c 2023 by Jan MacKell Collins
Anyone who has driven up America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak, will surely remember passing Glen Cove. Housed in a sturdy looking log structure, the rest stop features a restaurant and gift shop near some mighty premier off-track skiing in winter and rock climbing and hiking in summer. Mile marker 13 marks the spot where, at a bit over 11,400’ in altitude, visitors can visit almost year-round to admire the stunning views about midway to the top of the peak.
What visitors might not know is that Glen Cove actually is located in that small portion of Teller County that the Pikes Peak Highway crosses through. That’s because the only way to access the highway is via the pretty little mountain community of Cascade in El Paso County. Interesting too is that Glen Cove’s history goes much further back than the structure seen there today.
The real story of Glen Cove begins with Frank Tweed, a Kansas transplant who toiled as a carpenter while working various diggings in hopes of discovering gold. The first time he appeared in Colorado newspapers was back in 1882, when he and his brother, Charles, picked up a couple of claims further west of Pikes Peak, on the middle fork of Salt Creek, or perhaps the South Platte River. The Leadville Daily Herald reported that the men had some “valuable prospects” there, working when they could while staying in Colorado Springs. By saying “Colorado Springs,” the paper might have been referring to Glen Cove, since Frank would build a cabin there in 1886. Glen Cove, however, was yet to be named at that point.
Tweed’s cabin was originally an expansive two-story, log affair built with local lumber and perched on a solid rock foundation. Its name originated from nearby Glen Cove Creek, which empties into Crystal Reservoir. Alternatively, the creek may have been named for Tweed’s place. Either way, people gradually became aware of the cabin, the only stop at that time along the precarious, rocky trail leading to the top of Pikes Peak. Tweed would eventually convert the cabin into a rest stop for travelers and their horses as they traveled the trail.
Historic records show that Tweed did not live at Glen Cove on a regular basis. During 1890 he was living in Denver and employed as a carpenter. He did, however, file for an official homestead comprised of 160 acres surrounding Glen Cove in 1891. Four years after that he married his wife, Anna (nee Williams) at Colorado Springs. Newspapers had little to say about Glen Cove until 1898, when the Rocky Mountain News reported that uranium was discovered in a gold vein some 800 feet from the top of Pikes Peak. A small gold camp formed, and it was noted that one of four tunnels for the mine was being built at Glen Cove. By then, there was a primitive carriage road leading to the top of the peak.
The mine does not seem to have advanced very far, and by 1900 Frank and Anna Tweed, along with their three-year-old son, Hayden, were living in New Mexico. The Tweed’s may have sold their Glen Cove cabin by then, which around the same time was turned into a hotel. A 1901 news article mentioned that R.J. Mansfield, his wife, and their daughter – all lately of Ohio – were visiting Colorado Springs from Glen Cove. As for the Tweeds, Anna divorced Frank in 1904 for non-support. Four years later she, too, filed for her own homestead in Otero County. The 1910 census found her in San Diego, where she told the census taker that she was a widow. But where and when Frank Tweed died remains a mystery. Anna died in Los Angeles in 1945.
In 1916, the Pikes Peak Auto Highway officially premiered. The Glen Cove Inn, as it was now called, remained a highly popular stop. Visitors could get a meal, get their bearings going up or down the road, and get a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside and rugged mountains. Visitors talked of eating delicious sandwiches and sipping coffee while warming themselves by the big stone fireplace, and dinner was also served.
By 1927, the name of the inn changed again, to Glen Cove Lodge, when the United States Forest Service took over the property. A few years later, Fred Tweed’s cabin was replaced with a more modern facility, although the “new” building remains rustic in nature and still sits atop the original stone foundation. Notably, Glen Cove Lodge was requisitioned by Camp Carson and Peterson Field during World War II, for physical training exercises in what is now a well-known ski area. Don Lawrie, who owned the popular Pikes Peak Ski Club at the time, capitalized on the requisition to host “the first all-military ski meet in history” at Glen Cove on April 23, 1944.
Sometime in 1961, Glen Cove and its cozy inn, now sometimes referred to as the Timberline Inn or the Timberline Cafe, came under ownership by the city of Colorado Springs. The inn was added to the Colorado State Register of Historic Places in 1999, and remains a great rest stop along the road up Pikes Peak—in fact, rangers ask that all visitors coming off the mountain stop to have their brakes checked at Glen Cove for their own safety before driving on.
In addition to skiing, hiking and rock climbing, Glen Cove also offers panning for gold and gems during the summer months. Inside, light fare is offered at the restaurant, along with snacks, bottled waters and sodas, coffee, and hot chocolate. There is also the gift shop with an assortment of hand-made items, jewelry, mugs, clothing, postcards and other items. Glen Cove also remains open year-round (weather permitting, of course), and remains a most unique place to visit.
Photo: Frank Tweed’s original cabin as it appeared at Glen Cove.