James Peck arrived in Empire in 1862, struck it rich with the Pay Dirt Mine, and built the home now celebrated as Colorado's oldest operating inn. The two-story clapboard hotel with its full-length front veranda overlooks the town of Empire from a splendid hillside site. The original four-room house (now the reception, bar, and kitchen area) is a front-gabled structure on the west side of the current hotel. The large, two-story,
The hotel, opened in the 1860s, became a stage stop on the Georgetown–Middle Park run over Berthoud Pass. During the quiet decades for mining, it became a boarding-house that was often vacant. In 1958 Louise C. Harrison and Margaret Collbran reopened it as a hotel, bar, and restaurant after installing central heating and plumbing and carrying out an extensive restoration and refurnishing. Harrison, the grand-daughter of brewer Adolph Coors, tells the story in her book, Empire and the Berthoud Pass (1964).