As mentioned in my most recent blog, two of Colorado’s best-known historic properties are marking significant anniversaries. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver wrapped up celebrating 125 years in 2017. The Broadmoor is embarking on a yearlong salute to 100 years of rich history in Colorado Springs in 2018.
I’m a big fan of historic properties that have withstood the test of time and continue to serve groups and leisure travelers in style. Last time, I wrote about lesser-known facts about The Brown Palace, so this time it’s hats off to The Broadmoor in the form of seven fun facts shared by Allison Scott, longtime communications director for the resort.
1. Count James Pourtales came to the United States from Prussia and developed the concept of building a casino on the property that is now called The Broadmoor. He constructed Cheyenne Lake to enhance the beauty of the land, but 14 days later the lake mysteriously emptied itself due to prairie dogs and had to be filled with clay at great expense. The lake remains one of the resort’s key features.
2. The Broadmoor’s founder, Spencer Penrose, was a wealthy Philadelphian who chose not to use family money. Venturing West, he amassed a fortune through real estate, gold mining and ore processing in nearby Cripple Creek, Colorado. Penrose also developed a foundry for ore extraction from his copper mines in Utah.
3. Spencer Penrose had a glass eye and switched back and forth between two versions: one was clear for normal use and the other bloodshot for after drinking.
4. The name Broadmoor described the area that was originally occupied by a dairy farm and then the casino. Since the name was already in use by the late 1800s and could not be used by the hotel, the “a” in Broadmoor was raised so it could be copyrighted. There is an urban legend to this story that involves Penrose riding his horse into the lobby of the Antlers hotel, owned by Colorado Springs founder General William Jackson Palmer’s estate, and offered to purchase it. He was declined and raised the “a” as a putdown to the Antlers.
5. Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm, most famous for designing Central Park, created The Broadmoor’s grounds. Olmsted had retired and his sons did the work that encompassed not only the hotel grounds but also the Penroses’ house, El Pomar, just west of the resort campus. Philip Anschutz, current owner of The Broadmoor, has placed the property in a 100-year trust to preserve it for the next generations and keep the grounds as original as possible.
6. When the hotel opened in 1918, there was a Turkish bath located behind the front desk, with facilities for both men and women. This was the hotel’s first spa.
7. When the hotel opened, the legendary Donald Ross designed the original golf course. In the late 1940s, Robert Trent Jones Sr. was hired to create what is now the East Course. He came back a few years later and completed the West Course. The 2018 U.S. Senior Open will be held exactly 100 years after The Broadmoor officially opened its doors on June 29, 1918 and is the 23rd major championship held on the resort’s links.
For more fun facts from The Broadmoor’s history vault, make sure to see the Flashback featured in the upcoming Spring 2018 issue of Colorado Meetings + Events. Happy birthday to these two significant Colorado properties!