Hotel de Paris Museum

Hotel de Paris Museum collects, preserves and shares history associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris, and serves as a catalyst for heritage tourism in Georgetown, Colorado. Hotel de Paris Museum, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is owned and operated by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado.

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Organizational Overview

Hotel de Paris Museum
409 6th Street
Georgetown, CO 80444
Hotel de Paris Museum collects, preserves and shares history associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris, and serves as a catalyst for heritage tourism in Georgetown, Colorado.

The site's period of significance is 1875-1900; however, the museum also interprets the contributions of later owners, including Sophie Gally (1900-1901), Angeline Pouget Lefebvre and Rosa Pouget (1901-1903), the Burkholder family (1903-1954) and The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado (1954-present).

The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado (NSCDA in CO) was founded in 1896 and is devoted to patriotic service through education and participation in various historical activities. The NSCDA in CO is committed to providing thoroughly researched and historically accurate information to the public. A primary membership focus is to maintain, preserve, and operate for the benefit of the public the Hotel de Paris Museum in Georgetown, Colorado.

Hotel de Paris Museum educates school groups and the general public about the site's importance to the economic and social life of the Georgetown mining community, the history of the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District, as well as the State of Colorado and the United States. New educational initiatives are focusing on the achievements of the French and Chinese immigrants who created and ran the hotel, as well as the women who have preserved it.

The object of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) is to collect and preserve manuscripts, traditions, relics of historical interest and value, and mementos of bygone days; to preserve and restore buildings connected with the early history of our country; to diffuse helpful and intelligent information concerning the past; to create a popular interest in colonial history; to stimulate a spirit of true patriotism and a genuine love of country; and to impress upon the young the sacred obligation of honoring the memory of those heroic ancestors whose ability, valor, sufferings, and achievements are beyond all praise.

A primary purpose of the organization is the dissemination of American history. A fundamental objective is the identification, preservation, and maintenance of properties of diverse but significant history throughout the nation, and the education of the public as to their importance.

The NSCDA, headquartered at Dumbarton House on Q Street in Washington, DC, was founded in 1891 as a patriotic and genealogical organization. The breadth of preservation work includes restoring buildings, researching and collecting artifacts and manuscripts, and conducting archaeological digs. The NSCDA owns more than 80 significant museum houses, buildings, and rooms that have been managed carefully to authentically represent the individual historic period. During the Spanish-American War and World War I, the NSCDA outfitted parts of hospital ships and during World War II "adopted" the USO center in Ketchikan, Alaska by raising money to maintain it for four and a half years (the center was used by some 5 million people). In addition, the NSCDA is assisting the Women's Memorial Foundation by recording the services of women veterans for their archives in the Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

The vision of The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Colorado, the owners of the Museum since 1954, is one of teaching American and International audiences about this classic American emigre entrepreneurial success story. As such the Hotel de Paris Museum is committed to:

- Upholding the Public Trust,
- Serving the widest possible audience,
- Maintaining its collections in accordance with professional standards of care and,
- Presenting interpretations founded on scholarship that also remains respectful of pluralistic values.

The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado are women descended in their own right from an ancestor who was residing in one of the thirteen original colonies prior to 1750 and contributed in a worthy way to the community or Colonies in that period before the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

In 2016, new "open storage" debuted at Hotel de Paris Museum. Visitors are now able to access more of the museum's artifact collection than ever before. In an on-going effort to break down barriers, hundreds of objects (including oil paintings, china, glassware, tools, and ephemera) are now on public display instead of being stored in the dark. The practice of open storage (which originated in 1976 at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology) puts back on exhibit artifacts not normally on view, and provides a more truthful and insightful representation of the site. The result of this change has been the democratization of Hotel de Paris Museum and increased collections access. Mountain Music, Arts, and Culture Monthly featured the museum's new open storage exhibits in its May 2016 issue.

In July, the museum held its annual Bastille Day Celebration. Perhaps the largest in the museum's 62 year history, over 150 visitors came to the site to enjoy live music and participate in a silent auction fund raiser to benefit the museum's mission to collect, preserve, and share historic associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris museum, and serve as a catalyst for heritage tourism in Georgetown, Colorado.

