Castle Mountain Lodge came into being in 1968 when a Russian born successful and well‐known architect from New York and Florida, Igor Polevitsky and his wife Irene bought property on Fall River that had one dwelling; it was called Riverside. This was their start of a part‐time life and business for themselves in Estes Park when not in Miami. Igor, his mother and sister fled the Bolshevik revolution after Igor’s father was killed by the Reds. They fled into Finland during the wintertime and Igor suffered frostbite on his hands leaving them deformed but not limiting his skill as an architect. Igor is famous for designing hotels and the “Bird House”, a design popular in Florida in the early part of the last century. The house had roof lines that extended several feet beyond the exterior walls of the house and that area was screened in. Thus virtually every room had access to an outside shaded airy space, very important in hot humid Florida before the advent of air conditioning.
Castle River was the first new cottage to be built and was rented annually (for many summers) to a Coca‐Cola executive. Within a few years, five cottages were built and became‐‐ Castle View, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Little Pines and Little Castle. Igor also constructed a high cliff waterfall on the rock face at the west end of the property that could be seen from Fall River Road; it shone spectacularly at night due to Igor’s installation of special lighting.
Igor loved to fish and would rise early to catch and prepare trout for his guests, many of whom were Russian, early on. He was a very hands‐on lodge owner. A few years later, Igor acquired adjacent river cottages from Mrs. Woolworth, a Boulder, CO schoolteacher who operated her cottages in the Summer, and expanded Castle Mountain Lodge’s offering.
Originally the water source came from Fall River but soon that was curtailed and replaced by bottled water until water tanks could be constructed and placed on the mountainside behind the guest cottages. Water was then pumped from the river into the tanks, treated for drinking and then piped to the cottages. Maintaining the tanks and water system was arduous work so Igor, being a leader and keen businessman, led efforts to create city water lines to the local lodges. His commitment to the community also extended to designing plans for and facilitating the building of the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. Igor recognized the need for a hospital in Estes Park and organized a lakeside picnic and invited all the lodge owners and homeowners around Estes . Igor gave a talk about the need for a hospital and presented architects drawing of what such a facility would look like. What impact that had on the eventual construction of the hospital we have not been able to determine.
In the 1970s, tragedy befell Igor; he fell down an escalator and was from then‐on wheelchair bound. This didn’t stop him though from delivering newspapers to his guests. A few years later, he suffered massive burns from a fire in the bedroom and died shortly thereafter.
In the late 1970’s Jim Wenger and his wife Gerry, from Grand Island, NE bought the property. Jim was a successful insurance man in Nebraska and Gerry had a love of antiques. Jim had been an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Congress from his Nebraska district and so was quite well known throughout that area. Consequently, being a good salesman he enticed many friends and business associates to come stay at the Lodge.
In 1984, Warren and Ruth Clinton purchased the lodge. They also owned McGregor Mountain Lodge two miles west of Castle Mountain Lodge. Warren came from a background of Corporate Law, Real Estate development and home building, and banking. Ruth’s background was in computers having been a Systems Engineer with IBM, involved in helping install the PARS reservation system for United Airlines and as a project manager for Hewlett Packard.
Working together for over 20 years operating both lodges and an internet marketing business, eMarketing, LLC started by Ruth, they renovated, expanded, and updated both lodges. Sadly, Ruth passed on in 2009. Warren continues to
operate the lodge with the help of a dedicated staff.
An innkeeper learns that one does not really “own” a lodge like this, one is merely the steward for preserving the good efforts that have been made by many people over the prior years and I hope that when my stewardship of Castle Mountain Lodge comes to an end I will be able to hand it off to others who will carry on what the Polevitzky’s started and the Wenger’s and Clinton’s carried forward.