History: A bit about Twin Lakes’ colorful past.

Twin Lakes valley was originally settled as Dayton in 1865 and became an important transportation town, with a name change, when gold was discovered in the Aspen area in 1879. The need to move goods and people between the boom towns of Leadville and Aspen drove the development of an old trail into Independence Pass, a narrow rough toll road. The splendor of the valley has been enjoyed through out the years then and now. Twin Lakes was described in 1885 as “the most charming summer mountain resort in Colorado.”

On the porch at Dexter House
On the porch at Dexter House

Inter-Laken Hotel

In 1879 a hotel was built on the south shore of Twin Lakes; in 1883 it was purchased by James V Dexter and renamed Inter-Laken.

The Interlaken Hotel and resort sported some of the comfortable accommodations, views of the lakes, a log tavern, pool hall, and outbuildings including  a 16 stall horse barn, to accommodate guest’s horses, with tack room, storage, and hay loft; a milk barn, an ice house, granaries, and laundry.  One notable building that you can check out today is the six-sided privy with a separate room and door for each side. 

Summer concerts were held in the Pavilion and in winter guests could enjoy the resort, starting with a horse drawn sleigh ride across the frozen lake.  Hunting, fishing, and boating were the favorite activities for the rich and famous visitors who could access the area on the D&RG railroad which stopped at Granite and a Twin Lakes Station along the Arkansas River.

The resort operated a short 25 years before being abandoned. Now on the historic register, Interlaken’s buildings were moved inland in 1962 when dams were being built at Turquoise and Twin Lakes to augment the area’s water storage capabilities. The resulting Twin Lakes reservoir was set to engulf the historic buildings. Now you can hike or take a boat tour over to Interlaken, walk around and explore the buildings.

Celebration on the porch at Interlaken

Celebration on the porch at Interlaken

An early cottage along the Twin Lakes.
An early cottage along the Twin Lakes.

History links you might enjoy exploring

An Avalanche tragedy in the 60s written up in Colorado Central Magazine.

VisitLeadvilleco.com Twin Lakes information
Some more Interlaken history
Independence Pass history
More on Independence Pass
Colorado Central article on Independence Pass
And one last Independence Pass and Twin Lakes link