List of Classified Structures
List of Classified Structures
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Preferred Structure Name:
Moraine Park Museum Road, Lot & Drainage Features
Structure Number:
Other Structure Name(s):
Other Structure Name(s)
No records.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Historic District:
Historic District
Moraine Park Museum & Amphitheater
Structure State:
Structure County:
Rocky Mountain
Administrative Unit:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
National Historic Landmark?:
Significance Level:
Short Significance Description:
This property is significant at the local level under criteria A (entertainment/recreation, politics/government) and C (landscape architecture) with a period of significance of 1923-1955.
Long Significance Description:
In October 1976, the Keeper first entered Rocky Mountain National Park's Moraine Park Museum, also known as the Moraine Park Visitor Center (5LR477, LCS 10503), in the National Register of Historic Places. That early nomination, by Ranger-Naturalist D. Ferrel Atkins, focused on the building itself and its association with the Moraine Park Lodge. The June 1987 Multiple Resource Nomination for Rocky Mountain National Park also noted the Moraine Park Museum for its representation of the Pioneer Settlement and the Development of the Resort Industry and its relation to the theme of NPS Rustic Architecture within Rocky Mountain National Park. This 2005 amendment adds other important features in the Moraine Park landscape, including the associated amphitheater. The Moraine Park Museum, amphitheater, drainage structures, trails, entry road, parking lot, and vegetation all contribute to a cultural landscape (entered as an historic district). Since the Museum is already listed in the National Register, the addition of these other features recognizes their historic relationship to the museum building.

The Moraine Park Museum and Amphitheater are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C, meeting the registration requirements set forth in the Rocky Mountain National Park Multiple Property Listing. Under Criterion A, the Moraine Park Museum building is eligible in the area of Entertainment/ Recreation for its association with the early resort industry and tourism in the Estes Park region, with a period of significance starting in 1923 and ending in 1931. Under Criterion A, the Moraine Park Museum and Amphitheater district is significant in the area of Politics/Government for the involvement of 1930s federal relief agencies, specifically the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Emergency Conservation Works (ECW), with a period of significance from 1936-1937. The district is also eligible under Criterion C in the area of Landscape Architecture; the design and relationship of the building and its associated structures reflect National Park Service (NPS) Naturalistic Design of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Additionally, the Moraine Park Museum and Amphitheater reflect the national trends described in Linda Flint McClelland’s Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks Multiple Property Listing. In this second context, the Moraine Park Museum and Amphitheater are eligible under Criterion A, with a period of significance from 1936-1955, in the area of Entertainment/Recreation for its connection to the twentieth-century movement to develop national parks for public enjoyment, as well in the area of Politics/Government for the principles and practices of park landscape design used by the park in CCC projects. The Museum and Amphitheater are also eligible under Criterion C in the area of Landscape Architecture for a design that reflects NPS Naturalistic Design of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year CE/BCE
End Year
End Year CE/BCE
Designer Occupation
NPS Office of the Chief Engineer
NPS Branch of Plans and Design
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Vehicular Circulation
Primary Current Use:
Vehicular Circulation
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
Other Functions or Uses:
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
Erosion Control
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Structural Component(s)
Short Physical Description:
The 20 foot wide entry road, asphalt parking lot, and stone drainage structures are important features of this historic district.
Long Physical Description:
Numerous stone drainage structures move water through the site. Drainage features include a 60-foot-long stone gutter above the amphitheater, which channels water into a drain. A steel drain grate lies behind the screen foundation at the edge of the stage area. At the bottom of the slope below the stage area, a 24-inch steel culvert with stone and concrete battlements channels water under the entry road. Down the slope from this culvert, lies another stone battlement and culvert that carries water under Bear Lake Road. To the southeast, a second system of matching stone battlements and steel culverts moves water under the roads. This drainage pattern points to the elaborate construction techniques used in the creation of the site.

The 20-foot-wide, asphalt entry road has a 15% grade and feeds into an asphalt parking lot that serves approximately 65 cars. The sign by the entry reads "Moraine Park Museum" and is constructed of log posts and 11" x 2-1/2" boards painted tan. The parking lot is paved in asphalt and lined with 8-12 inch diameter log curbs. A central island holds native shrubs, grasses, and one small ponderosa pine. Two, four-foot-tall steel bases that hold telescopes for interpretive programs sit on the east end of the island. On the south side of the parking lot, a 4-foot asphalt sidewalk lines the edge of the lot. Along this path, three modern, black steel wayside signs face Moraine Park and tell the story of some of the non-extant lodges, of the glacial history of Moraine Park, and of artists in the park (i.e. Albert Bierdstadt). Along this asphalt path near the museum lie two bear-proof garbage cans (one brown-painted and one green-painted); another brown-painted garbage can sits just outside the front door. Along the asphalt sidewalk to the museum's front door is a 15-inch-tall log "bumper" fence, made of 6-inch logs to prevent visitors from wandering off trail. The north side of this same asphalt sidewalk is lined with large granite boulders that both retain the slope above and serve as seating for visitors. This wall blends into a set of stone stairs that wrap around the fireplace and connect to the interpretive trail. A red fire hydrant stands in the grass near the front door. When the museum is open, the flag on the pole in front of the lodge constantly snaps in the wind. Two rustic, half-log benches allow visitors to admire the view of Longs Peak from the front door. Two small, wood signs teach visitors about native vegetation.