Hotel de Paris Museum once again offered $1 tour admissions in honor of Colorado Day (President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado as a state on August 1, 1876). The discounted rate (promoted by the museum as Victorian pricing) attracts people looking to increase their understanding of the state.

In September, two articles written by Kevin Kuharic will appear on the new online resource Colorado Encyclopedia, a project of Colorado Humanities and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The encyclopedia entries will discuss Hotel de Paris and proprietor Louis Dupuy and bring knowledge and understanding of these subjects to a world-wide audience.

Also in September, Hotel de Paris Museum will partner with Smithsonian magazine for its annual Museum Day Live! The event offers free admission to prospective visitors in an attempt to increase on-site visitation and broaden support of Hotel de Paris Museum's mission. Last March, Hotel de Paris Museum participated in a special edition of Museum Day Live! as part of a nationwide campaign to reach women and girls in underserved communities. Held during Women's History Month, the event encouraged all people, and particularly women and girls of color, to explore their nation's museums, cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, parks and libraries.

On October 13, 2016, the Rocky Mountain PBS series Colorado Experience will premiere the new episode Hotel de Paris. Colorado Experience inspires a love of history in all Coloradans by airing a weekly television show with comprehensive outreach and education initiatives. Executive Director Kevin Kuharic, Chairman Mary Riddle Clark, and board member Connie Primus were among the people interviewed for the ½ hour show. Hotel de Paris Museum's first curator Mary Lou Rutherford and former state historian William Convery will also appear. The history of the site and the unwavering stewardship of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado will be discussed.

In early 2017, a case study about Hotel de Paris Museum written by Cheryl Hargrove of HTC Partners will appear in a book funded by the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) and published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Hargrove's "how to" manual will focus on cultural and heritage tourism.

Background Statement

Hotel de Paris Museum, a landmark building and direct link to Georgetown's days as an epicenter of Colorado's silver mining boom, is a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hotel de Paris Museum is part of the Trust's diverse portfolio of properties that includes Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, Acoma Sky City in Acoma, New Mexico, and President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C.

Hotel de Paris Museum is owned and operated by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado. By entering into a cooperative agreement with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Colonial Dames benefit from the National Trust's expertise in a range of areas, from preservation to conservation to interpretation. The National Trust collaborates with Hotel de Paris Museum to enhance visitor experiences at the site, including increasing the hours during which the site is open for tours.

The area around Georgetown was Colorado's most important source of silver in the mid-to-late 19th century-at one point attracting so many residents that it became one of the most populous cities in the state. Hotel de Paris Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally constructed in 1875 by French immigrant Adolphe Francois Gerard, who called himself Louis Dupuy. He subsequently enlarged the original structure to its current size in 1889; most improvements to the building were completed by 1893. The building was operated as a hotel, boarding house, restaurant, and showroom for traveling salesmen. In 1954, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado acquired the site, eventually restoring it to its original 1890s appearance and transforming it into its present incarnation as a museum. The excellent condition of the building-and the presence of approximately 90% of the original furnishings--including Dupuy's library and art--make this site unique for educational opportunities.

Impact Statement

Hotel de Paris Museum (in conjunction with Historic Georgetown, Incorporated, the Georgetown Trust for Conservation and Preservation and the Town of Georgetown) has impacted favorably the recognition of the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District. Through the museum's participation in local special events (Historic House Tour, Bighorn Sheep Festival, Georgetown Christmas Market), Hotel de Paris Museum has helped raise awareness of the vital social and economic history of Colorado's Central Range.

"Famous the wide world over, " Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris, an idealized notion of a French inn, began in 1875 and is older than the State of Colorado itself. Dupuy's creation catered to wealthy businessmen, railroad tycoons, mining investors, and outdoor adventure seekers. Hotel de Paris served as a first-class French restaurant, a showroom for traveling salesmen, and as a high-end accommodation during America's Gilded Age. Guests marveled at the hotel's elegant quarters, gas and electric lights, steam heat, hot and cold running water, and cellar stocked with the choicest wine, champagne, cognac, sherry, port, brandy, and whiskey...all nestled in the alpine beauty that surrounded the building and set against a backdrop of wilderness.

