Where will you find the largest collection of keys in the world? As it turns out, right here in Colorado.

Question: Which Colorado structure is home to the world's largest collection of keys?

Answer: My house. I have thousands of the things lying around, and not the slightest clue what any of them go to.

Okay, I lied. My house has the world's 2nd largest collection of keys. The first place trophy goes to Estes Park's Baldpate Inn. The venue's assemblage consists of some 20,000 keys.

How long have they been collecting? According to atlasobscura.com, keys have been steadily donated to the Baldpate Inn since World War I.

Where exactly does one display a key collection? Are they in a display case, a curio cabinet, or maybe behind a velvet rope? None of the above. The Baldpate Inn has the keys organized by state, hanging from the hotel's ceilings and walls.

Do any of the featured keys belong to prominent doors or locks? As a matter of fact, yes. The American collection includes keys from:

  • Pentagon
  • White House bathroom

Featured non-American keys include:

  • Mozart's wine cellar
  • Adolf Hitler's bunker
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Frankenstein's Castle
  • a Peruvian monastery

Okay, so why keys, and why the Baldpate Inn? According to atlasobscura.com, the idea to put a key collection in the hotel comes from the book The Seven Keys to Baldpate. This title refers to a 1913 work of fiction about a man who visits what was at that time the non-existent "Baldpate Inn."

It seems the lodge in Estes Park bore a striking resemblance to the one depicted in the story, so the owners, Gordon and Ethel Mace and Gordon’s two brothers, Charles and Stuart Mace, decided to name the hotel Baldpate Inn. A "key room" was created in honor of the book, and then things got crazy. Afterward, guests of the hotel began donating keys to the collection.

Can you donate a key to the collection? Absolutely. People still do this. According to the hotel's webpage, it is open from Memorial Day weekend until mid-October. The hotel features 12 main lodge guest rooms and four cabins.

If you find yourself in or around Estes Park, give some thought to visiting the Baldpate Inn. Their bed & breakfast rates run $150 a night for two guests, with each additional guest costing $15. Those rates include a three-course gourmet breakfast.

This would be a fun getaway if only to gain bragging rights. Grand Junction to Estes Park comes in at 267 miles and roughly six hours driving time. This might be the perfect weekend vacation.

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