The Hand Hotel History

A Fairplay Legacy

Named after her visionaries and builders, Jacob and Jessie Hand, the hotel opened her doors to guests for the first time in 1932. Featuring many “modern” amenities such as in-room boiler heat and hot water, the Hand Hotel was considered Fairplay’s luxury hotel and often booked out several months in advance.

This was the third hotel Jake & Jessie had owned, but this was the first one they designed and built from the ground up. Jessie, lovingly referred to in the community as ‘Grandma Hand’, adorned the hotel with her personal collection of western artifacts. The majority of her collection now resides with the South Park Historical Society and can be viewed at the South Park Museum.

The Hand Hotel’s original owners were Jake and Jessie Hand

Known as one of the most accomplished fisher(wo)men in all of Colorado, Jessie gained a sponsorship from Dave Cook’s, the leading outdoor store in Colorado in the early 1900s. They had a grand store in downtown Denver where 16th Street Mall is now.

The store featured a live pond showcasing Jessie’s prize catches along with her favorite rods, reels and lures. Jessie and Jake offered guided fishing and hunting excursions to patrons of the hotel which drew visitors from as far away as Massachusetts.

Jacob passed away on December 22nd, 1947. Jessie continued to run the hotel, along with the help of their children, until the mid 1960s. An avid outdoorsmen until the end, Jessie passed away on Sept 2nd, 1963 while driving herself home from fishing at the age of 86. After Jessie’s passing, the children sold the hotel and it went through various owners over the next two decades.

The Hand Hotel remains, thanks to local residents and dedicated owners.

By the mid 1980s the hotel had fallen into such disrepair it was nearly condemned. Luckily a determined and passionate local, Pat Pocius, took ownership of the hotel and with the help of many other locals, saved the building. In 1996, Dale and Katherine Fitting purchased the property and continued renovating and restoring the Hotel.

The Fittings took pride in ensuring that all of the improvements they made were period accurate and aligned with Grandma Hand’s vision. Dale and Katherine’s passion for honoring the Hand Hotel has been passed on to the current owner, Catherine (Cat) Ambrose, who plans to continue restoring the property to her original glory.

To learn more about Fairplay’s rich history visit South Park Historical Foundation.

Hand Hotel

531 Front Street
Fairplay, Colorado 80440

For Reservations:

Call (719) 836-3595 or

Hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Check In: 3:00 pm | Check Out: 10:00 am

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