Built in 1912, this charming establishment stands as a testament to the spirit of a different kind of pioneer, one that has been somewhat forgotten in the annals of Colorado history. While most people imagine the state in its early days teeming with cowboys and miners, there was another breed of adventurer who sought to make a life for themselves in this rugged land - the artists and craftsmen who yearned for the freedom to express themselves in a natural setting.
The man behind what was then known as Craftwood Inn, Roland Bautwell, was a true Renaissance artist. An Englishman by birth, Bautwell was an architect, a builder, a photographer, and a coppersmith. He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement that swept through Europe and the Americas at the turn of the century, seeking to infuse the day's technology with artistic expression in a natural environment. Bautwell saw Colorado as the ideal place to make this vision a reality.
Bautwell built Craftwood Inn, the Onaledge Bed & Breakfast, and The Rockledge, all beautiful examples of Arts and Crafts architecture. In his day, Colorado Springs, where Bautwell made his home, was known as Little London. The Arts and Crafts movement drew on Gothic and Japanese art forms, and Bautwell was a master at blending these disparate styles to create new masterpieces. He decorated Craftwood Inn with stained glass maidens from Italy. He added a Japanese shrine on the front column, infusing his eclectic background into his work.
Initially, the Craftwood Inn was Bautwell's coppersmith's shop, and Onaledge was his guest home. You can still see his signature mark; the fireplace hood and some of the lamps are examples of his work, and the "CS" on the hood stands for Craftwood Shops. Craftwood Inn is a testament to Bautwell's genius, combining his passions for architecture and metalwork.
In 1940, the building transformed into a popular high-end restaurant. The cuisine was exquisite, attracting dignitaries and celebrities from all over the world. Cary Grant and Bing Crosby lunched by the window seat, while Lawrence Welk and Liberace were frequent guests. The owner of the Hope Diamond even leased the entire estate for a summer, and Harry Truman's daughter stayed there on another occasion.
But the most intriguing chapter of this beautiful building's history came during renovations in the summer of 1988 when a secret room was discovered in the attic. Behind a door that looked more like a wall were artifacts from the past that revealed a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Engravings, old photographic plates, metal works, and a mirror reflected a time in Colorado that few people knew about. It was a stunning discovery that added another layer of mystery and intrigue to this already fascinating place.
In 2015, Craftwood Peak was an investment for David and Brian, who poured all their passion into reinvigorating the inn and making it a culinary landmark. Already famous for exquisite cuisine, Brian was keen to expand to events, and the duo soon achieved local renown for their attention to detail and meticulous good taste.
Fast forward eight years, and Brian and David's well-earned retirement was overdue. They searched tirelessly for a company that would look after their clients with the same level of customer service and who knew the events industry inside and out. Cue: the team at Wedgewood Weddings who impressed with their industry distinction, thorough attention to detail, and reputation for always going above and beyond. Now known as Craftwood Peak by Wedgewood Weddings & Events, the iconic arts and crafts venue continues to be diligently maintained and the focus is on hosted exception events for exceptional clients.
So, there you have it - the history of Craftwood Peak, a special place that embodies the creative spirit of a bygone era. It's a testament to the power of art and the enduring legacy of those who seek to express themselves in unique and meaningful ways.
The Arts and Crafts Movement was a design and social movement that re-focused attention on traditional craftsmanship, simple forms, natural resources, and local materials and techniques. It also promoted the idea that art and design should be accessible to everyone.
One of the most distinctive features of Arts and Crafts architecture is the use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, and glass. The designs were characterized by simplicity, functionality, and honesty in construction. The movement also valued handcrafted details, such as intricate woodcarvings, stained glass windows, and handmade tiles.
Arts and Crafts architecture was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century and quickly gained popularity among architects and homeowners. The movement's emphasis on natural materials and handmade craftsmanship appealed to Americans seeking a departure from the mass-produced architecture of the time.
Craftwood Peak in Manitou Springs, CO, is an excellent example of Arts and Crafts architecture because it embodies many of the movement's ideals. The interior showcases many original handcrafted details, such as stained glass windows and intricate woodcarvings. It features a simple, rustic design with beautiful details such as custom-designed ironwork, hand-carved furniture, and decorative tiles. The building's location on a rocky outcrop and its integration with the surrounding landscape also reflects the Arts and Crafts idea of working within the natural environment.
Choosing an Arts and Crafts wedding venue is an excellent way to incorporate this unique and beautiful style into your big day. An Arts and Crafts wedding venue provides a warm, inviting atmosphere and creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the natural world. From the raw materials used in the construction to the handcrafted details throughout the space, an Arts and Crafts wedding venue will make your wedding day feel extraordinary.
The Arts and Crafts Movement was a significant cultural and artistic movement that left an enduring legacy. With its emphasis on natural materials and handcrafted details, Arts and Crafts architecture is a style that continues to inspire architects and homeowners alike. Choosing a delightfully maintained and updated Arts and Crafts wedding venue provides a beautiful and unique setting for your special day.