Colorado history comes alive at local bed and breakfast – Holden House 1902 ready to welcome guests

History comes alive! Colorado Springs, El Paso County and the Pikes Peak region is home to a wealth of heritage.  And, we’re proud that Holden House bed and breakfast contributes to this preservation effort. 

Let me take a few moments to tell you a little about the first owner of Holden House, located originally at 302 W. Washington Avenue (now 1102 W. Pikes Peak after annexation into Colorado Springs. Formerly Old Colorado City).   Arriving by covered wagon in the 1860’s, Isabel Hayden (Photo  left) and Daniel Holden met and married in the Pikes Peak region, moving to an area called Bijou Basin and homesteading the Holden Ranch. This amazing pioneer woman was raising six children, the ranch being located just south of the area’s now Black Forest area. Isabel is noted in local history documents as having stood her ground on a number of occasions with a shotgun, while standing up to native American up-risings. Local legend says that a common method ranchers used to stave off intruders, was to provide homecooked food and biscuits as a protection payoff. One can only imagine this tough pioneer lady, standing at the door of her ranch house, either holding a shotgun or plate of biscuits, depending on the situation.  Just a few years prior to building Holden House, Isabel’s husband, Daniel M. Holden, who was also the president of the Colorado Springs Mining Exchange Bank, died of an unfortunate cholera epidemic that spread throughout the region.

In the year 1902, Isabel Holden, built this stately Victorian to accommodate the Holden family. The local directories and research indicates that Isabel moved into the city to better educate her family, likely leaving the ranch for a more convenient location and for educational opportunities.  While she lived and her family only lived in the house until 1906, when the main house and carriage house were sold to two sisters (Agnes Clark and Gladys Clark – Nichols), her dedication to family and community spirit lives on today as we welcome guests to share in our love of old homes.  (Photo above right: Daniel M. Holden)

Welling and I have been long-time supporters of historic preservation and in fact, spent a year restoring the main house prior to opening in 1986.  As part of our initial renovation, our then dilapidated Colonial Revival turretted Victorian lady received a new foundation, plumbing, heating and wiring.  As the years have progressed, we’ve continually taken on additional responsibilities by restoring and renovating the 1906 carriage house and 1898 rose Victorian house next door, creating a “cluster inn” of side-by-side buildings.   As you can imagine, it’s a continual process, but one that’s been well worth the work.  The enjoyment of sharing our historic home with others brings a smile to both Welling and I and to our amazing assistant innkeepers including Heather, Kristin, Julie, Ashley, Alane and Stephanie.  (Photo above left: Isabel and Daniel Holden’s monument in Evergreen Cemetary, Colorado Springs)

Since my father grew up in Colorado and my grandmother lived in Pueblo, CO, we have been close by the family farm on the St. Charles Mesa just 45 miles south of Colorado Springs. Because my grandma was a gatherer of beautiful things, it has allowed us to fill the inn with family heirlooms and treasures she collected throughout the years and her travels in Europe.  Bavarian crystal, Swansea (Gaudy Welsh) china, clocks from England and Germany, silver from Wales (belonging to my great-grandmother),  porcelain ballerina figurines from East Germany and hand stitched quilts.  In addition, we’ve lined our main house staircase with a collection of historic family photos.

The Pikes Peak region is sprinkled with history.  Among these historic places, you’ll find the Colorado Springs Pioneer’s Museum located in the original El Paso County, Colorado, courthouse, Rockledge Ranch historic site, Glen Eyrie Castle (built by Gen. William Jackson Palmer and currently owned by the Navigators), the Dr. Lester Williams Fire Museum and Miramont Castle. And, just a short one hour drive up Ute Pass to Cripple Creek offers additional appreciation opportunities for historical reflection. (Photo above left: Isabel and Daniel Holden “Pioneer of Colorado Homesteaded in Bijou Basin, El Paso County in 1860” gravestone in Evergreen Cemetary, Colorado Springs)
Whether you’re seeking old-fashioned charm or modern day experiences, we’re here to welcome you to the beautiful Pikes Peak region and comfortable accommodations at Holden House.  After all, it’s well-known that Katharine Lee Bates, after riding a mule up our 14,100 foot mountain, wrote the words to America the Beautiful. Come and experience the “beauty” for yourself.
The coffee’s on and the cookies are baking…
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