A rich and storied past includes visits from notable guests George and Jay Gould and such celebrated international figures as the Countess Magri (the former Mrs. General Tom Thumb). However, after the Silver Panic of 1893, Hotel de Paris began a steady decline. In 1954, it was purchased and reopened as a museum about the hotel. Over the last sixty years, the building has undergone millions of dollars of preservation and renovation efforts. Restored period rooms showcase the site's original furnishings, which are faithfully arranged. Visitors are immersed in a setting of authenticity, which provides a fascinating window into the lives of the hotel's proprietors, workers, builders, and guests.

Hotel de Paris Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and lies within the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District. In 2003, Georgetown was named one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In 2007, Hotel de Paris Museum was added to a prestigious list of National Trust Historic Sites, bringing more attention and visitors to the charmingly preserved town of Georgetown, Colorado. Hotel de Paris Museum is the only National Trust Historic Site in Colorado, and one of only 27 such sites in the United States. Among Hotel de Paris Museum's commitments to the National Trust, is a policy of public accessibility, professional standards, and diversity.

In 2010, Hotel de Paris Museum changed its mission statement to reflect a commitment to the Georgetown community to stimulate local business through heritage tourism.

In 2014, Governor John Hickenlooper declared May 24 "Hotel de Paris Museum Day" in the State of Colorado in recognition of the accomplishments of the site's proprietors and sixty years of historic preservation achievements by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado.

In 2015, museum volunteers Ellen Ray Riddle (deceased) and Constance Merrill Primus were publicly recognized for their scholarly contributions resulting in Hotel de Paris Museum being given the Fred A. Rosenstock Award for Outstanding Contributions to Colorado History. Professor Tom "Dr. Colorado" Noel declared, "For its superb property and crackerjack interpretive program, Hotel de Paris Museum is the first and only Rocky Mountain attraction to be designated a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For preserving, interpreting and opening to the public one of Colorado's most historic hotels and celebrating an often forgotten French tradition in the West, the Denver Posse of Westerners happily honors Hotel de Paris Museum."

Needs Statement

Through an endowment established in 2008, the museum receives interest income toward its operating expenses. However, in order to offer programming and instructive activities, the museum seeks funds from its owner The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado, its museum membership "Les Amis," donations from the general public, and competitive grants in the philanthropic community.

- More support would provide the museum with resources to develop new educational outreach programs to school children and the residents of the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District.

- Due to the growth of the museum's collection of artifacts over the last few years, the need for conservation funds has risen. Many items cannot currently be displayed because of severely deteriorated conditions.

- The museum's marketing materials are outdated and should be made current to reflect new information about the site, as well as branding standards set forth by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

- Efforts to craft more humanities-based tour content will require the input and expertise of humanities experts. Grants for research and consulting are needed in order to update information to more accurately reflect the contributions of Chinese workers, Jewish traveling salesmen, women proprietors, and women historic preservationists.

Executive Director Statement

Over the last several years, house museums have begun to tell more stories of individuals in order to explain objects and rooms found at historic sites. In order to participate in this trend, scholarly research is being used to expand our understanding of the proprietors, workers, guests, and traveling salesmen associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris. This humanities based approach will answer the public's questions about the people who worked and stayed at the hotel.

Authenticity and stewardship have been the keys to Hotel de Paris Museum's sixty-two years of success. Since 1954, the museum has served as a time-capsule of history with over 5,000 artifacts original to the hotel in its growing collection. The museum's permanent exhibits, new visible storage, and stories of people attract between 6,000-7,000 visitors annually to the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District.

The high quality of Hotel de Paris Museum was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which formed a partnership with the museum in 2007. Hotel de Paris Museum is part of an elite group of National Trust historic sites around the United States and is the only property in the Mountains Plains Region, consisting of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Our association with the National Trust continues a long-held tradition of documentation, disaster planning, maintenance, collections management, housekeeping, archaeology, and public programming.

Hotel de Paris Museum has developed a long-range governance plan overseen by a diverse and rotating executive committee. Personnel and volunteers assist in day-to-day operations, as well as fundraising, emergency preparedness, collections management, interpretation, education, marketing, and membership.

Museum staff is continuing to develop a disaster plan that involves similar institutions (such as art museums, history museums, natural history museums, and historical sites) in Clear Creek and adjacent Jefferson counties. In addition, renewed efforts are underway to refine exhibits using primary and secondary source materials (such as photographs, inventories, oral histories, and newspaper accounts).

