The Stanley Hotel is infamous among the paranormal circles, but another Estes Park inn has it’s share of ghosts as well. Newlyweds Gordon and Ethel Mace visited Estes Park in 1911 on their honeymoon and fell in love with the area. So much they decided to build a homestead on the property. Initially only a small cabin was built on the land and rhubarb was planted to fulfill the requirements of the Homestead Act. To increase their income, they built several tourist cabins. With their success, the Mace Family made plans to build an inn.
With financial resources being quite limited, the Mace family used what natural resources were available and constructed the inn from hand-hewn timber cut from the property and massive stone fireplaces were built to provide warmth and hot water. The Baldpate was opened in 1917 boasting such amenities as hot running water, electric lights, and indoor plumbing.
Mystery novelist Earl Derr Biggers visited the inn and stated it was so similar to the "imaginary" Baldpate Inn in his novel Seven Keys to Baldpate, that the Mace's hotel would become the "real" Baldpate Inn. In the novel, each of seven visitors traveled to the closed-in-wintertime hotel, thinking he or she has the only key to the Inn. In keeping with the story line of the novel, the Mace family gave each visitor to Baldpate Inn their very own key, a tradition that continued until the outbreak of World War I when the price of metal became so expensive that the owners were no longer able to give keys away. With this a new tradition was born. Loyal guests were so disappointed that they began bringing a key back to the inn with them each year. The competition between the guests became so fierce the owners began displaying all the keys in the Key Room which is by the lobby. The collection boasts over 20,000 keys including ones from the Pentagon, Westminster Abby, Edgar Allan Poe’s dorm room, Mozart's wine cellar, and even Frankenstein's castle to name a few.
The Baldpate Inn stayed in the Mace family until 1986 when they lost ownership of it. The Smith Family bought it that same year and continues to run it until this day. Many believe Gordon and Ethel Mace loved the inn so much they decided to stay permanently.
Ethel is often seen in her old bedroom and the Key Room. Guests and staff have seen her ghost sitting in a wing-backed rocker that was hers in life with her feet on a foot stool and reading the Bible in front of a fireplace that’s in a storage room adjacent to the Key Room. Footsteps have been heard in the hallway next to a second floor bathroom near Ethel’s Room. Some people who ordered drinks would put them down and their cocktails and highballs mysteriously vanished, flew off of the table or were spilled, often blamed on Ethel. Gordon Mace is not a fan of smokers. When a guest lights a cigarette in violation of the No Smoking rule, something puts it out. Cigarette packs have a tendency to disappear and are never found again. Witnesses have heard somebody running up and down the stairs.