A Short History

The unique structure that is now known as Robbers Roost was lovingly hand-built in 1976 as the home of life-long nature lovers and Utah enthusiasts Ward and Gloria Roylance. With no prior homebuilding or construction experience, this intrepid and innovative couple built their dream home entirely by themselves, at a time most folks their age were enjoying retirement!

Heavy Engelmann Spruce beams, hand-cut and trucked down from the top of nearby Boulder Mountain, were laboriously lifted into place as supports for the many 2-inch thick planks which, one by one, were secured using thousands of 16-penny hand-hammered nails, eventually resulting in the unique Tepee-Style structure that houses Robbers Roost today.

The couple also collected and artfully installed the interesting rockwork seen embedded in the walls. The wood stove is the only source of heat during many cold winters. The outdoor landscaping you see today is largely a result of their efforts — with some more recent alterations to accommodate the many visitors who come to enjoy the setting surrounding our outdoor picnic tables or to attend one of our many educational, interpretive and entertainments—from lectures on local raptors to the screening of vintage Westerns on our lawn. Many of our events are organized and sponsored by the Entrada Institute, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the human and natural history of the area and sponsoring the creation of new works inspired by the area. 

Throughout his life Ward labored in many professions, including working in the travel industry and producing books and educational materials about Utah and the Colorado Plateau region he loved best. His works have been out of print for many years but you are welcome to browse through copies on display at the bookstore.