The Craftwood Inn - History

Built in 1912, the Craftwood Inn stands today as a symbol of a different type of pioneer. While most think early Colorado was filled with cowboys, cavalry, Indians, trappers, traders and miners, there was another pioneer spirit whose ghost still walks the streets of Manitou Springs. It was the artist and the craftsman who also came to Colorado seeking freedom in creativity in a natural setting.

Roland Bautwell built The Craftwood Inn, Onaledge Bed & Breakfast and The Rockledge, all fine examples of English Country Tudor. Colorado Springs, in Bautwellís time was known as little London. Bautwell was an Englishman, an architect, a builder, a photographer and a coppersmith. He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement that moved from Europe to the Americas at the Turn of the Century. The movement was manís humanistic and artistic response to the industrial revolution. Taking the technology of the day and utilizing it for artistic expression within a natural environment was the central theme of the Arts and Crafts movement. For many, Colorado was the ideal setting for such endeavors.

The building was originally Bautwell's coppersmith's shop and Onaledge was his guest home. The fireplace hood and some of the lamps are examples of his work, thus the C.S. on the hood signifies the Craftwood Shops. The Arts and Crafts movement had its roots in Gothic and Japanese art and Bautwell was a true renaissance man drawing from his eclectic past to create new art forms. He was a world traveler and he decorated The Craftwood with stained glass maidens from Italy and a Japanese shrine on the front column.

In 1940, The Craftwood became a restaurant. In its heyday, the cuisine was exquisite, attracting dignitaries and celebrities in search of fine food and ambience. Cary Grant and Bing Crosby lunched by the window seat and Lawrence Welk and Liberace were also frequent guests. An owner of the Hope Diamond leased the entire estate one summer as did Harry Trumanís daughter on another occasion.

During extensive renovations of The Craftwood in the summer of 1988, a secret room was discovered in the attic. Behind a door that looked more like a wall were artifacts from the past that revealed a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Engravings, old photographic plates, metal works and a mirror reflected a time in Colorado few know about.