OURAY — If you’ve ever driven over Red Mountain Pass in between Ouray and Silverton, chances are you’ve seen the old stone garage near Crystal Lake in Ironton Park.
Most people who pass by it don’t even know the interesting story behind it.
"That’s right. Most people drive up and it looks like a little garage on the side of the highway,” explained Donald Paulson, curator of the Ouray County Museum.
The structure itself has quite the story.
"It was quite a thing. But it never really got going, however,” Paulson added.
According to Paulson, back in the 1930s, two mining investors decided to build a four story ski resort at the site.
"It was supposed to open in 1939. The Governor came down for the opening and it never opened,” Paulson explained.
Apparently the investors had a fight about whether the ski runs had been built in an avalanche lane. They also argued over whether the resort would serve liquor.
"And they fought over it and fought over it and it never opened,” Paulson said.
Years later, a religious organization known as, the ‘Saint Germain Foundation’ purchased the structure.
"Their belief is that god created humanity in the Ironton Valley south of Ouray. So when this property came up for sale they pounced on it and eventually bought 800 acres,” Paulson explained.
The group remodeled the lodge and planned to create a summer camp for 500 people. On a regular basis, the lodge would even broadcast organ music into the valley. That is, until the lodge caught fire.
“In the winter of 1952, the caretaker was thawing some snow on the roof with a blow torch,” Paulson said. “[The] building caught on fire and it quickly burned to the ground”.
A few years later, Paulson said the group sold the property to some local Ouray mining investors and they held it for 60 years before it was eventually turned over to the forest service.
You can learn more about the Ouray County Museum by clicking here.