which is at 500 Main St. in the heart of Fairplay, was $400,000, which has been in
effect since last fall. The initial listing price was $449,000, she said.
The Flume has learned that the spearhead of the purchase and operator for the hotel will be Constance Tiel, who has recently been living
in New Orleans and owns property in Park County. It is not clear whether Tiel will have other investors.
A search of the Park County Assessor's Web site, shows that a Constance Anne Tiel is a co-owner of a two-acre parcel of vacant land
valued at $25,000 in the Indian Mountain subdivision on Spearpoint Road southeast of Como and Jefferson. The other owners are Mary
King Sawyer Robinson, Edward James Sawyer and Michael James Sawyer.
Messages left for Constance Tiel at two phone numbers in New Orleans were not returned.
Dale Fitting, owner of the Hand Hotel in Fairplay, said he had talked to Tiel in Fairplay, and she has experience running a bed and
breakfast. The sale of the hotel is "huge for the town," he said. "It's kind of one of those mainstays of Main Street."
Linda Balough, director of the Park County Office of Historic Preservation, said that Tiel has experience in the hospitality industry, plans
hands-on management, and plans to open the restaurant as well as the hotel. She assumes Tiel will also open the bar in the hotel.
"She's rather savvy," Balough said. "I know that she's had at least a couple of bed and breakfasts that were pretty good-sized."
The Fairplay Hotel has 18 rooms, said Balough, so she assumes that the purchase is a step upward for Tiel.
A Jan. 30, 2009, article in The Flume noted that the hotel was listed at the time at $449,000 and that Hayden said it might take another
$500,000 to get the property up and running. That would include about $250,000 for equipment for the kitchen, which then had only double
stainless sink, she said at the time.
And another $250,000 would be needed for painting the rooms, new windows, repair or replacement of old flooring in the kitchen and
meeting room, and other matters, she said then.
Balough said that it appears to her that Tiel knows what she's getting into. "My impression was it was a person who has the means to do
what she intends to do," she said. "My impression is that she's not going into this blind."
Indeed, Balough thinks there's enormous potential in the hotel. "I think it has some serious potential," she said. "I've always felt this."
She said the summer market can take care of itself, but the winter market has not been tapped well in the past. She thinks that it could be a
natural for aging baby boomers who want to ski maybe one day during a long weekend, but then find someplace to relax by the fire for
another day or two and avoid the crowds of Breckenridge.
Plus, Tiel is interested in the local market too. "I know that she's very interested in being part of the community," Balough said. Tiel plans on
"making it into something the locals will be very well attracted to."
The hotel has significance for locals also because it is a prominent location, tends to be interpreted as a barometer for the town's health,
and spins off business for other operations in Fairplay, said Balough.
In a separate e-mail, she elaborated: "I'm delighted that the hotel has found an owner who appreciates the importance of the history of the
building, as well as its value to the town as a keystone business and a leader in attracting heritage-minded travelers to Fairplay. I look
forward to the time we will see happy travelers flock to the hotel and consequently to the shops and other businesses in Fairplay and the
surrounding area of Park County."
Gary Nichols, director of Park County tourism and community development, said in an e-mail that he had not heard about the hotel being
under contract. But he stressed the importance of the hotel in Fairplay.
"Not only is the hotel a Fairplay landmark, it is also one of Park County's most valuable historic resources. Hopefully the new owners will re-
establish what was once a destination attraction for visitors and popular meeting place for local residents," he said in the e-mail.
The building was bought at a foreclosure auction by lender Bayview Financial, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based lender that foreclosed on a
$487,500 loan to David Meredith, who previously told The Flume that he bought the hotel in 2004 for $550,000 and lost about $500,000 on
Back when the hotel came on the market at $449,000, Balough called it "quite a bargain."
The square footage of the hotel is listed by the Assessor's Office as 14,040, so the cost per square foot at the last listed price of $400,000
would work out to $28.49.
With an investment of another $500,000 in the hotel, the total of $900,000 would work out to $64.10 per square foot.
