Chuck Murphy sells Garden of the Gods Campground
After 38 years during which he built the Garden of the Gods Campground into one of the region's RV go-to sites, Westsider Chuck Murphy has sold the 15-acre
parcel to a California property company.
The new owner is the Lantana Property Group of San Diego. The price was $5.5 million.
Murphy, who also owns one of the city's major construction companies (headquartered in the Westside's Midland area), described his decision as “bittersweet,” but that at age 71 it would be one less burden on his time and give him more time with his family and grandkids. His original purchase in 1968 was a “sliver” of a parcel off Colorado Avenue and Columbia Road that had been the Rock of Ages Church, he said, adding that he was chiefly attracted to the property by its stone wall along Columbia. Deciding there was a market to serve motorized travelers, he turned the property into a little campground. Over the years, in response to a market that was evolving from pickup trucks with caps to house-size recreational vehicles, he expanded the campground seven times. Now it includes 300 campsites, 23 motel units, 17 camper cabins, 2 swimming pools and a pavilion with room for 200 people.
On weekend summer nights, Murphy would often be found operating the campground's outdoors hot dog concession - never letting on to customers that he was the owner.
One of his last acts as owner was to negotiate an agreement with the city that will give the city an easement for the Midland Trail along Fountain Creek through the south edge of the campground.
Dave Loseke, the managing member of Lantana, said in a phone interview that other than widening a few spaces and implementing some “cosmetic” improvements, no changes are planned for the campground at this time.
He said his company was interested in the property because “we love the area.” Garden of the Gods is the only campground Lantana owns in Colorado. The company also has one in Arizona. He added that one of the reasons the company was looking outside of southern California was the high cost of property there.
The campground is well known nationally. Last summer visiting groups included Airstream trailer owners, and this month brought the Marathon Motorcoach Rally, including pop-out RVs that are worth $1 million or more.
Westside Pioneer article