Duck Lake – History

Duck Lake – History

With the close proximity of this mountain escape to the lowlands of the front range, the area has had a rich history of visitors.  Some excerpts as narrated by the owner follow below.

night sky

Some History of Duck Lake 
(As Told by Seller)

Human history starts with those hunter-gathers spending their summers enjoying the cool Alpine weather and swimming and fishing in the lake.  They left a projectile point under the ski lift-line, some unfinished tools around the cabins and numerous arrowheads on the ridges.  The Denver Museum of History placed them here around 5,000 years ago.

Next were the Utes, they too came up in summer to rid themselves and their Ponies of the fleas and ticks that troubled them on the High Plains.  Some of the arrowheads may have been theirs, however they were closer to town and probably traded for their pots and pans.  Certainly they enjoyed leisure time, hunting swimming and fishing in Duck Lake.

History of the three original buildings in not recorded, however, scholars speculate they were built for European Academics exploring the rich and unknown flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains in the mid 18th Century.  The cabins were also used by mountain men who were trapping beaver to supply fashion industry with hides for top hats.

About that name; Duck Lake was christened by Albert Bierstadt, a famous landscape artist from New York.  Bierstadt and his colleague, Fitz Hugh Ludlow (The Hasheesh Eater), came West to explore in 1863.  Bierstadt for inspiration, Ludlow for material for a new book.

Perched together on the ridge west of the lake, Bierstadt said:  Ja, Fitz, das looks like a fat duck down there.  See the long neck and head to the south.  Fifty-seven years later some Water Buffalos constructed a dam on Duck Creek and severed the neck.  They tried to rename the lake but Albert’s Duck Lake persevered.

Bierstadt wasn’t so lucky with the other landmarks he named here.  Mt. Rosalie and Mt. Bierstadt were meant to be forever connected by The Sawtooth.  In 1895, the State Legislature changed Rosalie to Mt. Evans.  A mere 13er to the SE was called Rosalie.  Bierstadt and his beloved were severed like the neck of the duck.

Curiously, Rosalie was married to Fitz Hugh Ludlow, divorced him at some point and married Bierstadt in 1867.

Moving Forward

1876 Colorado becomes a State, Forest Reserve lands transferred to State Board of Land Commissioners.

Utes, academics and trappers still enjoying Duck Lake.

1903 John H. Porter is granted land patent south shore of Duck Lake.

1908 Teddy Roosevelt designated Pike National Forest.

1920 Louise Coors Porter (Adolph’s firstborn) and Johnny Porter (only child) inherit property.

1921-1922 Louise Porter commissions Justus Roehling (Mt. Evans Crest House) to build Timberline Lodge.

1929 Swimming pool building added.

1944 Property sold

1946 and sold again

1945-1947 Continental Chateau Bar & Grill: Archie, Gertie and Duanna MacPherson

1951 sold to Wm C & Annette E Holmes