A New Family Takes Over
In 1964 the Bauers sold the Chalets to their daughter Maureen and
her husban, Paul Harrison, who operated the inn until 1995. It was
in 1995 that the current owner, Sue Retterer, and her late husband, Ron,
purchased the property for their semi-retirement. As the two couples
became friends they found they had much in common. Both couples
met while attending the University of Denver, all were hockey fans
and they all loved the Evergreen mountains.
After ten years in southern California where Ron had been in the
construction industry and Sue was in corporate management the
Colorado mountains were calling them back to where they had raised
their two sons. And their sons and Jeff's new bride Dana came back
to Colorado with them to help run Bauer's Spruce Island Chalets.
Both Dave and Jeff as well as their father were in construction and
the itch to remodel and improve didn't take long to set them on
their way to putting their touch on the venerable Bauer's.
The garages in what is now the fourplex were converted into the
current studios in 1996. Evergreen lodging availability at that
time didn't meet the demand and potential guests were begging for anyplace to lay their weary heads without having to drive
down the hill after a wedding or reunion or to get away from
the heat of Kansas, Texas and other summer hot spots.
During the more than two decades the Retterers have owned and
operated the inn, they have made some improvements including
the large play structure on Spruce Island, a remodel of the
original Willows cottage, and various upgrades to baths in
addition to the two studios.
The Kinnikinnik has been remodeled as the manager's cabin. An
owner’s cabin was developed from what had been a carport and utility
room for the four-bedroom Blue Spruce chalet.
A fire pit was added so the guests could enjoy the cool evenings
gathered around the glowing embers, sometimes bringing their guitars
for a sing along while the kids roast their marshmallows.
Another change but not by choice are the empty flower boxes.
You may notice them and wonder why. It all is the fault of our
elk. Both the elk and deer have made this Evergreen gem their
frequent gathering spot sometimes spending entire afternoons in
what we humans like to call the picnic area.
When asked how Mildred was able to keep flowers in the boxes with
all the elk that inhabit the area, Maureen Harrison described the
Evegreen area of long ago when the elk stayed in the wild, which is
now developed into housing. Because of all the development in
the area they find our grassy picnic are and rasberries and other
flora as well as the pond and creek for bathing as well as
drinking very enticing. They especially like the flowers that we
tried putting in those flower boxes. But we gave up after we
found that the elk even stripped the leaves from our silk plants.
Of course the deer like to nibble the new growth of the shrubs
so you'll see them on the hillsides more than on the lawn.
And as the years have gone by the family changed. Dave married
Clare at Bauer's Spruce Island Chalets in 1996. And they now have
three children who call Bauer's home. Dana and Jeff enjoy life in
Evergreen with their two sons who now attend Evergreen High. We
lost Ron in 2006 and his companion, Sophie who was the German
Shephard who was the mascot of Bauer's shortly thereafter.
Sue now spends her winters in sunnier climes so Dave and Clare make
sure guests are taken care of not only in the summer but all year long.
Jeff and Dana and the boys help out as needed. Thanks to both sons
and their families who have taken their turns managing the property
and continuie to assist Bauer's Spruce Island Chalets remains one of the oldest
continuously operating family businesses in Evergreen ready to welcome
guests both old and new.
As a note, some people have recommended changing the name, which
some find cumbersome in the current environment. After reading
the history of what we can't help but refer to as "Bauer's" you may
understand why the name appears here to stay.