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A Brief History of Lake City:
Recreation & Tourism, 1915-1954

Early Tourism

Although adventurers and sightseers had arrived at Lake City as early as the 1874 - 1878 silver rush, their numbers were few.

Most tourists stayed at mining era inns, such as the American House, La Veta Hotel, Lake City Hotel, Pueblo House, and Occidental Hotel.  (Lake City never progressed beyond frontier lodging - two-story, frame buildings with front facing gables).

Tourists visited Lake City during the late 1800s and early 1900s, as evidenced by businesses promoting goods and services for tourists as well as miners and sportsmen.  For example, the Occidental Hotel advertised as a "Headquarters for Commercial Men, Mining Men and Tourists.  A Delightful Place to Spend a Summer Vacation."

The opening of the Lake Shore Inn in 1917 strengthened Lake City's emergence as a tourist destination.*  Located on the west side of Lake San Cristobal along the road between Lake City and Silverton, it expanded into a 30-room, rustic log lodge and 18 "roughly furnished" cabins.  The Lake Shore Inn remained the premier resort until it burned to the ground in 1937.

Lake Shore Inn owner Col. Frank Chauncey French became a major promoter of the upper Lake Fork, advertising the vicinity as "A Place to Fish and Enjoy the Summer Season…  A Place to Mine, Prospect or Ranch with Pleasure and Profit."

>>Next:  1920s: The Automobile & Tourists Arrive

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*    The Lake Shore Inn burned to the ground in 1937 and was partially rebuilt soon after.
 Town of Lake City, PO Box 544, Lake City, CO  81235.  970-944-2333.  
The Lake Shore Inn, circa 1930, on the shores of Lake San Cristobal.  Click on image for larger pop-up version.