By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, USDR.
Recently my wife, Gigi and I had the opportunity to stay at the wonderful and historic home of Sallie and Welling Clark, called the 1902 Holden House. It is very close to the historic district of the city and minutes from Pikes Peak and the amazing Garden of the Gods.
It was one of the highlights of our visit and I wanted to share my experience with readers. I sat down with the owner and learned more about this wonderful place.
The history of the 1902 Holden House.
Holden House was built in 1902 by early Colorado Springs area pioneer Isabel Holden, the widow of Daniel Holden in order for her six children to receive a good education. In 1906, the home was purchased by two sisters, Agnes Clark and Gladys Clark-Nichols and the carriage house was converted to a residence. The home rests in a quiet residential area near historic Old Colorado City and quaint Manitou Springs and has received historic preservation awards for the “Westside” area restoration efforts. In addition to the main turreted Victorian house and carriage house, the home next door is also a part of the inn and was built in 1898. Originally, the home sat at 302 West Washington Street and after annexation into the City of Colorado Springs in the early 1900’s the street names were changed to coincide with the city’s street layout and became 1102 West Pikes Peak Avenue.
The unique connection between the owners and the home.
Sallie’s father and family lived in Pueblo, Colorado, just 40 miles south of Colorado Springs and her grandmother, Iris Blackman, an immigrant with her family from Wales, operated a chicken farm and worked at the steel mill. After many years of trips to Colorado for summer vacations, Sallie and Welling spent their honeymoon in Colorado and loved the beauty of the Pikes Peak region. Iris had a long-time collection of antiques and family heirlooms and began to unload her furnishings and precious mementos by giving them to Sallie to use in the B&B. Some of Sallie’s favorite pieces include photos from both the Clark’s families up the stairwell as part of the couple’s family tree, fine china and silver pieces belonging to her great-grandmother or given to them by family members. Several of the suites include hand stitched quilts displayed on the walls and the beautiful Estate Oak stove in the formal dining room is not to be missed.
The meals were outstanding. Talk about the development of the menu and the influences on the food choices you make.
The Clarks have always prided themselves on gourmet breakfasts and individual dishes that vary from day to day. Guests will receive each morning, a full hot breakfast with a fresh fruit sundae starter, freshly baked muffins (ranging from chocolate chip banana, almond poppyseed, blueberry corn or other recipes), then a main dish is presented which can include such recipes as Southwestern Eggs Fiesta, German Puff Pancakes with Spiced Apples, Zucchini Bread Pancakes, Italian Egg Frittata, or other delicious concoctions. Fresh orange juice and freshly ground coffee is also part of the breakfast faire. In the evenings, the Clarks and their delightful assistant innkeepers prepare an afternoon wine social with appetizers to enjoy in addition to non-alcoholic beverages that might include Lavender Lemonade or Mango Iced Tea and of course, Chardonnay or Cabernet wine.
Give us an overview of the wonderful themed rooms and how you were able to make them so authentic to the early 20th century when the home was built.
Most of the suites are named for Colorado mining towns in which the Holden’s owned mining interests. The Aspen, Cripple Creek, Silverton, Goldfield and Independence. The exception is the Pikes Peak Suite which enjoys a beautiful private porch and boasts a view of the Peak. Each suite provides a private bath and sitting area, perfect for romantics and business travelers alike. The three side-by-side Victorian buildings offer privacy and old-fashioned porches. The main house verandah overlooks the front garden and includes rocking chairs and porch swings. The Rose Victorian includes a porch swing and the Carriage House has a porch with a table and chairs and easy access to the back “Secret” garden with fountains, flowers and a gazebo.
Tell me about how the B and B business has changed over the years and how that has affected the Holden House? How has it remained so successful?
The Clarks began with three standard rooms in the main Holden House building and all private baths. Throughout the years, they have remodeled and changed accommodations several times to finish with the six suites the inn is known for today. There are four suites with oversized tubs, fireplaces and queen beds. Another suite includes a fireplace, tub for two and king bed as well as being disability accessible. The top floor suite in the Rose Victorian includes a large living room, kitchenette and king bed with a private porch off of the bedroom. Each of the suites are decorated differently and what the Clarks discovered over the years is that expanding the size of the rooms and adding amenities has been an important aspect to “keep up with the times” and discriminating tastes of travelers.
Tell me what you see as the future of the Holden House?
The future holds continuing to provide excellent service and hospitality and excellent accommodations. Last year, the main inn received new oriental carpets and a beautiful entry custom hardwood design floor that sets the stage of the octagonal-shaped front parlor as you enter. The restoration and renovation is a continual effort to maintain the inn to the quality that our guests expect. There are always plans and projects in the works for updates and refresh. What you will always find is a consistent hospitality with a friendly smile, an attentive greeting, clean accommodations and fresh cuisine. That’s why guests return time and time again to stay at Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn. It’s no wonder why the Holden House continues to win awards and receive high praise reviews on websites and in the personal guest book.
Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn
1102 West Pikes Peak Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
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Sallie and Welling Clark, Innkeepers