Grand Lake, Colorado
Grand Lake, Colorado
Grand Lake village in winter
Location of Grand Lake in Grand County, Colorado.
|Incorporated (town)||June 23, 1944|
|• Type||Statutory Town|
|• Total||1.03 sq mi (2.67 km2)|
|• Land||1.03 sq mi (2.67 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)|
|Elevation||8,369 ft (2,551 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||491.74/sq mi (189.84/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0202505|
Established in 1881, Grand Lake sits at an elevation of 8,369 feet (2,551 m) and derives its name from the lake on whose shores it is situated: Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in Colorado. The town of Grand Lake was originally an outfitting and supply point for the mining settlements of Lulu City, Teller City, and Gaskill, but today is a tourist destination adjacent to the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which surrounds the lake and the town on three sides. Grand Lake was the Grand County seat of government from 1882-1888. It was incorporated on June 23, 1944.
Grand Lake is located in northeastern Grand County at  U.S. Route 34 (Trail Ridge Road) runs through the western side of the town, entering Rocky Mountain National Park just north of town and leading 45 miles (72 km) across the mountains to Estes Park. To the southwest, US 34 leads 15 miles (24 km) to Granby.(40.250493, -105.824323).
Due to its elevation, Grand Lake has a subalpine climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) with a short growing season, averaging just 49 days per year. Temperatures are chilly at night even through the summer months, and only three months have an average temperature of above 10 °C (50 °F).
Grand Lake is Colorado's largest and deepest natural lake, and is part of the headwaters of the Colorado River. The lake became a component in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (C-BT) in 1937, when it was recruited as a conduit for C-BT project water. The C-BT project diverts water from the Colorado River Basin east via the Alva B. Adams Tunnel under the Continental Divide and Rocky Mountain National Park to the Big Thompson River watershed, thence the South Platte River and ultimately the Mississippi River basin.
Grand Lake Yacht Club is a private club that hosts sailing races on the lake, and there are also publicly and privately operated marinas, a public boat ramp, and public boat docks on the lake.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 447 people, 219 households, and 121 families residing in the town. The population density was 472.5 people per square mile (181.7/km2). There were 748 housing units at an average density of 790.7 per square mile (304.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.20% White, 0.67% African American, 0.89% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.68% of the population.
There were 219 households, out of which 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 3.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.60.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 16.8% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 35.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 124.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 122.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $45,096, and the median income for a family was $55,750. Males had a median income of $30,833 versus $26,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $34,676. About 3.0% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
The Kauffman House is an NRHP-listed rustic log house that functioned as a hotel from its construction in 1892 until 1946. The Grand Lake Area Historical Society purchased the house in 1973 and converted it into a museum as the only pre-20th century log hotel remaining in Grand Lake.
Grand Lake is home to the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. This summer stock theatre company produces various theatrical productions throughout the year, usually three Broadway musicals from June through August and one musical in September. In the spring of 2010, a new 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) theatre complex was built for the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake.
Fred N. Selak, ″The Hermit of Grand Lake″
Frederick Nicholas Selak (1865–1926) was an early pioneer of the Grand Lake area. He operated a stage line with his brother as well as saloons and other businesses in the early days of Grand Lake. When he died he owned 300 acres of land in and around Grand Lake as well as interest in two mining operations.
In 1926 Selak lived alone in a small log cabin about 3 miles outside of Grand Lake. He was referred to as "The Hermit of Grand Lake", but was known to have loaned money to locals, and rumored to have stashed up to $500,000 on his property. After friends became concerned they had not seen Selak for over a week, they checked on him, found his house had been ransacked, floorboards torn up, and Selak nowhere to be found. An investigation by the local Sherriff was unable to identify any leads. The intrigue surrounding the hermit and his wealth made the crime mystery a national story. An article in True Detective Mysteries magazine described the crime in the June, 1930 issue. The article had the title Echo Mountain′s Hanging Spectre and was written by A. G. Gertz of The Denver Post.
Selak's sister in California, Lillian Coffee, and her husband, Lawrence W. Coffee, were notified when Selak went missing. The two traveled to Colorado to assist in locating her brother. Lawrence Coffee was credited for helping identify the two suspects that would later confess to Selak′s murder.
The two men had hanged Selak July 21 as retaliation related to a fencing dispute. When found on August 17, Selak′s remains were still hanging from the pine tree where he was killed almost a month earlier. Selak′s murderers said they only found $75 and some old coins when they searched Selak′s property. It was the coins that alerted Coffee as to who the perpetrators might be. Rumors of the hidden cash persisted. In March, 1927, convinced there must be more valuables or cash stashed somewhere on the property, the townspeople planned a search of his property as soon as the snow cleared.
The two perpetrators, Arthur Osborn, 22 at the time of the murder, and his cousin, Ray Noakes, 21, were found guilty and given the death penalty. Like the man they killed, they themselves were hanged. They were executed in Cañon City, Colorado on March 30, 1928.
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- "Boys Laugh and Joke During Death Hour; Face Noose Calmly". The Denver Post. Denver, CO. March 30, 1938. pp. 1, 3. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
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