The Brook Forest Inn is located in a charming mountain town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains called Evergreen, Colorado. Located five miles down Brook Forest Road, it’s a bit of a ride to get there, but it’s worth it because of the lovely homes, trees, ponds, and wildlife easily seen along the way. A wonderful place to spend an evening or a weekend, you can meet many other travelers or residents of the area, often willing to share their stories at the bar. But, you can also meet another kind of resident of the Brook Forest Inn, the dead kind.
The Brook Forest Inn dates back to the original cabin on the site, built in 1909. After it was abandoned following a typically difficult winter storm, a couple named Edwin and Riggi Welz settled there and opened the Brook Forest Inn in 1919. It was unusual for its time because it had running water and electricity, and, by 1935, it became a popular for trips throughout the area, especially with its own stables offering rides on horseback and by carriage.
Today, the Brook Forest Inn is a large brown building with small rooms and halls on the first floor, as well as larger dining rooms, the bar, and other gathering areas. Guest rooms are located on different levels with steps throughout the building. There are small twisty staircases leading to the different floors, with rooms that retain the old character of the early and mid-1900s. Huge old beams are present. Many rooms face the lush pine forest to the south. The rushing creek can be heard year round. Bears leave claw marks on the buildings as they search for food. There’s a large old-fashioned bar on the main floor where locals meet and share tales with visitors from all over the world. The livery stable is no longer used, but its name is still quite visible on the building.
But, no matter how friendly the inn is during the day or in the evening, when the quiet sets in at night, there’s definitely a feeling that something or someone is present… and watching. Is it the creaking of the nearly 100 year old building, or are the lost souls trying to get our attention? Because of the many corners, and steps, and twists and turns, you wonder if some wandering soul will suddenly make his or her presence known.
At least five souls are thought to wander the halls. A little boy, thought to be the son of the founders of the inn, died from influenza. A little girl who was run over by a carriage near the inn runs the halls with the little boy. And two dead men named Carl “live” at the inn.
The giggling of small children can be somewhat upsetting, especially when there are no children around…at least, no living children. Guests have also heard running in the halls and knocking on guest room doors in the middle of the night and are told by staff that it happens often. But no one is ever seen, when the guests or staff check the halls.
In 1943, a young stable worker named Carl murdered his girlfriend Jessica who worked at the hotel as a maid, after finding her cheating on him in the inn. In a jealous fit, he killed her in cold blood. He then went to the stables where he committed suicide by hanging. Carl has been seen wandering throughout the inn many times.
In 2013, two young local paranormal investigators investigated the area in the very early hours of one cold morning. They asked for Carl to speak to them, to admit his guilt for the murder. A few minutes later, a man’s voice was clearly recorded, and he said, “Yeah, it’s me.” They also recorded other sounds, voices, screams, and moans.
People in the area have seen a woman on the balcony of an upper room when the inn was empty. Is that Jessica? Some people have smelled rotting bodies. And, things around the inn have moved by themselves.
There’s another Carl who may be wandering the Brook Forest Inn, too. Once a bartender there, he died in 1977, but he’s been seen there since his death. Guests who experienced someone blocking their way as they walked upstairs later saw a photo in the inn of Carl at the bar. They identified him as the man they saw on the creaking stairs.
But many find another part of the history of the inn and the surrounding area also upsetting. It’s believed that the Brook Forest neighborhood, with homes hidden by trees and long driveways, once was inhabited by Nazis before the beginning of WWII. While getting ready for what they hoped would be Hitler’s invasion of the United States, a strange group of Germans pretending to be tourists stayed at the Inn as they made plans for Hitler and even lived in homes in the area. But they were spies, studying and mapping the United States for Hitler.
Swastikas can be seen at the inn, including one under the large carpet in the main dining room. Iron crosses and swastikas supposedly are visible on tiles and on door knobs. Supposedly, there’s a chest of Hitler’s gold buried among the secret rooms and tunnels under the inn.
And, finally, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s believed that the inn was built upon an ancient Ute burial ground.
Many wandering souls are lost at the Brook Forest Inn. But, at least it’s a beautiful forest wonderland to be lost in. Watch out for bears . . . and ghosts.