As with all good things, Romantic RiverSong, an Estes Park lodge, has a vibrant history. Here is our story:Construction of Marshall Lodge (Today known as Romantic RiverSong Inn) began in the early 1920s in Estes Park, at the end of a winding country lane. Built as a summer lodge for a banking family from Lincoln, Kansas, the lodge became a retreat from the hot Midwest summers and much anticipated family gatherings. This was a place where childhood fantasies were born out of games of hide and seek among the rock outcroppings, kids splashing each other in the cool mountain stream, and enjoying the rainy summer afternoons inside the lodge working on puzzles. The aroma of the fire in the fireplace and pancakes, sausage, and coffee filled the chilly morning air as grandma Marshall worked her kitchen magic. It's much the same today, nearly 95 years later, as our staff lovingly prepares an elegant breakfast for our guests who are here to seek their own adventure and fantasy at this magical country inn. The lodge started out as a single story building with a cistern for water; a wood stove in the kitchen provided hot water, laundry was done in the sink, and lanterns and starlight provided light in the night.
When patriarch Abe Marshall died in Lincoln, Kansas, his wife Belle married her long time childhood sweetheart from California, Frank Chase. Mr. Chase, a wealthy entrepreneur who made his fortune in the California orange business, began remodeling the Lodge - adding 4 bedrooms upstairs and an ambitious project of building ponds, canals, hiking trails, rock walls, and gardens. The gazebo down by the river had a water wheel that turned a flower carousel to the amazement of family and friends. A full-time summer gardener was needed to tend to the flower and berry beds and chase away the deer. During WW II, husbands met their families at the cabins on leave from action in the Pacific. One can only imagine how precious each moment was while they played with their kids, fished in the ponds, and fought back the tears when it came time to leave.
When Frank Chase passed away, his daughters inherited the Lodge and ultimately a buyer from Florida named N. R Fields, nicknamed "Tubby" became the new owner. Tubby, a little wider than tall, gave lavish parties for his friends and provided cowboys' and Indians' costumes for the festivities. Tubby's servants from Florida would arrive early in the summer to open the Lodge. Fields motored down the road to town in a white Cadillac, leaving in a cloud of dust and cigar smoke, and always a friendly wave to the few neighbors along the way. After Field's death in 1971, the Lodge lay in a state of abandonment for 10 years until the Warren family bought the property for their home and raised their kids at the Lodge until 1985 when the family moved back to Dallas and put the property up for sale. The year 1986 meant hard times for Colorado's economy. The collapse of the oil market, over-building of homes and office buildings along the front range at a time of sky-high interest rates, and high unemployment spelled disaster for the real estate market. But this also spelled opportunity for Gary and Sue Mansfield. Gary, a real estate trade broker, traded their home in Denver near the Denver Tech Center for their new lifestyle and home. With the help of loyal friends to paint and build a new bath on the main floor of the Lodge, Gary and Sue opened the Lodge as RiverSong Bed and Breakfast Inn on Memorial Day 1986 with their bank account balance at just $500. But being the hard working optimists that they are, success came just in time to meet expenses month after month.
This year, Romantic RiverSong is celebrating 30 years of sharing romance, peace, and nature with others. And the magic of this wonderful place continues to build new memories for guests just as before. As you look for accommodations in Estes Park, be sure to remember the Romantic RiverSong.