Tax credits and grants
The Fairplay Hotel was originally built in 1873 but burned to the ground in 1920. Construction to rebuild it was started in 1922 and
completed in 1923.
One big plus for the hotel is its Jan. 16, 2008, placement on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in
Washington, D.C. The designation enables the owner to qualify for state and federal income tax credits and grants.
"If they qualified for a grant, they might get as much as half of the cost," Balough said back in January 2009. And the owner would be able to
get 20 percent of the cost of refurbishment taken off of both federal and state income tax owed.
Grant money might also come from the Colorado Historical Society, she said at the time.
"The tax credits are pretty darn for sure," she said in January 2009. "The chances are better than 50-50 that they would get grants for that
Foreclosure filed on Fairplay Hotel
The Fairplay Flume
Lender Bayview Loan Servicing LLC filed a July 15 foreclosure action against the Fairplay Hotel on a $487,500 loan to hotel owner David
Meredith. Meredith is now the sole employee left at the hotel and lives there.
In addition, another lender, Washington Mutual Bank, has filed a foreclosure action on Meredith's property on County Road 14a in the
Valley of the Sun subdivision northwest of Fairplay on a loan of $182,400. Both foreclosure filings were in Park County Combined Court in
Meredith said he is in negotiations with the lender on the hotel and he doesn't know what's going to happen. "I can tell you that mortgage
companies really don't want to take properties back these days," he said.
Whether the lender actually carries through with the foreclosure is "my choice," Meredith said.
Jennifer Rogers, the Denver -based attorney representing Coral Gables, Fla.-based Bayview Loan Servicing, said she could not
immediately comment on the foreclosure filing.
Last Dec. 29, Meredith shut down the restaurant and laid off 10 employees with the idea of running only the hotel and bar. But recently he
has also failed to open the bar except for special occasions such as the Ladies Run and Burro Days, he said.
No one was coming to the bar, and he's not entirely sure why. "I guess they boycotted the bar or something," he said.
"There is one person that I 86d from the bar," he added.
When The Flume first reported the hotel's financial problems last December, Meredith said that he bought the building personally from the
Chambers Family Trust in October 2004 for $550,000 and leased it to a subchapter S corporation called Nuinsight Inc., which ran the hotel
operations and was 90 percent owned by him.
Meaning for the town
Linda Balough, director of the Park County Office of Historic Preservation, said that if the hotel ceased operating, it would be a blow not only
to the hotel, but to the town of Fairplay as a whole.
"It's got a long history, and I'm hoping that the history can continue to bring an asset to the community," she said. "Going out of business
and sitting there is absolute devastation to a building, especially a commercial building."
Considering the hotel's prominent location, she said, "it would not be doing any good to the town if it's sitting there empty."
She noted that Front Street has already seen some businesses leave or stop operating, and a rejuvenated Fairplay Hotel could act as a
catalyst if someone injected some money into it and it became a destination boutique hotel in summer and winter.
The hotel used to be a destination point in the 1920s, she said. "With some money put into it and some promotion put into it, it could be
quite an attraction."
The Fairplay Hotel was originally built in 1873 but burned to the ground in 1920. It was rebuilt in 1922.
Potential buyer saw two closing dates come and go
The family of Charles Francis Harding Jr., which has interests in oil and real estate from its base in Oklahoma City, was planning to buy the
hotel and invest $1 million in it, and it was close to closing on a deal two different times, according to John Beedon, Harding's stepson.
Beedon told The Flume last February that they were first set to close on Dec. 28, but a "lis pendens" filed by Meredith's former partner, Julia
Devillaz, clouded the title to the property, which meant an inability to obtain financing.
They were also set to close toward the end of February, said Beedon, but Meredith sent an e-mail on Feb. 14 saying he was backing out of
Meredith told The Flume on July 25 that even though Julia Devillaz had reached a legal settlement with him, which included an agreement
under which the lis pendens "was supposed to be released," it never was released and continues to cloud the title.
