The mission of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society is to preserve, protect and promote the history of the Grand Lake area.
The Grand Lake Area Historical Society (GLAHS) was formed in 1973 specifically to preserve, restore and interpret the Kauffman House, an 1892 Victorian rustic hotel. The charm of the small village of Grand Lake and the surrounding area, the very soul of the community, is its unique rustic architecture and its lovely Lake and beautiful setting. Since its founding, and the opening of the Kauffman House Museum in 1974, the GLAHS has grown to presently have 280 active local and nation-wide memberships and over 100 volunteers. It continues to be a totally volunteer organization, with no paid staff. GLAHS operates with a president and an all volunteer board of directors. The Board meets monthly, and is a true working board, with members chairing some committees. Funding for our many projects and operating costs is obtained from admissions to the museum, membership dues, annual and special fund raising events, grants, volunteer efforts and in-kind contributions, and especially the generous donations of many friends of history.
Over the years, GLAHS has been working to encourage preservation efforts in the community, to increase awareness and develop appropriate policies. Even as we maintain and operate the Kauffman House, we have taken on another huge and very important project, the preservation, restoration and interpretation of the Smith Eslick Cottage Court, thought to be the oldest original-condition "motor court" in the country. We will develop this site as an interactive museum focusing on the impact of automobile tourism in the West, and the evolution of our area and nation along with it. We research family, event and business histories, and inform visitors and local citizens. Of particular importance has been the publication of a walking tour book keyed to signs throughout Town, and more recently an inexpensive walking tour pamphlet describing the histories of structures on our town's main street. With on-going research and an ever-expanding collection of authentic historic artifacts, we develop new temporary exhibits for the Kauffman House Museum each year. Volunteer docents offer tours at the Kauffman House, which is open daily to the public from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and weekends thereafter in September. The Museum is also open for at least six additional events, some of which are free, during the off-season. GLAHS offers public presentations, participates in and/or collaborates to develop community events, and continues to work to increase our ability and capacity to use technology as we inform and educate. The Historical Society is instrumental in the development of a suitable Grand Lake demolition policy, and the design and implementation of history-based wayfinding signage in town.
The sign on Highway 34 as you come into town reads "Welcome to Historic Grand Lake". The town's main economy is tourism and especially Heritage Tourism, and the Grand Lake Area Historical Society works very hard to ensure that the fascinating history of the area is made accessible to everyone, and continues to be meaningful.