Take a trip back in time to learn about the history of Lakewood as the newly renovated Estes Motel opens to the public at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 11 at the Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St. The Estes Motel is the newest structural artifact to be restored and added to the museum’s tour, which tells the tale of life in Lakewood through the 20th century, and in this case, the story of tourism and commerce along West Colfax Avenue in the 1950s.
This two-room, two-carport motel, constructed in 1948-1949, was originally owned by Clifford and Christine Estes and sat on their property on the south side of Colfax just east of Kipling in what was then a rural area of unincorporated Jefferson County. At this time, Colfax was a narrow, two-lane thoroughfare, more pedestrian in character and in the process of being paved. The area was transforming from a farming countryside to bustling commercial area with gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses. Known as Highway 40, Colfax was the primary route between Denver and the Rocky Mountains. By 1952, the area hit its tourism peak with 37 motels along West Colfax including the Trail’s End, Park-O-Tel, Siesta Motel, Del Norte Hotel and Monterey Lodge. Answering to phone number BE 3-5297, the Estes Motel advertised rates of $4-8 a night, serving a stream of travelers from across the country.
At the grand opening, visitors can experience the fully restored interior and exterior of the motel and soak up the ambience of the 1950s large automobile era. The motel was generously donated to the Lakewood Heritage Center by Michael Bettmann, the owner of Colorado Frame Company who remains the owner of the property that once served as the site of the Estes Motel.
The grand opening occurs during Lakewood’s annual Rockin’ Block Party. Visitors can stay for the free Chris Daniels and Kings concert followed by the movie “Sandlot” under the stars at the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Amphitheater. For more information, call 303-987-7848 or visit Lakewood.org/HeritageCenter.