Colorado Springs attorney Greg Haller, who represents Devillaz, said the settlement that Devillaz reached with Meredith in January included
an obligation for Meredith to pay her $22,000, at a rate of about $500 a month. After the $22,000 was paid, the lawsuit brought by Devillaz
against Meredith would be dismissed and the lis pendens would disappear, Haller said.
That money was for her 10 percent interest in the hotel, Haller said.
But Meredith has only paid $100 since January, Haller said, so there was no reason to lift the lis pendens. He said he told Meredith's
attorney, Jeff Ryan of Breckenridge, that they would be glad to work with Meredith and a buyer in lifting the lis pendens as part of a deal in
which his client received the money due her.
But, he said, there are liens or "financing statements" (security interests) against the property besides that of Devillaz. He said a title search
showed them to be filed by: The Sound Garden, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bayview Financial, UCC Direct Services, Interbay Funding LLC,
Chambers Family Trust (with two filings) and Fairplay Sanitation District.
These days it's not that unusual to have an assortment of liens against a property and to clear them up as part of a purchase, Haller said.
"We were not the impediment. There were other judgments and impediments," he said.
Devillaz told The Flume that she had "no hopes" for the property. She cited mismanagement and the other liens on it.
Would the Harding family still be interested in purchasing the hotel?
"Probably not," said Beedon. "We've moved onto other things. We like Fairplay. We have a ranch just outside of Fairplay (the Trout Creek
And if the foreclosure goes through and Meredith no longer was the seller?
"I can't rule anything out," said Beedon.
"I really like "the hotel,"" he said. "I really want it to work." In anticipation of a purchase, he went through every bit of it and was looking
forward to restoring it, he said.
Paying the bills
Is Meredith making enough from the hotel alone - without the bar or restaurant -- to be able to avoid foreclosure and pay something to the
"I'm paying my bills," he said. "I'm still crunched. That's a fact."
"The renegotiation with the mortgage company is not finished yet," he added.
He figures he'll make a decision after reviewing his financial status at the end of the summer or beginning of the fall.
"I just play the hand I was dealt. There are some things you can do nothing about," he said. "Do the right thing, and do the best I can. That's
The hotel side of the business saw a year-over-year increase in revenue in January through March, he said, but he doesn't have the
numbers for the months since then.
He doesn't think the opening of the new Best Western in Fairplay has hurt his business, and he noted that he has sent some customers to
the Best Western if they wanted a more modern establishment, and Best Western has sent him customers who were seeking a more historic
One thing that has helped the hotel, he said, was the hotel's placement on the National Register of Historic Places. That designation on Jan.
16 from the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., enables the owner to qualify for state and federal income tax credits and also helps
attract hotel guests, according to Balough.
But it hasn't been enough to keep the hotel out of foreclosure proceedings.
"I have not made a decision on whether I am going to continue to operate it or not," Meredith said. "It's my choice. The mortgage company is
basically very willing to work with me, and it's basically whether I'm willing to try or not."
He said the Town of Fairplay has not been supportive, and indeed his business has become more difficult because of increased property
taxes and fees for water and sewage.
He wants to gather more information before making a decision on what he'll do.
"I still do operate, by God," he said.
The Fairplay Hotel
500 Main St
Fairplay, CO 80440
(719) 836-2565 (877) 836- 2501
Fairplay Hotel - 1910 - (www.photoswest.org)
Many people today believe the hotel is haunted by a woman's ghost who harkens back to the 1800's, affectionately known as "Julia". She
returns to the hotel every year in October, drawn by her memories of dancing upon the hotel's wooden floors during the town's annual
Harvest Dance. Sometimes, employees have reported seeing "Julia" and hearing music accompanied by the creaking of the floor...
Fairplay Hotel History
The Fairplay Hotel was originally built in 1873 and was known as the Valiton Hotel. It burned to the ground in 1921 and was rebuilt upon the
old foundation. While replicating much of the original floor plan, the architects included modern concepts such as indoor plumbing. The
hotel has operated continuously since it reopened in 1923. Once the center of elegance and culture for the area, it fell into disrepair and
neglect following the demise of gold mining in the area. In 1995 new owners began a massive effort to restore the original character of the
hotel, while bringing the plumbing and heating up to current standards.
