History of the Wheat Ridge, Colorado Property
Prospect Valley Hospitality, Inc. (PVH)
An integral part of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, the 1872 property has had a unique and colorful history that included a tavern in the cottage and a stagecoach stop in the main house. The Wheat Ridge Historical society had an old photo in the archives that neither confirmed nor disproved either claim.
The property was purchased by founder Kimary Marchese in 2001 from the previous owner, Susan Craig Bongers. It had been run for decades by her parents Jack and Elsie Craig as Prospect Valley Grocery, a kind of general store which all the locals called “Jack & Elsie’s Place”. Wheat Ridge natives fondly tell stories of running across the street from the now long-gone Prospect Valley Elementary School building and delightfully choosing from 100 kinds of penny candy. An old newspaper clipping makes it obvious that the Craigs were pillars in the community, and anyone now left who knew them, has fond memories of Jack and Elsie.
Originally, they thought being a tavern was farfetched because this was a “dry” county for many years. However, a 2002 conversation with Helen Beliel, age 86 at the time, revealed that her parents bought the property just 3 days before her wedding in 1936. At that time, the cottage on the west end was “Sis’s Tavern”. It was heated by a coal stove and had no plumbing. They were using the double-seated outhouse that is still out back. The stagecoach part of the history is yet to be confirmed. But the suspicion is that it was indeed the last stop on the Lookout Mountain stagecoach line as reported by local lore.
There are several out-buildings, including two structures that were most likely originally chicken coops. Susan Craig Bongers indicated that by time her parents and she arrived, one was used like a tool shed and the other for coal storage. One is now used for gardening tools and the other has been converted to a garden prayer chapel. Don’t forget the original double seated out house! The out buildings were originally down by the river behind the property, called Lena Gulch, since the farming days. They were later moved by the City when it took part of the property for the Lena Gulch Reclamation project.
Apparently, Elsie did a little hair dressing out of the store. In addition to being the local shop-keep, Jack was a Lutheran Sunday School Teacher. The site did a brief stint as a combination store and gas station, but the tanks were pulled up and removed by Texaco ages ago.
Susan was a young child when her parents moved here and she had married, moved to Loveland and had children of her own before her parents passed away and she inherited “Jack & Elsie’s Place”. She rented out the storefront to a series of miscellaneous businesses that have included: a vegetable stand, a yarn shop, a baseball trading card shop and lastly an Antique Store.
The former storefront is connected to the main house living room. For the first 10 years PVH used it as a dining room / meeting room. Once the storefront-turned-dining-room was even used for a week long seminar training volunteers who flew in from other states to learn to dig and maintain water wells in 3rd-world countries. This former storefront, extension to the main house has had no commercial use since the property purchase in 2001.
The Storefront is the flagship feature of the property and a people-magnet. It is so charming, that hardly a day passes when someone does not come by to commend the restoration and inquire about a tour.
Learn more about the missionary accommodations available
Learn more about the purpose of the property.