YMCA of the Rockies- The Walnut Room
The Walnut Room is one of the oldest buildings at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park center and dates from 1911. Funded in part by A.A. Hyde to honor the first center director, Bruno Hobbs who tragically died in upstate New York, the Walnut Room was originally constructed to serve as the summer camp gymnasium before moving to become the camp dining room.
Backstory and Context
Built in 1911, the Walnut Room was originally intended to serve as a gymnasium and as a general meeting space. It is constructed using the Western Stick style. Western Stick was a popular architectural style in the late nineteenth century and is evident throughout the historic structures found at the YMCA of the Rockies. Western Stick mirrored the Adirondack Style found on the east coast and drew on the aesthetics of the day by using design elements found in nature. Logs and local stone were used to construct chalet-type structures set in a rustic and rural setting. The goal was to provide guests with a peaceful and regenerative experience far away from the rapidly industrializing cities.
Look closely at the building and notice the extensions from the eaves with a "notch" at each end. This notch appears to be a trademark of the architect Thomas P. Barber who designed several buildings at the YMCA of the Rockies in the early twentieth century. Barber, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado was known for his work in designing churches, hotels, apartment buildings, and commercial structures. His more noticeable achievements included the city hall in Colorado Springs.
Due to the success of the Y camp, the Walnut Room was converted to a dining hall in 1912, but following a major snow storm in December of 1913, which effected the whole region, the weight of snow piled on the dining room roof caused it to collapse. Despite the damage inflicted on the building, the dining room was ready for use by the summer of 1914.
In the past, the basement of the Walnut Room has served as an arts and crafts studio, a beauty parlor, and now the association camp Post Office.
Lloyd-D'Onofrio, Karen. "YMCA of the Rockies - Walnut Room." Clio: Your Guide to History. September 3, 2019. Accessed September 4, 2019. https://www.theclio.com/entry/84472
Melton, Jack. Melton, Lulabeth. YMCA of the Rockies: Reflections, Traditions and Visions. Estes Park, Colorado. YMCA of the Rockies, 2006.