We now feature 18 rooms and suites, all of which have brand new bathrooms and hot water baseboard heat. The walls of most of the rooms
have the original lath plaster and while the plaster has been patched and painted, it retains the old character. Each room has been
provided with new bedding of the highest quality for your sleeping comfort. The furnishings are either antique or antique reproductions. Our
dining room features hearty breakfasts, lunches and fine dining in the evening. The quality of our steaks, seafood and Chef's specials are
unsurpassed. Located only 23 miles from Breckenridge. We offer the rare opportunity for an old fashion ski vacation. In the summer,
Colorado 's finest rafting, fishing, horseback riding, bicycling and historic sites are all within a 30 minute trip from the hotel. Stay with us
winter or summer and let us show you the best vacation you've ever had
www.fairplayhotel.us/cm3/063/ ~ (From the hotel's old website)
The original Fairplay Hotel was built in one of the boom times of the 1800s, and is the site of a number of legends, historical events and
It is said to be the dwelling of a very particular ghost named Julia, who often rearranges the kitchen or is seen inspecting the hotel from the
upper hallway. She probably approves of the new name for the restaurant - Julia's Place, though she's not been seen recently to be able to
Of course, one of the rooms, number 212, where she is said to have lived, will certainly be decorated in her honor.
The current structure was built after the first hotel burned in 1922. An ornate and stately liquor bar was rescued from the late 1800s
Rachel's Place in Alma and is a gathering center in the smoker-friendly hotel bar-turned-lounge.
Fairplay Hotel - the following photos were taken by HauntedColorado.net - August 2007
All rights reserved, please
Hauntings in Fairplay
Article from the Fairplay Flume
By Linda Bjorklund
For the Park County Archives
As Halloween draws near, places reputed to be haunted seem to develop a darker and more mysterious look. Fairplay is reputed to have
ghosts in at least two hotels and one old house.
The Fairplay Hotel, whose floors still creak when patrons walk across the dining room, gets more noisy toward the end of October. The
town's annual Harvest Dance, previously held to celebrate the end of summer, was a favorite time for a local 'party girl' named Julia to
attend the festival and dance around the floor. Julia committed suicide after turning down a proposal of marriage and was buried in the
Fairplay Cemetery, according to a place mat at the Fairplay Hotel and a Denver Post article from Jan. 27, 2002.
Occasionally, distant music and the rhythmic creaking of the hotel floorboards remind guests and employees that Julia has not lost her
fondness for her harvest moon twirl in spite of her broken heart.
And the Hand Hotel, run for many years by a popular owner called "Grandma Hand," has not lost the spirit of the legendary lady. Number
12, the room that Grandma Hand kept as her own, does not respond well to changes in its furnishings. A guest reported that he was
awakened several times during the night by a voice demanding, "Where's my rocker?" At least that's the account in that same 2002 Denver
Post article, which was verified by the clerk at the Hand Hotel.
The next day a search of the premises turned up the rocking chair in another room. After the rocker was returned to its rightful place,
nocturnal queries stopped. Other guests have reported that touches from unknown hands have been felt. Yet another guest reported
covers being snatched off her during the night by a dark mastiff dog, according to the Post article.
The dog appeared again when a father and son attempted to build a haunted house in the basement of the hotel. Actual dog bites on the
hand of the boy were confirmed by witnesses. The hotel conducts periodic "ghost walks" to inform patrons of some of the unusual
inhabitants they might encounter during their stay, according to the manager of the Hand Hotel.
Finally, a lonely looking house stands empty on a hillside above the school grounds, reminding us that it, too, has its ghosts. The house was
built in 1873 by James Paul, a mining man, whose wife preferred to live in Fairplay rather than in Leadville where Paul worked. He rode
horseback over Mosquito Pass to work and back.
