“The Shinings” Stanley Hotel In Colorado Founded By This Mainer
It's probably safe to say that most people love a really good story, However, there are those of us that really love the back story to many of those good stories also.
Such is the case with Stephen King's 'The Shining', the Stanley Hotel, which is the alleged setting and the man from Maine who helped co-found the hotel which is the place that the Maine authors story takes place.
It all began on a spring day in Kingfield, Maine on June 1, 1849, when Freelan Oscar Stanley entered into the world along with his identical twin brother, Francis Edgar.
Stanley would later go on to be educated at Maine's Bowdoin College and then entered into the world of an inventor.
Freelan Oscar Stanley - The Inventor
After graduating college, Stanley opened a portrait studio where he developed a technique called 'crayon' also known as charcoal which he supplemented with his 'Improvement to the Atomizer' which was an early invention of what would become the airbrush.
From there, he went into business with his brother and they developed the 'Dry Plate Company' in Lewiston, Maine. They were one of the first to print images onto a plate which we probably have in one of our commemorative plate collections.
The company was sold to Eastman Kodak in 1905.
From there he and his brother invented and built an automobile, powered by steam and called the Stanley Steamer, which was later sold to John Brisben Walker, editor of Cosmo magazine.
The Stanley Hotel In Estes Park, Colorado
When Stanley turned 54, in 1903, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the time, a good remedy to help cope with the disease was fresh, dry air and plenty of sunshine. Many people like Stanley, referred to at the time as 'lungers' began moving to Colorado.
Upon moving to Colorado, he stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, but when he didn't get any better, his doctor suggested he reside in Estes Park, Colorado because it was a mountainous area and he likened it to Switzerland, where many with the disease would go to recover.
During his first summer in Estes Park, specifically at a place called the Elkhorn Lodge, he recovered greatly. At that point, he bought property in Estes Park to set up his own residence.
Because Stanley loved Estes Park so much, he decided to try and make the area into a resort town and in 1907 construction of the "Hotel Stanley" began.
The hotel would be a resort with plenty of room for high-end guests, bandstands, ballrooms, a hydraulic elevator, electric lights, and the whole works.
In order to power the hotel, Stanley established the Fall River Hydro-Plant which brought power and electricity to the area for the first time. Stanley has also been accredited with establishing Rocky Mountain National Park.
Stanley sold the hotel in 1926 to a private company which was established to manage Stanley's assets in Estes Park, and they later filed for bankruptcy.
Stanley then bought the hotel back in 1930 only to sell it again to Roe Emery of Denver and he owned it until 1947.
Although Stanley did not own the hotel anymore, he still held a room that he could stay in during the vacation season.
Stanley died in Newton, Massachusetts on October 2, 1940, at the ripe old age of 91.
If you ever make it to Kingfield, Maine you can visit the old high school he endowed back in 1903. Today, it is a museum dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Freelan Oscar Stanley.