A collections assessment conducted in 2014 has given staff direction and initiative to further treat the museum's collection of artifacts in the most professional and appropriate manner. Many recommendations made by the report have now been addressed and work completed.

Our efforts have already been rewarded by a collection that is expanding and kept in an environment geared towards its long-term management and preservation. Over the last several years, recovery of a missing statuette, the acquisition of a Hotel de Paris proprietor's clothing and personal effects, the return of a caster set, and numerous pieces of ephemera related to the hotel and other businesses associated with the proprietors have given us reason to be optimistic. We have embraced these new opportunities for stewardship.

Over the last year, effort has also been put into researching Hotel de Paris' "pop culture connections." At the urging of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we have begun linking the site to popular subjects in order to make history more relevant and bring stories forward and closer to present day. In September 2015, I created and now maintain the Facebook page Hotel de Paree Fans; the page informs people about the CBS Television Western series based on real-life proprietor Louis Dupuy and his second-chances story in Georgetown, Colorado. Earlier this year, a research trip to California allowed me to visit Western Town at Paramount Ranch (where the show's exterior scenes were filmed) and the Margaret Herrick Library (where the show's research, production notes, and scripts are archived).

Work is also underway to make people aware of the restaurant chain Denver Louie's (now closed), which was based on the reputation of Louis Dupuy. A culinary history tour is being researched presently; when completed sometime in 2017, the content will bring to light the significant impact Hotel de Paris and its French proprietor had in regard to food and drink in America.

Kevin Kuharic
Executive Director, Hotel de Paris Museum

Board Chair/President Statement

The preservation and restoration of the Hotel de Paris Museum has been a family affair for me. Forty years after my mother, Ellen Riddle, served a chairperson, I took on the role of Chairperson for the Hotel de Paris Museum Committee. I became a Colonial Dame in the 1970s at my mother's insistence and have enjoyed being a member over the years of this group that was formed to preserve and restore our historic heritage throughout America.

I have been able to assist with the administration and renovation of the site, which over the years has grown in recognition and importance. The Hotel de Paris Museum is a significant contributor to the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District (1966) and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (1970), and, most recently became the only National Trust Historic Site in Colorado (2007). Our goal, with these endorsements in hand, is to make the property and its history more and more interesting and accessible to future visitors.

Our museum today captures the Victorian period where the "mysterious Frenchman" Louis Dupuy created an elegant hotel with gourmet dining in the heart of the mining district of the Rocky Mountains. The furnishings are over 90% original to Louis. In addition, the museum staff and volunteers have uncovered new information regarding Sarah Burkholder and her daughter Hazel McAdams who followed as proprietors after Louis Dupuy and kept the hotel and its artifacts safe for us all to enjoy. The upkeep of this museum (or as Louis Dupuy called it, "His souvenir of France") is expensive, as we seek to preserve, restore and keep the site open to the many visitors who find it fascinating. Therefore, we ask you to donate what you can to our ongoing caretaking of this special place.

I am proud to call this mountain town of Georgetown my home. Approximately 1000 residents support the efforts to keep our museums open here for all to enjoy. We would love to welcome you to our town and to the Hotel de Paris Museum!

Mary Riddle Clark
Chairman, Hotel de Paris Museum Committee


This is a great place to visit. The hotel contains many original artifacts. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. He explained the history of the area as well as the history of the hotel.
June 24, 2016

Lovingly preserved Victorian showplace in the Heart of Georgetown. We were treated to a fabulous, fascinating, educational tour…Hotel de Paris is a showplace of a time when Millionaires slept and dined there ...when fortunes in Silver and Gold were what fueled Georgetown and the West. This place is a "slice of time" and furnishings are about 90% original!!!
- 1234meme1234
May 26, 2016

A jump back in time. Loved this frozen-in-time hotel. Highly recommend for anyone with a love of history. Or cellars. If they have time, the tour guide can take the group down into the cellar - fantastic.
February 27, 2016

Family-friendly museum. Georgetown is a gem of a Victorian mountain town and this local museum is one of the places which make the town special. It is well worth spending the time to learn about the hotel and the town.
January 14, 2016
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