Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Happy hundredth to the Brook Forest Inn

In an industry when a restaurant reaching its first birthday is considered noteworthy, the run of the Brook Forest Inn is nothing short of remarkable.

Edwin and Marie Welz, immigrants who arrived in this country in 1910 and took over a homestead near Evergreen, worked on transforming the place into a hotel, and in 1919 opened the Brook Forest Inn. The mountain getaway that became legendary across the country, hosting such guests as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mrs. Margaret Brown (The Unsinkable Molly) and Liberace. After Edwin died, Marie sold the 350-acre property in 1956, and pieces were chopped off in the decades that followed. In 1996, Rubel and Betty Atencio bought the parcel that included the inn. A failed sale and two restorations later, the Atencios's daughter and her husband are running the Brook Forest Inn, now returned to its early grandeur and just added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The family will be celebrating that and the building's hundredth anniversary on Saturday, October 17, with a dinner featuring a menu that Edwin Welz originally served in the '30s. And on Sunday, the inn will host a brunch for those who've donated historic artifacts -- or have their own historic ties to the Brook Forest Inn.

Although the one-time mountain getaway is now just a quick drive from downtown Denver, it's also a fast trip back to the past. Find out more about the Centennial Celebration at

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun