The Stanley Hotel – Freelan Oscar Stanley and its History

Austin Weishel Sculpting The Stanley Hotel
Austin Weishel Sculpting The Stanley Hotel

Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado

When most people think of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, they think of a historic building, paranormal activity, and, of course, The Shining. People often correlate Mr. Stanley to his hotel and don’t know much more. However, Stanley was more than these tales. He built his resort in 1909 for upper-class Easterners and a health retreat for those who suffer from pulmonary tuberculosis. Freelan Oscar Stanley was an American inventor with a deep passion for auto motor vehicles. Specifically, his most prized mode of transportation, The Stanley Steamer.

Capturing Stanley’s passion

As an artist deeply passionate about cars, I can relate to this passion. I see cars as more than just practical modes of transportation. They are intricately designed works of art that have played a significant role in shaping human history. When I think of automobiles, no one embodies the spirit of innovation and artistry more than Freelan Oscar Stanley.

How an entrepreneur changed the auto industry

I felt incredibly fortunate to honor Stanley, not only for being a hotelier at his historical and famous Stanley Hotel but as a tribute to Stanley as an inventor, entrepreneur, architect, and automotive engineer. Alongside his business partner and twin brother Francis Edgar Stanley, they founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Company and produced steam-powered cars renowned for their speed and reliability. Steam-powered cars such as the 127mph Rocket Racer were an innovation to the automotive industry when gasoline-powered vehicles were the norm. The Stanley brothers dared to dream of something unique and superior.

How I sculpted Freelan Oscar Stanley

As I sculpted this piece, I wanted to capture Stanley’s physical likeness and his unwavering passion for the cutting-edge Steam Engine. In my sculpture, he stands confidently in front of the large front wheel of his own steam-powered car. Ready to take on the world, welcoming anyone who would like to join on his journey. In the photo below, you will see the clay sculpting process. I use clay that never dries, so I can spend hours sculpting the precise form to ensure every detail is included, from the wrinkles in his suit to the intricacies of the car’s steam engine. This sculpture currently stands 24 inches tall. These details allowed me to capture the movement and energy of the car and the driven emotion within Stanley. This artwork is not only a testament to Stanley’s legacy but also to my passion for cars.

Full steam ahead!

In addition to this sculpture representing an ode to the master inventor and entrepreneur, it also serves as encouragement to those who dare to dream differently and strive for something better, just like Freelan Oscar Stanley did. I hope that when people see this sculpture they will be inspired to think beyond the status quo and pursue their own visions of progress and excellence and power. Full steam ahead!


I invite you to view more of my sculpture work here.



Austin Weishel Sculpting The Stanley Hotel
Austin Weishel Sculpture of Freelan Oscar Stanley
Austin Weishel Sculpting The Stanley Hotel
Detail is shown in Austin Weishel’s sculpture of Freelan Oscar Stanley
Austin Weishel Sculpting The Stanley Hotel
Austin Weishel Sculpting Freelan Oscar Stanley, the man behind The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

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