HomeOperaThe Stanley Resort: A Piece of Colorado Historical past

The Stanley Resort: A Piece of Colorado Historical past

By: Bethany Wooden & Jennifer Colgan

Nestled in among the many majestic peaks of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Parks lies The Stanley Resort, a gorgeous and historic retreat, however one fateful go to in 1974 modified the story of this resort perpetually. Stephen King had solely a quick keep at The Stanley Resort, however the go to lived on in his reminiscence and grew into the inspiration for one of the vital beloved novels within the western canon, The Shining. The room the place he stayed is now essentially the most requested one on the resort and has housed celebrities from Johnny Depp to the Emperor of Japan.

In The Shining, Jack Torrance is impressed by The Overlook Resort’s sordid historical past to put in writing about it in his novel. Let’s take a better take a look at the historical past of the real-life resort that impressed Stephen King.


In 1903, Freelan Oscar Stanley, referred to as “F.O.,” arrived in Colorado together with his spouse Flora, hoping to get well from recurring tuberculosis. F. O. made his fortune within the late 1800s by means of a system that he and his similar twin brother, F. E. Stanley, developed for coating glass plates utilized in pictures. They really hit the mark with the mix of top of the range and low value of The Stanley Dry Plate, making it extraordinarily well-liked. In 1904, the Stanley brothers offered their course of to Kodak for $540,000 (over $17M at this time).

F.O. and F.E. Stanley in one in all their Stanley Steam Automobiles.

The brothers’ exit from the photographic plate enterprise gave them time for one more undertaking—the invention and manufacture of steam-powered cars. They created a small boiler wrapped tightly with metal piano wire to face up to 250 kilos of stress. The consequence was a light-weight, steam-powered automobile that might journey as much as 30mph.


F.O. appeared to have all of it—his enterprise endeavors had been extraordinarily profitable, and the mountain air did certainly assist him get well from tuberculosis! Nonetheless, he was not a fan of the agricultural way of life. F.O. and his spouse, Flora, continued to winter again east and spend summers in Estes Park, the place F.O. quickly realized the city wanted a extra fashionable, luxurious place to hobnob with visiting associates.

The Stanley Resort in 1909.

In 1907, Stanley started development on a resort. He labored with architect T. Robert Wieger, which featured a small hydroelectric plant above the Fall River and improved entry roads. In the end, Stanley’s efforts would help the event of energy and waste methods for the city of Estes Park, and the resort was the primary fully-electric one on this planet!

Stanley cherished his grand resort, however it by no means made a revenue. Stanley as soon as mentioned, “I come out right here within the spring and convey thirty thousand {dollars}…and I am going again within the fall with ten or fifteen thousand.” Stanley’s different enterprises made up for the losses, however, ultimately, the founder determined to promote. In 1926, Stanley offered his resort to a few traders, calling themselves The Stanley Company. The company, nonetheless, was unable to meet its obligations. When the resort fell into foreclosures, F.O. repurchased it in 1929 earlier than promoting it once more the next yr.


Though Stephen King by no means claimed any narrative connections between The Shining and F.O. Stanley’s private historical past, the parallels of their tales are uncanny. King’s novel ends with the explosion of the Overlook’s boiler—an ironic finish for an edifice primarily based on The Stanley—whose namesake invented the boiler that powered a whole bunch of motor vehicles. Equally ironic, The Shining contains a protagonist overcome by an habit to alcohol, a substance F.O. Stanley abhorred and barely tolerated in his resort.

Along with King’s novel, Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation has perpetually linked The Shining with the picture of similar twin ladies dressed alike, talking, and transferring in unison. F.O. Stanley and his similar twin F.E. dressed equally all through their lives, making it tough for even members of the family to inform them aside. The twins continued this follow till F.E.’s tragic demise in 1918 after his Stanley Steamer swerved to keep away from one other automotive and overturned.

In the present day, the resort is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations and features a restaurant, spa, and bed-and-breakfast with panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rockies, and Lengthy’s Peak. Due to The Shining, it has gained a fame as a setting for paranormal exercise, and company can go on guided ghost excursions.

See photographs of The Stanley Resort come to life as a part of an opera set! Tickets for Opera Colorado’s February/March manufacturing of Moravec & Campbell’s The Shining are on sale now>>

Have you ever ever been to The Stanley Resort? What would you be most excited to see?




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