Great at 38 – Holden House and the Clarks Celebrate Decades of B&B Hospitality in June 2024 –

Colorado Springs, CO, June 02, 2024 –(– Who would have thought that when Sallie and Welling Clark turned the corner in 1985 to see the abandoned house on the corner of West Pikes Peak Avenue, they would still be running Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn, an award-winning bed and breakfast, today and celebrating 38 years of continuous operation on June 9. After honeymooning in Colorado in 1980 and with Sallie’s family roots in Colorado where she spent time on her Grandmother’s farm in Pueblo every summer, the Clarks developed a love for the trails, parks, open spaces, mountains and culture that Colorado Springs offered. At the time, the nearby historic district, known as “Old Colorado City,” so named because of its designation as the first territorial capital in 1859, had received a revitalization thanks to the City of Colorado Springs economic redevelopment efforts. The Clarks recognized the potential opportunity of the area with shops and restaurants nearby and were on the ground floor to establish the city’s first Westside bed and breakfast inn. Looking to start a small business when Welling left the Navy, Colorado Springs was the perfect fit.

Although they saw the abandoned and neglected house with overgrown weeds, faded facade and deteriorated sidewalks, they also envisioned the potential for opening a B&B. The Victorian character drew them to the project and after a year of renovation, including replacing the foundation of the house, the Clarks opened Holden House, named for the original owner and Colorado Springs area pioneer, Isabel Holden. While they started with one building and three guest rooms, they were eventually able to purchase the original carriage house and Victorian house next door and converted all rooms into suites. The result has been the opportunity to welcome guests for over 38 years. While it has not been without challenges including city council zoning approval, construction loans, business insurance difficulties and more, the Clarks were determined to make it a success. They can still remember their first guests, a young Army couple on their honeymoon making their way to a duty station in Arizona and also recall turning away potential guests while awaiting B&B insurance approval for a new industry that was little known at the time. “No one knew what a B&B was in 1986 and we were forced to secure expensive hotel insurance,” said Welling Clark, owner-innkeeper.

When asked about the challenges over the years, there have been many. From the terrorist attacks on 9-11 to the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest wildfires, economic ups and downs, the proliferation of vacation rental properties and new hotels, the 2020 pandemic and more, a steady-as-you-go mentality has been the key to consistency. “What sets Holden House apart is our personal service, full gourmet breakfast, quality accommodations with all private baths and attention to detail. We have also been committed to a sustainable business plan and financial stability,” said Sallie.

So what makes stay-ability in this time and personally intensive hospitality business still successful today? “It’s the continued involvement in the inn operations and maintenance, as well as recognizing when to hire staff to assist in the day-to-day operations,” says Welling. “We couldn’t do what we do without the amazing assistant innkeepers who work for us, as you can’t continue to work seven days a week on call 24 hours a day without taking the time to renew and refresh yourselves.” The Clarks and Holden House also give back to the community, from donations to local charities, to serving as neighborhood association leaders and on county and city boards, while also engaging in Colorado tourism efforts. In 1986, Sallie and Welling established the state’s first nonprofit bed and breakfast association, Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado, which markets and represents B&Bs across the state and they are still directly involved in the organization.

“It’s been said that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, and while it depends on what day you ask us, the love of sharing our home, the history of the area and introducing our guests to the many incredible sights of the Pikes Peak region makes it all worth it,” says Sallie. And, she remarks with a smile, “On to year 39!”

About Holden House: Holden House is a six-suite “authentic” bed and breakfast inn located in Colorado Springs, CO near the historic district of Old Colorado City and a few miles from Manitou Springs. Situated on a tree-lined residential street, the inn’s suites each feature a private bath, fireplace and sitting area with either a queen or king bed. Full gourmet breakfast is included and served in the antique-filled dining room or in the privacy of your room for an additional fee. Advance reservations are recommended to guarantee availability. Call 719-471-3980 or visit the Holden House website for more information.