KUSA - Gregg Moss has begun a new Where In The Town adventure series. For the next few Fridays, he'll be taking us to some of Colorado's most unique secret places.
The Pool Beneath The Buffalo Rose
The Buffalo Rose, Golden's oldest remaining business institution, holds one of the most interesting secrets in Colorado. Hidden below the floorboard lies an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
It's long been empty, and is used for storage now. But for many years it was a recreation destination for Golden swimming buffs. It was known as the Golden Splash. Legend has it that actor Johnny Weismuller, who played Tarzan back in the day, even took a dip.
Buffalo Rose owner Murray Martinez showed Gregg around, and told him that the pool has a bit of a creepy vibe, and possibly a ghost of someone who reportedly drowned in the pool. The Buffalo Rose has a fascinating history, as recounted in a 2009 Denver Post Your Hub article.
It was on December 28, 1859, that the Western Mountaineer gave the first account of the saloon, then under construction:
"...upon the corner of Washington Avenue and Third street, Messrs Crow and Brundy are building a very fine house, 25 x 40, and two stories high, to be occupied by them as a saloon. In the rear will be three bowling alleys 70 feet long. They intend finished off their house in the best possible style both inside and out."
Soon, Hubert F. Crow and Henry Brundy opened the doors to what they called the "International Bowling Saloon." It was a fairly genteel establishment, "furnished with the choicest wines, liquors and cigars", where the Mountaineer said "Crow and Brundy's International Bowling Saloon is the place to enjoy an hour's rational amusement."
Since then, this establishment has operated through repossession by the County Sheriff (1863), two shootouts (1860 and 1868), replacement of its building (1902), Prohibition (longtime owner Paul Ficht converted it to serving soft drinks from 1914-1934), and much, much more.
Featured inside is the historic Eastlake style bar that Ficht, a German immigrant, installed in 1902. This tavern knew over half a century of German ownership, starting with Gustavus Haas and his taking out the ceiling of the original building to install a grand orchestrion in 1872.
It continued with Ficht's 40 years with only two vacations until his retirement in 1934. After continuing as the bar and café of Leonard Larson and later Dudley J. Young, Ken Mueller made it the Buffalo Rose in 1985, and is now in the hands of Murry Martinez.
The tavern has a much younger sibling, the Grizzly Rose country emporium in Denver, which Mueller established not long after acquiring the place.
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