George and Sue Kelly
'Kelly Place' is the namesake of our spread here, a rural directional name as in "let's go over to The Kelly Place,' once the retirement home of famed Western horticulturalist George Kelly and his wife Sue, who moved to the McElmo Canyon with a 'retirement' plan to create an oasis in the desert. (Built in the 1960's, their hacienda style home is now the Main Lodge.)
George Kelly has been called "The Father of Rocky Mountain Horticulture." He returned value and meaning of native plants in our semi-arid environment to the public imagination, as his 10 books and numerous articles attest. He was also a founder and first director of The Denver Botanic Gardens.
At 72, George "retired" to The McElmo (Kelly Place) where he and Sue turned their attention to archeology when numerous ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) sites were uncovered here. These sites, including a restored kiva, have been fully documented archeologically and are available to our guests for discovery in a uniquely intimate way through an onsite self-guided tour. Our public library located in The Lodge has ample resources about all things local and Southwest, including George Kelly's many books.
Sue was known for her award winning roses and gentle nature. Growing roses is a tradition we hope to continue to cultivate, as well as an appreciation for the splendid native grasses, medicinal shrubs, pineon and juniper that dot these compelling red cliffsides, and of course water conservation.