The land that originally held a Colorado Springs dairy farm and gambling casino in the late 1800s was transformed into The Broadmoor, one of Colorado’s most iconic luxury resorts, with the vision and guidance of founder Spencer Penrose. The resort’s doors opened to the world on June 29, 1918, and the rest is history.
A centennial celebration of this magnitude is too much for just one weekend, so each month in 2018 will commemorate a specific era in the resort’s rich history with special events, activities and packages. An anniversary gala on June 1-3 and the return of the U.S. Senior Open Championship golf tournament for the eighth time on June 25– July 1 are two of the year’s major highlights.
7 lesser-known Broadmoor facts that might surprise you …
1. The skating arena spawned world champions. Peggy Fleming and Jill Trenary honed their skills at the on-site Broadmoor Ice Palace, as well as Hayes Alan Jenkins and his brother David Jenkins. The facility was converted from an indoor riding arena after Penrose and his wife, Julie, saw threetime Olympic champion and film star, Sonja Henie, skate in Chicago. The facility closed in 1994.
2. The nation’s only mountainside zoo is perched just above the hotel. Penrose was a collector of wild—and not-so-wild—animals. Penrose’s elephant, Tessie, was a retired circus performer, and his menagerie was housed on the hotel grounds where the South Tower now stands. Due to the noise and smell, he built Cheyenne Mountain Zoo that opened in 1927 and is a nonprofit entity.
3. A sea lion once took a stroll inside the hotel. In the 1960s, sea lions resided in the hotel’s central Cheyenne Lake. One of the curious creatures exited the lake and made its way to the hotel’s mezzanine. From there, it flopped down the escalator and over to the front desk. The sea lions were later relocated to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
4. Works from the world’s largest Western art collection on display. Philip Anschutz, who purchased The Broadmoor in 2011, owns the world’s largest collection of Western art. More than 175 works from the collection are featured at the resort and nearby sister properties, Cloud Camp and Ranch at Emerald Valley.
5. One of the hotel’s original murals contains an obvious and intentional mistake. Penrose hired skilled Italian craftsmen to construct The Broadmoor’s original interiors. In the Main Building, look up at the ceiling fresco in the mezzanine’s Center Lounge and you’ll see a dancing cherub with reversed feet. Legend has it that the artist intentionally created the flaw in accordance with the idea that only God is perfect.
6. An archivist is on staff. So intertwined is The Broadmoor with Colorado Springs at large that an archivist was hired in 2007 to review and acquire historic material related to the resort.
7. One of the most dedicated employees ever known. Louis Stratta was The Broadmoor’s executive chef when the first guests were welcomed on June 29, 1918. He remained a constant presence in the kitchen until his death in 1976. A drawer full of uncashed paychecks was discovered in his quarters on the resort’s grounds, and his apparel mainly consisted of chef’s uniforms.