Fun Facts From The Broadmoor
FUN FACTS FROM THE BROADMOOR
• Count James Pourtales, being a man of vision who developed the concept of building a casino on the property that is now called The BROADMOOR, came to the United States from Prussia.
• Pourtales built Cheyenne Lake to enhance the beauty of the land but fourteen days later the lake mysteriously emptied itself, so at great expense the excavation was filled with clay. Today, the lake remains one of The BROADMOOR’s most enduring features.
• Spencer Penrose made his vast fortune in real estate, gold mining and ore processing in nearby Cripple Creek, Colorado and Bingham Canyon, Utah. Penrose also developed a foundry for ore extraction from his copper mines in Utah.
• The name Broadmoor was in use by the late 1800’s and was unusable. This issue was resolved by raising the “a” in Broadmoor, thus making the name unique and it was copyrighted. (There is also “urban legend” to this story that surrounds Penrose riding his horse into the lobby of the Antlers hotel, owned by General Palmer’s estate, and offered to purchase it. He was declined. The legend goes that he raised the “a” as a putdown to the Antlers.)
• The New York firm Warren and Wetmore designed The BROADMOOR, the same architects that designed Grand Central Station.
• Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm, most famous for designing Central Park, designed The Broadmoor’s grounds
• The friezes that decorate the exterior of The BROADMOOR were designed and executed by famous artist Paul Deneville.
• On the Mezzanine of the Main Building, in the Center Lounge, see if you can spot the intentional error in the man dancing on the ceiling—look at his feet!
• When The Broadmoor was being constructed, gold tailings from the processed ore from Cripple Creek was used in making the cement for the main structure of The Broadmoor. So in reality, The Broadmoor has gold within its structure.
• Swimming, fishing, and ice skating were all activities that Cheyenne Lake offered when The BROADMOOR first opened.
• When the hotel opened in 1918, there was a Turkish bath located behind the Front Desk. This was the hotel’s first spa.
• The lake held several AAU swim meets in the mid-1920’s, along with a Miss Broadmoor bathing beauty contest. Later on, it was used for water skiing.
• There used to be a beach at the north end of lake for employees. You could drive right off the street to the parking area that was located there.
• The shell of the original swimming pool is still located in the basement of The BROADMOOR under the Signature Shop
• Spencer Penrose built the highway that runs all the way to the summit of Pikes Peak for $250,000, a feat that today would cost millions.
• The Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak was bought by Spencer Penrose in 1925 and is still owned by The BROADMOOR
• Spencer Penrose’s prized Pierce Arrow racecar, known as the “Yellow Devil”, is on display at the Carriage Museum opened in 2006.
• Spencer Penrose had a glass eye. He actually had two; one that was clear and one that was bloodshot that he would put in after he had been drinking.
• Spencer Penrose’s horse’s name…. Rabbit.
• Penrose never hired Annie Oakley. She was never associated with Penrose or the hotel. There is urban legend that she ran the shooting academy, but she was already elderly and in poor health when the hotel opened and she was living back east.
• Spencer and Julie Penrose are entombed in the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun that sits above The BROADMOOR and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Also in the Shrine are Penrose partners Horace Devereaux and Harry Leonard, who both lived at the hotel during different times. Devereaux was associated primarily with polo and Leonard was involved in Cripple Creek mining and was Penrose’s go-to person when he was traveling.
• In 1959, Jack Nicklaus birdied the final hole (# 18 on the Eat Course), to defeat Charlie Coe in the finals of the United States Amateur Championship. This was Nicklaus' first major championship victory.
• When Executive Chef Louis Stratta retired, he went to visit family in his native Italy, but he only owned chefs uniforms. Director of Food and Beverage, Bill Roub, had to take Chef Stratta shopping for clothes so he could travel.
• When Chef Louis Stratta passed away he had a small drawer full of pay checks he never cashed. He was chef from the hotel’s opening until 1976!
• In the mid 1950s, Cheyenne Lake had several sea lions that were kept on property to entertain the guests. One of them decided to take a “stroll” one day, going into the Mezzanine, down the escalator and to the front desk, where it proceeded to bark at incoming guests until it was removed by grounds staff.
• In the West Lobby there are three different bees painted on the ceiling. If you look up at the Front Desk, up in front of the doors to the lake, and up in the lounge area, you can see the bees incorporated into the paintings. They’re hidden, so look closely!
• Where South stands, Spencer Penrose housed wild animals before he built the zoo.
• There used to be a train that ran from outside the old World Arena on the west side of the lake up to the buffalo pens (now Pine Terrace) and the zoo.
• A staple of the Broadmoor community was the original drugstore that closed in 1999 and was replaced by Cheyenne Gourmet.
• The Broadmoor was one of the first hotels in the United States to have a computerized front office check-in system. Implemented in the late 1970s by G. Russell Freymuth, then General Manager and future Vice-President of the Broadmoor, the system was developed by IBM specifically for The Broadmoor and has been implemented in several hotels, including the Opryland Hotel.
• Pauline Chapel behind the West Building, was built by Julie Penrose and is named for her granddaughter, Pauline. Julie Penrose was a devote Catholic.
• In the late 1800s, The Broadmoor was a popular respite for the wealthy who were afflicted with "consumption," now known as tuberculosis. The high altitude and clean air was believed to be good for the lungs.
• There is a labyrinth of tunnels that runs behind and under the property. They were used by staff to move from one building to another so that they did not have to walk on the guest floors and corridors. During a renovation in 2001, many of the tunnels were filled with piping and equipment needed to update the hotel.
Allison Scott, Director of Communications, The Broadmoor email@example.com
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