The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is a beautiful, historic building that is well worth seeing in every season. The rectangular “barky” building is located right on the banks of the North Inlet/Tonahutu River which flows into Grand Lake. The interior is a breath taking surprise with amazing views of the river, two fireplaces, beautiful stained glass and decorative wood work. Historic photos are displayed. The hotel is located on the second and third floors above the restaurant and offers seven rooms, each decorated in a different theme. The Rapids is located just one short block from the end of Grand Avenue, the main street in town. There are also three cabins on property circa 1925. Don’t miss stopping by to explore, dine or stay.
The Rapids opened on June 12, 1915 and was built by John Lapsley Ish and his family. The lodge had running water and baths, with electricity provided by an "overshot" water wheel in the nearby Tonahutu/North Inlet Creek. Ish used local Lodgepole pines and built his own sawmill on the site. J.L. Ish was three months old when he left Missouri in a covered wagon with his parents and he was six months old when they reached Denver in 1863. The family, including eleven children, lived on a farm outside of Denver. In 1881, when Laps Ish was 18 years old, he came to Grand County, staking claims outside of the mining town of Teller in the mountains north of Grand Lake. He mined for 4 years. He carried mail from Teller to Grand Lake (using skis or snowshoes in winter). Ish married and homesteaded with his family near Rand. He built the Rand Hotel, operating it with his wife until 1910. After a brief stay in California, they moved to Granby, built the Middle Park Auto Company garage and ran a stage line to Grand Lake. The Ish Family operated the Rapids Lodge in Grand Lake for many years. The Pine Cone Inn was also constructed by him and managed by his son, Leslie.