Hand Planed Flooring – Pine Valley Ranch Park Lodge
In 1920, a wealthy Chicago businessman brought almost 200 German artisans to the mountains of Colorado. In a beautiful valley, 40 miles southwest of Denver, those men built in one summer, a magnificent mountain lodge. The lodge was made of granite and the trunks of hundred-year-old spruce trees still growing in the valley.
Several things about the lodge are unusual. The original tile is still in place, after almost one hundred years. It was the first commercial product made by the Johns Mansville Corporation. It is said that the wood for flooring in the many rooms in the lodge was imported from the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, and was teak. The teak trees were brought to location in the mountains by the Colorado & Southern Narrow Gauge Railway whose right of way came through the valley at that time. The teak logs were unloaded and processed by hand, including hand-planing and hand-sanding, for the flooring in all the rooms of the lodge.
Pine Valley Ranch became a park open to all to see and enjoy many years ago. The lodge is still there but sits closed and protected while the country tries to find a way to utilize the beauty still there, watching majestically over the valley below.
The flooring in the main room, accessed after entry via the front stone floored veranda, is open for all to see. An amazing testament to the craftsmanship of those workers and the ability of well worked wood to stand the test of time. Only beautiful rugs from native peoples of the world occasionally covered that floor. The beauty of that room, with a 40 foot floor to ceiling expanse, is such that many visitors never noticed the miracle of hand-planed and hand sanded flooring they were standing on.
I have heard the lodge at Pine Valley Ranch Park is under renovation but I am not sure if this is true. I hope if so all the natural work in the lodge is to be retained. Pine Valley is just west of Pine, Colorado on country road 6 and about six miles from the junction of state highway 285 that runs from Denver to South Park.