YMCA of the Rockies - Administration Building
Built in 1910 for $9,200, the Administration Building was originally used for social gatherings and dining. Notice the Western Stick style of architecture on the front side of the roof and over sized windows. In 1949, there was an addition of knotty pine paneling to the interior and a Rustic Room soda fountain. In 1977, there was a major renovation to winterize the building. In 1994, in another renovation, the Rustic Room was removed and the General Store and restrooms were added. In 1995, the Rustic Café was added as a place to gather for ice cream and take-out food.
Backstory and Context
The Administration Building was designed by Colorado architect Thomas P. Barber in 1910. Barber was well known for his ecclesiastical and municipal buildings in Colorado Springs and around the state. He designed several churches in Denver, Longmont, Montrose, and Trinidad Colorado. The builder hired to construct the Administration Building was Fred Beckstrom of Boulder. Beckstrom may have been the builder associated with the Hotel Boulderado built in 1907 in Boulder. The Administration Building was designed in the Western Stick style, which was mirrored after the Adirondack camp style buildings found on the East Coast. These styles used locally sourced natural materials to create a rustic getaway from the rapidly industrializing cities. The Western lodges found throughout the western national park system developed their own distinct rustic style using pine logs and local stone. The Administration Building at the YMCA of the Rockies is a very good example of this style.
The interior of the building, while still retaining the natural stone features, wooden floors, and log pillars was updated in the 1940s to include knotty pine paneling - a popular architectural feature of the 1940s and 1950s.
Go to the East end of the interior of the building to find a memorial of Sampson hanging over the fireplace. Sampson was a resident bull elk who grazed on the YMCA grounds for almost 6 years. The YMCA of the Rockies is a sanctuary for our local wildlife because hunting is illegal on our grounds. In 1995, Sampson was hunted from a truck with a cross-bow and the hunter was prosecuted. Donors funded a life-size sculpture which now stands at the intersection of highways 36 and 7 in downtown Estes Park.
Outside the Y Kids Statue stands to the northwest of the Administration Building and was sculpted by Jane DeDecker of Loveland, Colorado. It was installed for the Centennial Celebration of the YMCA of the Rockies in 2007. The sculpture consists of four children spelling out the letters Y M C A. The clothing of the children was designed to reflect the different styles of clothing worn throughout the century. The model was presented to the YMCA National Assembly. Several YMCAs wanted to have smaller versions made to recognize donors.
Behind the Administration Building you will find the Jellison Library. At the YMCA of the Rockies, there has been a library or lending library since the mid - 1920’s. The library was dedicated in July, 1964. In 2018 the children's section, which comprises the downstairs area, was refurbished. In 2019, a new entry to the children's library was landscaped and handicap parking was made available at the upper level.
Notice the nearby Women's Building. By the early 1920s women and children represented as many numbers as did men attending Summer Conferences. The wives formed a Women’s Auxiliary and raised funds for the building. Led by Mrs. Henry Kallenberg and Mrs. Henry Dorsey, the women raised all but $1000 needed to complete the construction.It was first used in 1924 and became the center for child care and programming for women. This was the first day camp at the Estes Park Y. Today the YMCA of the Rockies has the distinction of having the oldest continuously operated YMCA day camp in the United States.
In the Mid-1920s, representatives of the various YMCA state organizations that attended the summer student conferences raised funds for their own state cabins where they could hold meetings during the conference. The Texas cabin is good example of those early cabins.
Melton, Jack R. Melton, Lulabeth. YMCA of the Rockies: Reflections, Traditions and Vision. Estes Park, CO. YMCA of the Rockies, 2006.