The small community of Insmont Colorado is located approximately 2.5 miles southeast of Bailey and 45 minutes from Denver. Nestled along the banks of the North Fork of the South Platte River, the residents of this small community live in the rich history of the communities past. These photos Denver Public Library Archives were taken from the north bank of the river along the original path of the Denver South Park and Pacific Narrow guage railway.
In 1898 Denver cycling pioneer and member of the Colorado Legislature Thirteenth General assembly, Harry E. Insley, purchased a tract of land located about half way between Bailey and Estabrook Colorado to promote cycling and the great outdoors . This new mountain retreat was appropriately named Cycle Park. Insley, now President of the Denver Wheel Club, began development of his dream resort and in a few years other destination resorts including the likes of GlenIsles, Bailey Lodge and the town of Shawnee followed. By 1900, Insley had relocated to Cycle Park to continue development of the area and a few years later Cycle Park was formally renamed to the town of Insmont. Insmont, Like the other resort areas, were serviced by the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad to bring guest from surrounding areas and Denver. In the first few years Insley built a large club house called the Insmont Hotel and numerous cottages for club members and guests to enjoy during their stay.
A few years later (around 1901) Insley then added a general store, a railroad stop and an Ice house to the resort. One of the final improvements at Insmont occurred on April 5, 1902 when J.L Brislow, Postmaster General of the US Postal Service, approved application for the operation of a post office at Insmont (1902-1915). By late 1902 Insmont had the foundation and making of a small mountain resort and the amenities necessary to accommodate elite members of the Denver Wheel Club, guests, vacationers, and even permanent residents. Insleys resort flourished until approximately 1909 and soon after business began to decline. Insley's vision was comming to an end and on October 31, 1910 Insley sold his entire dream resort including the hotel, general store and post office, ice house, cottages, railroad stop and out-buildings to an east coast investor named Martha L. Pauly for the sum of $7,000; Over the next few years Martha Pauly continued to divide and sell off the lots and structures located on the property.
On November 27, 1910, only 27 days after she purchases the property from Harry Insley, Martha L. Pauly sells the general store, post office (out lot 2) and Ice house (out lot 3) to Ruth E. Connell for the sum of $1,700. Ruth Connell and her husband J.W.F. Connell, run the country store for the next several years and purchase an adjacent cottage, once owned by Harry Insley. The Connells become one of Insmonts first full-time residents and soon relocate their two boys and two girls for the summers to Insmont. On April 6, 1915, J.W.F. Connell resubmits an application to the US Postal Service to continue postal service in Insmont from the general store location. The application is approved on April 9, 1915 and Connell is appointed the postmaster for the Insmont Post Office. In a strange sequence of events, J.W.F. Connell is charged by Federal Officers for misapplying postal funds of the Insmont Post Office. However the charges are eventually dropped in 1916 when Connell and an accomplice, R.G. Lukens, are charged with murder and bank robbery in Sydney Nebraska. Ruth Connell remained in Insmont running the general store until 1929 and remains a full time resident of Insmont for the next several years.
After 18 years running the country store and post office; Ruth Connel sold her modest General Store and Post Office to a local Denver painter in 1929. The General Store was a small modest structure located on the shores of the North Platte River. Directly to the west of the store was Rainbow Lake which many say had some of the best fishing in the area; this fact is still true today. From the front of the store several bridges criss-crossed the lake and sections of the river connecting small islands together and the largest bridge ended at the railroad waiting station on the north shore of the river.
From 1929 to the mid 1940s, the general store underwent significant changes including the addition of indoor plumbing, a custom bathroom, kitchen, bunkroom, a second bedroom, elevated entryway and a castle spire facing the river. Amenities inside the home included hand carved and painted beams, stone fireplace and hand carved mantle, a custom hand carved front door and well suited paintings and carvings are incorporated throughout the home.
Today the The Retreat at Insmont provides a great opportunity for our family to unwind from the city and enjoy the surrounding Bailey and Insmont area!
Doug and Pam Landin (2007-2017)