Grand Lake is rich in history, embodied in its most iconic street.
The Kauffman House Museum is featuring a special exhibit, “Grand Avenue – A Walk in the Past” now through Labor Day. The Grand Lake Historical Society threw extensive research behind the exhibit, finding gems like high-action rodeos held in the middle of the road, winter bed sled races, the construction of the first restaurant in 1917, and a massive boulder welcoming residents to town that was eventually blasted out of the street.
“I think it’s just fun to see, and to compare it to today,” said Kathy Means, vice president for the Grand Lake Historical Society.
Volunteer researchers spent two years preparing the exhibit, scouring newspapers, gathering photographs, conducting interviews and collecting artifacts for display.
The exhibit tries to recreate the old general stores, post offices, taverns and dining halls, painting a picture of mountain living from years gone by.
According to Means, nearly all the Grand Avenue businesses also had cottages and cabins they rented to vacationers.
“It’s just always been a tourist destination, even for the Indians that only came here in the summer to hunt and fish,” Means said.
The Historical Society hasn’t researched all of Grand Avenue’s buildings, past and present. They’re still looking for more stories and surprises about past activities on the three-block stretch. Means hopes the work will continue.
“If someone’s interested in research, we’d love to have them,” she said. “We want people to share – anything that they can email to us, write to us or share, we’d love to keep the history on file.”