Innsbrook Celebrates 50th Anniversary
by Natalie Macias, Brand Ave Studios Contributing Writer
Amid the everyday hustle and bustle of constant deadlines and unrelenting to-do lists, the soul yearns for stillness. Many of us turn to vacations for a break, and yet – oftentimes trips are met with jam-packed experiences and a lot of “go, go, go.” There’s a simpler way, and Innsbrook Resort offers it.
Hurry has no place there. Busyness isn’t on the radar. “The moment you hit that gate, the stress comes off your shoulders,” said Charlie Boyce, Innsbrook chairman and CEO. With its quiet hills and quaint A-frame chalets, Innsbrook has been creating spaces that impart this sense of ease and refuge since its inception in 1971.
Back to the basics
Charlie’s father, the late Ed Boyce, was the visionary behind what is now known as Innsbrook. His dream was a call to go back to the basics – where families spend weekends and summers in the woods sans distractions. All play, no work, where nature abounds. “There are so many health benefits of just immersing yourself in nature. My dad just got that,” Charlie said.
While traveling, Boyce, a young and enthusiastic 23-year-old entrepreneur, was inspired by A-frame chalets in Colorado – a seemingly perfect cabin structure for family bonding. Boyce brought this concept close to home, and his own community of chalets is now nestled in the hills of Warren County, just shy of an hour from St. Louis.
Innsbrook has grown organically 50 years later, with the help of Boyce’s partner, Warren Wobbe Sr., and developer, Les Buechele. “My father had the vision and then hired a great team,” Charlie said. Innsbrook has grown 15 times the size of Boyce, Wobbe, and Buechele’s original blueprint – then 150 acres now stretching to 7,500 acres – with 2,000 properties to boot.
Developing and community building
Innsbrook has long been a place where community is built, beginning with the original families that started the project. Charlie specifically has fond, vivid memories of his childhood at Innsbrook – growing up in the woods that he now owns.
From exploring creeks and swimming in lakes, he explained that he couldn’t wait for weekends and summers as a kid. He shares the same tenacious spirit about Innsbrook today with his own family. “I saw strong relationships and a sense of community form here,” he said. “Now, I get to see the benefits of fourth generations enjoying Innsbroook… We live here, we play here, we work here.”
Standing the test of time
The Innsbrook community has faced hurdles over the years – from a recession to an oil crisis, and now a pandemic – and they have continued to thrive amid them all. With the same group of developers 50 years later, they’ve grown accustomed to innovating, and they’re darn good at it.
For example, during the oil crisis in the ‘70s, Boyce and Wobbe would drive a Greyhound bus into the city and pick up Innsbrook residents who couldn’t get gas. This past year during the pandemic, Innsbrook put safe guidelines in place to provide the same refuge they’ve long offered to their guests –hosting concerts and community events safely. “Our souls needed a salve during this pandemic, and we were blessed to be able to provide that,” Charlie said.
These challenges and changes have further strengthened the community. “We have withstood the test of time. It’s a proven, safe investment that’s a lot more fun than putting money in the stock market,” Charlie joked.
Preserving, maintaining, adding
Preserving Innsbrook is comprised of ongoing conversations and self-reflection. Their mission year after year has remained the same: “How do we make Innsbrook better?”
Both staff and community members have a voice when it comes to the future of the A-frame haven and are invited to take part in decision-making conversations. “We have such creative input from within our community – our employees, our homeowners – we are all on the same ship and want to see it grow.
“This means preserving our heritage, maintaining our brand, adding amenities, and adding to the experience,” Charlie said. “We find creative ways to do that.”
Although the development itself is showing no signs of slowing down at Innsbrook, the slow pace of the community and chalet living still remains. “Innsbrook provides a refuge where one can say, ‘I’m supposed to relax here. I’m allowed to relax.’ That’s what we bought this for.”