Wednesday, November 9, 2016

History of The Holiday Chalet



Celebrating 120 years on East Colfax, The Holiday Chalet Bed & Breakfast was originally built in 1896 for Henry and Mary Bohm. Henry Bohm, a pioneer Denver jeweler, found the firm which was later to be known as the Bohm-Allen Jewelers. The builder was the Colorado Realty and Construction Company.

At that time, the main entrance was on High Street and the address was given as 1475 High Street. The Tiffany window was located on the south side of the building. Noah Hayden Griffith, Mary and John’s father (Margot Hartmann’s grandfather), purchased the home in 1912. Soon after, Noah died in the flu epidemic of 1918.

Grandmother Ida Lindsey Griffith sold their home on Madison Street which was then part of the Colfax A and B “subdivision” which grandfather helped build. As a realtor and developer, he built a number of residences in Denver in addition to building the Denham Theatre.

Grandmother Ida was a very resourceful woman. She realized she needed an income to support her family. She decided to hire an excellent architect and redesign the home on High Street. With the help of a skilled Dutch architect this building was converted into an apartment house. You will note that the main entrance is now on the Colfax Avenue side with the Tiffany window directly over the main door.

This building was tastefully expanded with sun rooms so that what were then individual rooms, became efficiency apartments. Each apartment had closets with French doors. According to Margot’s father, John Griffith, these doors were the first interior French doors to be designed for a home in Denver. Behind these doors were Murphy Beds. The stairway leading to the second and third floors was also relocated to its present location.

This house was not only the family home for the Griffith Family for over 50 years, before they purchased the Peter McCourt home from Henry Roberts, but it was also a center for “Great” happenings. What is now the tea room was then grandmother Ida’s living space. Originally, it was the parlor of the Bohm mansion. According to newspaper clippings, Baron von Richtofen, lay in state in this parlor in November of 1898. Apparently he was a close friend of the Bohm Family. He died at a low ebb in his finances. He was noted for developing the Mont Clair Subdivision and also for planting maple trees from Broadway east to promote his development. As a side note, Margot’s grandmother was taxed by the city of Denver to remove all those trees so that Colfax Avenue could be widened.

This building remained an apartment house from 1922 to 1952. The thought at the time was that a family could live comfortably on the income from an apartment house containing ten units. This building has twelve with two being used for Margot’s family and the balance as efficiency apartments.

That brings us to the modem history of this building. Margot’s father married her mother, Margaret Hull of Rochester, New York, in 1940. They lived in the apartment, which is now room #3.

In 1952 the taxes were raised on the property. Since the building was restricted by a rent freeze imposed during World War II. It was time for the family to take stock of the situation. It was decided to change the apartment house into a hotel. This decision was made when Margot was seven years old. Margaret was appointed manager of the hotel, a position she maintained lovingly until just two years before she passed away in 1983. Because of her devotion, there have been many people who have visited the Holiday Chalet for several generations. There have been and continues to be guests from all over the United States and the World.

April 1, 2004 Crystal Sharp a local fashion designer and business entrepreneur purchased the hotel from Margot, continuing The Holiday Chalet's tradition as a Bed & Breakfast, and also created a boutique featuring many of her own original designs. Crystal, though schooled in economics, has a passion for design, and presented her work in the SheShe Boutique at the hotel for many years.

We hope you enjoy your visit with us and will tell your friends about your journey back into Denver’s colorful past. We also have a private Cannabis-Friendly smoking patio, and serve a delicious breakfast every morning.

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