June 7th, 5:01pm

The Stanley Hotel


The Stanley Hotel overlooks Estes Park, literally and figuratively, as the grand hotel of F.O. Stanley, and the one that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” But in regards to its haunting, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

F.O. Stanley set out to build a luxury accomodation in his beloved Estes Park. He even funded a hydroplant to make the Stanley the first hotel to run entirely on electricity. But the hotel, in line with the town’s standing as a summer resort, would operate only in the summers.

In 1973, Stephen King and his wife Tabitha were living in Boulder for the summer, and they decided to make a day trip to the Estes Park. They stayed at the Stanley hotel just as they were closing for the season - the King’s were asked to pay cash as the credit card machines had been packed up - and it seems they may have been the only guests. An orchestra played as they ate by themselves in the grand dining hall - a “creepy” vibe indeed. It was here that Stephen King was inspired to make his next novel about a haunting in a grand hotel.

While there’s no great tragedy or mystery that typically propels ghost lore, guests to this day swear they see the ghost of F.O. Stanley watching over the lobby, or hear Flora Stanley playing the piano ONLY when the room is empty. Although the hotel offers ghost tours, they’re haunted as by this legacy they try to shift into a health and wellness resort. But then again, not everyone has the shining…

Photo: ‘The Stanley Hotel’  by Kent Kanouse, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkanouse. License at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0