The American Gothic style of architecture does nothing to dispel the aura of tragedy about the structure. Another family was living in the
house in the early 1900s when a son in his early twenties, despondent over an unrequited love, took to his room in the northwest corner of
the house and committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a razor. It was said that the family shut the room without cleaning it and didn't
enter it again.
Subsequent owners tried to remove the blood stains from the floor and finally gave up, painting the floor red to cover the stains. It became
known as the 'red room,' according to the chapter called "Fairplay: Haunted House on the Hill," found in a book named "Gaslights and
Other information about the suicide was also revealed in the March 13, 1914, edition of The Flume.
The spirits of Fairplay don't seem to have the vengeful attitude of Freddy Krueger, but a gentle sadness that is mindful of every town's dark
moments, as well as its happier ones.
Hand Hotel Bed & Breakfast
531 Front Street
The following photos of the Hand Hotel were taken by HauntedColorado.net in August 2007.
All rights reserved please
An old picture on the wall at the Hand Hotel B&B of Grandma Hand
The beautifully- decorated Grandma Hand's Room
From the Hand Hotel's Guestbook:
I'm amazed that nobody mentions the hotel's past...absolutely gorgeous and a blast to stay in but the place in fact is haunted. I went to
college in Colorado in the early 90's and my family all stayed in the Hand after watching the episode of Unsolved Mysteries that did a piece
on the Hand Hotel. We all worked ourselves into such a fright that we had to spend the night in the same room. While I think our room had
a Native American motif, my mother is convinced that the strange entity that payed us a visit that night was a sort of miner...enjoy your stay
and make a point to ask the current inn keepers about the history of the hotel. fun fun fun -- Clint Metcalf / Overland Park, Kansas
From the Hand Hotel's website:
Step back in time to the real west. A bed & breakfast offering genuine western hospitality high in the heart of the Colorado mountains.
Built in 1931 by Jake & Jessie Hand.
The Hand Hotel Bed and Breakfast offers genuine western hospitality, high in the heart of the Colorado mountains. Located in Fairplay,
Colorado, the Hand Hotel is surrounded by the quiet beauty of the Rocky Mountains and overlooks the Middle Fork of the South Platte
River. Each of our eleven rooms carries a distinct personality, reminiscent of the people who settled in South Park and the Fairplay area.
You may choose from any of the available rooms during your stay, each having its own private bath. Click on the room name to see a photo
of the room.
The haunted Hand Hotel Bed & Breakfast has in the past conducted ghost tours.
Miner -- Tools of the miner's trade appoint a room providing a degree of comfort the hard rock miners could only dream of. Full-size bed,
Trapper -- Experience the rugged motif of the mountain men who first braved the unknown dangers of the Rocky mountains. Queen-size
Outlaw -- A reflection of the rough and tumble life of Colorado's gunslingers on the run. One full size bed and a bunk bed (two twins),
Silverheels -- Recalling the memory of dance hall girl turned "ministering angel" to miners. Queen-size bed, shower.
Mattie Silk -- Decadent and richly decorated, a portrait of Fairplay's dance hall legend. Queen-size bed, shower.
School Marm -- A room reminiscent of our pioneer teachers. Queen-size bed, shower.
Nature -- Fresh and crisp, a reflection of Colorado's abundant aspen, sparkling rivers, and clear mountain air. Two full-size beds, shower.
China Mary -- Richly adorned with oriental furnishings as a tribute to the Chinese citizens of Fairplay, who provided labor on the mining
regions and to China Mary who operated the laundry in town. Two full-size beds, shower.
Rancher -- A true western atmosphere, depicting the cowboy's life on the range. Two full-size beds, tub/shower.
Indian -- The first inhabitants of South Park were the Ute Indians, who recognized and revered the natural riches of this mountain region.
Two full-size beds, tub/shower.
Grandma Hand -- Just as you remember grandma's bedroom. Cuddle up under the quilt-covered beds in this cozy room. Two full-size
Innkeepers: Dale and Kathy Fitting
531 Front Street, PO Box 1059, Fairplay, CO 80440-1059
Reservations: (719) 836-3595
Back to home page