Historic Jessup Lodge at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch near Loveland demolished after September's floods

LOVELAND, Colo. - As Colorado recovers from September's devastating flash floods, the historic Jessup Lodge near Loveland is one destination that won't endure.

The floods ripped the buildings at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch off their foundations and swept them away -- including the lodge.

The ranch is located several miles west of Loveland in the foothills.

Named for the family that owns it, the Jessup Lodge -- or J-Lodge for short -- was built in the 1920s and remodeled in the 1980s. It is now owned by siblings Susan and David Jessup.

"Our parents bought this ranch in 1946 and it's been in our family for 67 years," David said. "It's been a dude ranch, but also kind of a gathering place for a lot of people who want to do weddings and retreats. It's become a community gathering place."

"We had several weddings in Fall 2013 that had to be relocated -- almost 30 booked for 2014 that are trying to be relocated," said Susan. "So much hinges on what happens with the river, what happens with the cleanup, because the river has destroyed all of the beautiful area down there that was used for weddings." 

David said last year's flood was a third or more higher than the devastating 1976 flood.

"There was one cabin that was pretty special to a lot of folks. It was Molly Brown, it was the cabin closest to the river. We started to take things out of there that day. I came down the next morning and was absolutely shocked to find the Molly Brown Cabin was gone. I mean, it was gone, there was nothing left," said Susan. 

The Jessup's said there is a lot of reconstruction that still has to happen at the ranch.

"We’re hoping to find out more in the next month," said Susan.

However, Susan and David said they will miss the lodge because it has become more than a business.

"The memories that have been made here by so many people over the years are precious -- to them and to the future of the ranch," said Susan.

From the lichen on the stone fireplace, and the wooden beams that once provided shelter, to the cook stoves that filled bellies come Easter, it all came to a violent end Friday.

For longtime employee Barb Jepson, the demolition of the lodge was very tough to watch.

"It was filled with antique furniture and always reminded me of my grandma's house," said Jepson."I'm hoping that we can come back just better, and stronger."

The owners told 7NEWS they can't rebuild the lodge in the flood plain and hope eventually to build a new dining hall on higher ground.

They said the ranch will reopen for business June 1.

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