CLOUDCROFT, N.M. (KRQE) – The premier attraction in a New Mexico mountain town is being restored to its original glory, and the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce says this will help the entire town bounce back from the pandemic. “It had lost its glamour and its shine,” said Lanna Duncan, the owner of The Lodge at Cloudcroft.
When the Duncan family bought The Lodge six years ago, they knew there was a lot of work to do. “Without criticizing what has been done in the past, it’s been a sad 20 years for the hotel,” said Duncan.
Lanna says the lodge’s infrastructure needed work, and that its old-timey Victorian decor felt out of place in a lodge originally designed to be a German ‘Bavarian’ style. “Our goal was just, put it back the way it should be,” said Duncan.
After several rounds of pandemic closures and partial closures, the Duncans decided to shut the entire lodge down in November. They then got to work restoring The Lodge. It was first built in 1899 but burned down in a fire.
The structure that stands today was built around 1910. “We like to preserve the past so there is a future for that building,” said Duncan.
The Lodge was originally built for people traveling along the old railroad, and for people working in Cloudcroft’s once-booming logging industry, that the Duncan Family has ties to. “After we purchased the lodge, we found out through a historian that my great-grandfather, Edgar Beecher Bronson, was an investor in the Cloudcroft railroad. So, I feel like my family has come full circle in Cloudcroft,” said Duncan.
After logging died out, the railroad became the town’s main attraction and the Duncans wanted to make good use of the old features. “The historic depot is now our pro shop,” said Duncan.
The Lodge’s golf course was the highest in the country for 70 years, and signs of golfers from decades past were revealed when the Duncans renovated the stairs. “They have little teeny knicks all through them and you can tell it’s years and years and years of people’s golf cleats when they had the metal golf cleats. I can’t even imagine the hotel owner in those days allowing people to come down those gorgeous stairs with those shoes on,” said Duncan.
During renovations, Duncan says they also uncovered a tower that had been hidden during a previous renovation. “Things like that, we’re finding that were underneath renovations,” said Duncan.
All of the bedrooms also got handcrafted updates. For ski season tourists, the Duncans added heated floors in the bathroom. “So, it adds a little bit of luxury to those rooms,” said Duncan.
The Duncans also restored the lodge’s mahogany bar and are opening up a long glassed-in section of the front porch. “We have cut it in half lengthwise so part of it is still inside in the glass and part of it is going to be outside. So, there’s going to be a lot of seating and dining outside, facing White Sands and the beautiful view,” said Duncan.
The Lodge serves as Cloudcroft’s main tourist attraction. “It is a very popular spot. I bet you probably 50% of my calls here are asking when they’re going to be open,” said Cindi Bradshaw, the manager of the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce.
Bradshaw believes the renovation will help tourism throughout the entire town for years to come. “Oh, I absolutely think it’ll actually bring a lot more revenue,” said Bradshaw.
“I think that renewal is what we want to see for the lodge, we want to see that for Cloudcroft and for tourism in general,” said Duncan. The family says all of the reno work will be finished by the end of the year, but want guests to know they are open.