Nestled in the pines at an elevation of 7,755 feet, the historic Bears Inn is located 3 miles south of Evergreen and 30 miles from Denver in the small community of Marshdale Park.
The town of Evergreen was given its name because of the area’s forests in 1875. Ute, Arapahoe, and Sioux Indians inhabited this area and many of the existing roads are old Indian trails. The earliest white settlers were fur trappers and traders, and French-Canadian lumbermen followed.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s Evergreen was one of the most popular resort areas in the Rockies. Located in beautiful Bear Creek canyon surrounding Evergreen Lake (completed in 1928), it is truly an artist’s masterpiece. Originally there were five resorts in the Evergreen community. However, the Bears Inn, formerly part of the Marshdale Lodge Resort, holds the distinction as Evergreen’s oldest resort with continuous guest operations.
Marshdale Park came into existence in 1923 after Dr. Wilbur Marsh, a prosperous Denver dentist, purchased 165 acres from a patient, Richard Hobbs. Mary Marsh, Dr. Marsh’s wife, immediately built a tea room where travelers could stop by for a cool drink, sandwich, or a full meal. The Marshdale Lodge continued to expand into a large dining room and twelve upstairs sleeping rooms evolved. Dr. Marsh employed a local carpenter who built a couple of cabins each winter. Dr. Marsh went on to sell the cabins the following summer, while retaining twelve of them as part of the Resort.
The Marshdale Annex (now the Bears Inn) was built in 1928 to add more overnight accommodations to the original Lodge. The Marshes continued operation of the resort until 1948 when Dave & Florene Eads of Topeka, Kansas purchased the property and operated it as a ranch resort with horses located in the adjoining meadows. Recreational activities included horseback riding, chuckwagon barbeques, hayrides, steak fries, badminton and horseshoes. Guests also enjoyed square dancing and playing cards in the Lodge.
In 1968 the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra made the resort their summer home. Young musicians from around the world rehearsed and performed numerous outdoor concerts at the resort. The CPO remained at the resort until they moved to Breckenridge and became the National Repertoire Orchestra in 1990.
A series of three owners occupied the property between 1990 and 2002 when current owner, Vicki Bock, purchased the Inn. Until then the two buildings had operated as one property and only during the summer months.