In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, it may seem like you couldn’t be farther away from London, Frankenstein’s Castle, or Nazi Germany. But at the historic Baldpate Inn in Estes Park, Colorado, all three of these places are represented—in the form of keys.
The Baldpate Inn is home to the world’s largest collection of keys. With a total of 20,000 keys, there are three keys for every resident of Estes Park. Organized categorically by state, the collection is hung on the hotel’s ceiling and walls and has been receiving donations since the end of World War II.
Featured in the key room are keys to a variety of European hotspots, including Westminster Abbey, Mozart’s wine cellar, Frankenstein’s Castle, and Adolf Hitler’s bunker. There is an extensive U.S. collection as well, with keys from the Pentagon and the White House bathroom, and the international collection spans a key to a Peruvian monastery and a key made in Egypt.
If you look closer, keys from even more precarious circumstances can be found. There are keys to robbed banks, the dressing rooms of Hollywood actors, and yes, a piano key. Most of the keys, however, have been donated by the guests of the Baldpate Inn, spanning a wide variety of states and countries. If you visit, you can make a donation too!
The idea to put a key collection in the Baldpate Inn actually stemmed from The Seven Keys to Baldpate, a fictional book written in 1913 about a man who visits the then-fictional Baldpate Inn to find some peace and seclusion. However, unbeknownst to this man, six other characters also have a key, and they promptly open to door of the inn and distract him.
Due to the similarity of the Estes Park lodge to the inn described in the story, the owners decided to name the hotel after the Baldpate Inn. Subsequently, the key room was created to honor the importance of keys in the book, a literary tribute that has been transformed into a world record.