Lake George

The Townsite of Lake George was first developed by George Washington Frost. A wealthy manufacturer from Boston, Frost moved to the area in 1886 to take advantage of opportunities provided by the Colorado Midland Railroad. With financing from eastern investors, Frost began construction of a dam on the South Platte River at the mouth of Eleven Mile Canyon in July of 1890. The lake created by this dam provided the foundation for a lucrative ice cutting business; ice was hand cut and used to refrigerate produce cars from the Western Slope and Divide on their journey to the Pike’s Peak region. Frost also intended to create a resort around the lake, an unsuccessful venture.

 

The ice cutting business was improved around 1910 by J. M. Kellogg, who modernized the facilities, machinery, and infrastructure; however, the Colorado Midland abandoned the railroad line through Lake George in 1918 and the ice cutting business faded. Further setbacks included a flood in 1923 which destroyed the dam and the lake and a fire which reduced Frost’s impressive Victorian Era residence to ashes. Very few of the businesses and homes from the town’s earliest years survive today. The town’s one-room school house was the first building to be moved to South Park City Museum in the 1950s.

 

In the 1930s and 40s, tourists increasingly traveled by automobile across Colorado in search of scenic views and vacation spots. In 1937, C. E. Stevenson of Oklahoma, known as the “Millionaire Newsboy” rebuilt the Lake George dam, refilled the lake and sold lots surrounding the area in an effort to create a resort community. During this period, a number of cabin courts, motels, restaurants, and filling stations were established to serve the tourists traveling along Highway 24.

Related Attractions: