Vintage signs are scarce. However, some still stand as sentinels of bygone eras. Such is the case for the Rustic Resort vintage neon sign, located in the Poudre Canyon on highway 287.
A harrowing beginning…
Rustic Resort, founded in 1931, has had several colorful owners who have built and managed the settlement. The first owners were William J. and Alice Richardson. They built a handsome log hotel, cabins, a store, and a remarkable hydraulic “power plant.” Later owners added a restaurant/bar and gas pump. However, the Richardsons were the most interesting; they thought nothing of adopting pet bears (!) and pet porcupines (!!). They had wolf pack encounters, fished the Poudre River’s world-class trout waters, and survived harrowing buggy trips during record-breaking snowstorms. Needless to say, they never could have imagined a large, commercial, neon sign towering over their homestead, (see photo, above)
First neon lights in the canyon
During the 1970s, subsequent owners decided to upgrade the resort. They installed a two-sided neon sign that featured a gigantic neon trout. Truthfully, they really didn’t need a neon sign in such a remote area. The resort’s reputation for “good food and good times” was legendary. Most likely, they made an effort to out-advertise their competition, Glen Echo Lodge, situated immediately west, and next door.
A sad ending but fond memories
Unfortunately, Rustic Resort burned to the ground in 2008, taking with it the good times and good, interesting people. Although worn and faded, the vintage neon sign still stands – awkwardly out of place – in one of Colorado’s few remaining pristine canyons.
Read Rustic Resort’s history at,
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