YMCA of the Rockies- Friendship and Fellowship
Backstory and Context
A.A. Hyde became involved with the YMCA of the Rockies in 1908 when he attended the first annual conference at Wind River Lodge. Quickly thereafter, he joined the Board of Director and became one of the Y's most ardent supporters. In 1910, the board approved a broader scope for the camp by serving an expanded range of conferences and family vacationers and by offering programming beyond the leadership programs developed for YMCA leaders in the western conference. These major changes fundamentally changed the course of the camp to a conference center and family resort providing fellowship and friendship to all who followed Christian principals and practices. This move in focus spoke loudly to A.A. Hyde, who had a strong moral compass and a belief in equality and equity for all. Hyde was guided by the Sermon on the Mount and Andrew Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth. As a result of these influences, Hyde gave away 90% of his yearly earnings without regard to race, religion, or nationality. He built schools, overseas missions, and he sponsored young men to come to the United States to improve their education. When providing financial support, Hyde considered all projects that sought to improve the lives of all people, but each project needed to have a budget and merit. Much like modern grant applications today.
In 1921, A.A. Hyde purchased 78 acres on the northern boundary of the YMCA camp from F.O. Stanley and deeded it to the camp. Hyde, however, had a vision for the land. As part of his personal philosophy and work in social justice, Hyde envisioned a space where Christian workers with small incomes could find accommodation at little or moderate cost and have the advantages of experiencing the inspirational features of the camp's environment. This vision came to fruition in the construction of Fellowship Park. For Hyde, Fellowship was a place where all people, of all faiths, and from all parts of the country, had the opportunity to develop the true spirit of fellowship and understanding. This planned communal living began to take shape in 1922 when Hyde oversaw the planning and layout of the site. Hyde chose a location near an expansive boulder, which had been deposited during the last glacier event. The rock, later named "Rock of Ages," had biblical implications and became the meeting place for Hyde's communal bible study groups in the evenings. The community house, which exhibits features from the arts and craft architectural style including a large porch and abundant windows, had one large living room, two bathrooms with showers, a kitchen and laundry area, and manager's quarters. Surrounding the main building of the property, Hyde built simple cabins known as the 'Mineral Cabins': Onyx, Agate, Granite, Crystal, Quartz, and Mica. These cabins were also fashioned after the arts and crafts style.
Fellowship was a place for all people to stay for a small fee. In return, they were required to perform one hour of house work a day, attend nightly Bible Study at the rock, and abide by a strict code of conduct that was similar to "Leave no Trace" and included, don't harass birds or animals, don't pick the flowers, no camp fires outside designated areas, conserve water, and clean up your mess. Hyde not only cared about people but also nature.
Today, the community house has been turned into a rental donor-supported cabin, but it still retains many of the exterior and interior features, such as the large front porch, roof line, and river stone fireplace.
In 1926, A.A. Hyde built a companion lodge known as Friendship. Friendship was built in the western rustic style and is characterized by the exterior and interior use of local river stone from Glacier Creek, which runs near the property, rock debris from the last glacier, and logs felled on property. Friendship Lodge and Park are notable for the pair of duplex auto cabins and Hyde's foresight in recognizing the rise of auto tourism to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Auto cabins were one-roomed cottages, joined together by a carport, and were equipped with a stove, table, chairs, and a folding bed. They provided tourists and conference attendees with an affordable place to stay while touring the West. Camping spots could be used for free provided those visitors attend bible study in the evening. As with Fellowship, Hyde also constructed Friendship next to an expansive glacial boulder where he would hold meetings in the summer. By the first season, a total of thirty-five people stayed at Friendship.
Today, Friendship Lodge operates as the living quarters for senior female YMCA volunteer seasonal staff, and is also used by day camp attendees.
Lloyd-D'Onofrio, Karen. "YMCA of the Rockies - Fellowship and Friendship.." Clio: Your Guide to History. September 11, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019.
Melton, Jack R. Melton, Lulabeth. YMCA of the Rockies: Reflections, Traditions and Vision. Estes Park, CO. YMCA of the Rockies, 2006.