Timeline of Camp St. Malo Property
1879: Significant forest fire below the east face of Mt Meeker consumes most of the old growth (300 – year old) Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir, leaving open terrain which later becomes sweeping meadows with aspen and lodgepole pine boarders.
1910: Julius Schwartz, friend of Enos Mills and the first recorded owner of the 160-acre property, builds cabins on the 160-acre property that would become Camp Saint Malo. Schwartz called the property, “Schwartzwald,” German for “black forest.”
1912: Schwartz sells the 160-acre property to lumberman William McPhee, parishioner of the Cathedral parish in Denver, for $11,000.
1915: Small groups of campers from the Cathedral High School Choir and altar servers of the Cathedral begin going on summer camping trips on the McPhee property.
1916: A group of these boys, including Delisle Lemieux (later Msgr. Lemieux), Charles Crowley and Tom Dornan, witness a meteorite or shooting star after supper. While looking for the meteor, they find “the rock” and are reminded of our Lord’s words to Peter, “On this rock I will build my Church.” Believing God wanted a church there, they vow to make that a reality someday.
1920: William McPhee, owner of the 160-acre Homestead “gives the land to the Archdiocese of Denver in a gentleman’s agreement. They begin in earnest to build a youth camp there.
1921: Saint William Lodge is built in memory of William C. McPhee, deceased son of former landowner William McPhee. In August of that year 90 campers use the new lodge.
1934: After financial difficulties for the McPhee family, and the death of William McPhee senior, an attempt by his nephew Jock is made to re-acquire the property. Instead, the Malo family buy and gift the property to the Archdiocese of Denver. Later that year, 1934, Saint William Lodge and the 160-acre property officially become Camp Saint Malo.
1935: The Malo family donate the funds to build Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel in memory of Edith Mullen-Malo’s mother’s patron saint. The chapel was designed by noted Denver architect Jacque Benedict. The contractors were the Coulihan brothers and Charlie Miller, of the nearby town of Allenspark.
1936: June 14th – After a lengthy battle with the highway department, who wanted to blast the rock and use it for road base, the county engineers come to the dedication of the chapel. Fr. Tom Doran (present at the meteor sighting) sings “Tu es Petrus.” Saint John Lodge is dedicated the same day in memory of Edith Malo’s father’s (John K Mullen) patron saint. St. John Lodge is built at the cost of $120,000. With the addition of Saint John Lodge, the camp is now open to all boys for $7.00 per week, in addition to the choir and altar boys who continued to come free for their service to the Church. Holy Mass, candle lit vespers, hiking and woodcutting were the main activities. Once a season a midnight hike to the summit of Twin Sisters was made to offer Mass at dawn. Other activities included: swimming, softball, horseshoes, and bocci ball along with the necessary cleaning and ice storage.
1937: The stained-glass window of Saint Catherine of Siena, from the Franz Mayer studio in Munich, Germany, is installed in the chapel.
1942: Four separate Masses are offered on the summit of Twin Sisters as the now almost yearly visit of a delegation of papal nucios come to visit the property.
1947: The statue of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, is erected on a rocky outcrop facing the chapel, and is dedicated as a memorial for the veterans of the World War II (many of whom were campers themselves or their family members).
1962: The men’s and boys’ choirs from the Denver Cathedral, along with Dennis Day, make an album of sacred song entitled “Camp St. Malo Sings” to raise money for the camp.
1960s: Winter lodging and retreats are offered to other religious groups in the “off-season.”
1970: New programs are added such as astronomy, orienteering, a confidence course (ropes course), even more handicraft activities; a consistent winter retreat program for the youth is also begun.
1973: Camp Saint Malo allows girls to enjoy the camp during gender specific weeks, with a co-ed staff. Later in the 1970s, the camp becomes co-ed at the same time.
1979: Small cabin on the property falls victim to a fire cause by a heating pad.
1984: Saint John Lodge is closed for renovations which were eventually determined to be unfeasible and cost prohibitive; the lodge is razed.
1987: Camp Saint Malo Retreat and Conference Center opens as a facility for adult retreats/events.
1993: August 13th – Pope Saint John Paul II visits Camp Saint Malo while in Denver for World Youth Day. The Pope has lunch, takes a nap, hikes up Cabin Creek stopping to read German poetry on a rock, visits and prays in Saint Catherine Chapel, and bestows his personal blessing on the chapel. To the consternation of the Secret Service and Swiss Guard, Pope John Paul II then visits with the cheering public gathered behind barricades to the north and south on Highway 7.
1999: Boulder County designates the chapel an Historic Site.
2003: Archdiocese of Denver transfers management of Camp Saint Malo to the Christian Life Movement.
2011: Fire devastates the conference center; plans to rebuild are explored.
2013: Torrential rains devastate much of the terrain in Boulder and Larimer County. Flooding and mudslides caused significant damage to the Camp St. Malo property along the Cabin Creek drainage, though the chapel remains untouched. The intercession of Pope St. John Paul II is credited with sparing Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel.
2014: With the cost of flood remediation (due to the massive debris flow and terrain devastation) estimated at 4.4 million dollars, along with Boulder County judging the flood channel unstable, the decision is made not to rebuild.
2015: The Archdiocese of Denver announces plans to remodel Saint William Lodge into a new Visitor and Heritage Center and to renovate Saint Catherine Chapel. The entire property closes for 18months.
2017: October – Saint Catherine Chapel reopens to the public and sacramental celebrations resume.
2018: Saint William Lodge reopens, offering modern amenities including a heritage center, gift shop, and bride/groom rooms. Another camp property, named Annunciation Heights, is acquired two miles north of Camp St. Malo, as a diocesan Youth and Family Camp, resurrecting the dream of a youth camp in the Tahosa Valley.