Lula W. Dorsey Museum
Summer hours: Friday-Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm
Admission is free.
Through your generosity, the Lula W. Dorsey Museum supports the Mission of the YMCA of the Rockies through preservation and documentation of our history by:
- Collecting, preserving and interpreting cultural artifacts related to the YMCA’s history in a museum venue
- Offering interpretive programs to guests and members
- Identifying and participating in the preservation of historically significant buildings and sites
- Actively researching and publishing materials related to our history
Download our self-guided walking tour of Estes Park Center. This tour is suitable for all ages and will take approximately three hours.
The Wind River Lodge was moved from its original location above the present YMCA stable to the corner of Kallenberg and Rainbow Drives in 1910. The Lodge underwent a major renovation in 1924 with the addition of two sections. The Lodge served as conference, guest, and staff housing for 68 years.
When Lula W. Dorsey learned of plans to demolish the Wind River Lodge to make room for the Walter G Ruesch Auditorium, she offered to save a portion of the Lodge for a museum.
In October 1977, the west end, built in 1924, was moved to the open field near the Henry Dorsey Jr. Memorial Swimming Pool to house the museum. The center section of the same vintage was moved to Mesa Drive for staff housing. The original 1902 section was demolished.
In February 1979, Walter Ruesch contacted Lula Dorsey’s niece, Lulabeth Melton, asking if she and husband, Jack, would volunteer to help open the museum. He reasoned that the couple’s involvement in historic preservation in Dallas was potentially a valuable asset to the YMCA of the Rockies. He also knew they were responsible for Lula Dorsey stepping forward to save the building.
In early June 1979, the Meltons arrived in Estes Park. Assisted by four college staffers, the crew worked six days a week, ten or more hours per day for six weeks. The Lula W. Dorsey Museum was opened on July 29, 1979.
Today, the Dorsey Museum includes a 5,000 square foot main building, two historic cabins and a shed housing a circa 1900 Studebaker freight wagon. The museum includes historic room settings, galleries, an archaeology display and much more.
It also serves as the corporate archives for the YMCA of the Rockies that includes almost fifty feet of archives and thousands of photographs. Our archives and photographs collections are available for research and publication.