A World of Inspiration

The Penrose Way

Colorado Springs entrepreneurs and philanthropists Spencer and Julie Penrose built The Broadmoor in 1918. The resort is one of many regional attractions the couple created in the first half of the 20th century, including Pauline Chapel, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Will Rodgers Shrine of the Sun, and Penrose Heritage Museum.

The passions and possessions of Spencer and Julie Penrose are showcased at the very museum that bears their name, located on property next to Broadmoor Hall, where admission is complimentary. Scroll below to learn more about our favorite couple, who traveled the world together searching for inspiration to build their own luxury hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Spencer and Julie Penrose married in London in 1906. They honeymooned throughout Europe and spent the next thirty years experiencing the best resorts, restaurants, shops, and excursions the world had to offer. They made recurring trips to Europe, Asia, and Africa each fall. They traveled by train in Pullman cars to America's East and West Coast hotels.

From these ports, they sailed on luxury steamships. Their favorite destinations were New York City, Paris, Brussels, and Honolulu. The Penroses were fond of China, Japan, and Egypt, countries they visited many times. They also enjoyed exploring the natural and cultural wonders of foreign lands and visited more than 30 countries.

During their travels, Mrs. Penrose collected fine china, stylish clothes, furs, and magnificent works of art. Mr. Penrose collected historical armaments, riding equipment, and alcohol. (During Prohibition, he famously stockpiled large stashes of liquor in secret locations around The Broadmoor. Many of those bottles are on display in Bottle Alley, next to La Taverne restaurant.) In addition to material goods, the Penroses brought back inspiration for their very own resort in Colorado Springs.

The Broadmoor opened on June 29, 1918. It combined everything the Penroses loved about their travels across the globe. The Broadmoor's Mediterranean-inspired architecture, ceiling frescoes painted by Italian artists, bamboo furniture imported from Hong Kong, and Turkish baths gave the property its unique flair.

Spencer Penrose promoted the resort and the region through sport. The Broadmoor opened with a golf course - a rarity at that time - and seventy-five miles of horseback riding trails. In the 1920s and '30's, Mr. Penrose added polo fields, shuffleboard, fishing, and an indoor riding arena. He even built a stadium to host professional football games and the rodeo he started in 1937.

After the Penroses attended the 1928 St. Moritz Winter Olympic Games, where they saw 15-year-old Sanja Henie win the gold medal in women's figure skating, they accurately predicted that figure skating would become immensely popular in the United States. Mr. Penrose converted the indoor riding arena into The Broadmoor Ice Palace in a mere twenty-four hours at a cost of $200,000. Figure skating, hockey, and even skiing were among The Broadmoor's most popular activities.

Julie Penrose made sure visitors to the resort and the city had access to fine art, music, and theater through her creation of Broadmoor Art Academy in 1919. She also took pride in providing a sanctuary of spiritual solace. The same year, Mrs. Penrose built and named Pauline Chapel after her only granddaughter. She adorned the chapel with religious paintings and relics purchased in Europe. It was her gift to The Broadmoor and the surrounding neighborhood. Pauline Chapel features three stained glass windows Mrs. Penrose commissioned in 1948. The windows of Italian Renaissance design and jewel-toned colors indicative of the Middle Ages commemorate the deaths of her young son, Jimmie, husband Spencer, and her parents.

Mrs. Penrose expanded The Broadmoor's amenities again in 1941 with her El Pomar Carriage Museum, which she created to display the collection of carriages the Penroses owned. The museum was a modern building designed by Bauhaus architect Jan Ruhtenberg, who made small-scale replicas of the carriages, artfully arranged them, and designed an oval-shaped building around them. The building was torn down in 2004. Today, the museum is next to Broadmoor Hall and is known as Penrose Heritage Museum. In addition to the Penrose carriages, the museum exhibits personal artifacts of the Penroses and a collection of memorabilia from the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, started by Mr. Penrose in 1916.

Visitors of the museum have the opportunity to experience the enduring legacy of Spencer and Julie Penrose through garments and personal affects, photographs, home film footage, and correspondence. Thirty carriages, fifteen race cars, iconic Penrose hats and outfits, personal treasures, historic Broadmoor menus, and personal letters tell the story of the founders of The Broadmoor and prominent Colorado Springs citizens.

A Wooden Box With A Couple Of Locks On It

Penrose Heritage Museum

Owned and operated by El Pomar Foundation, the nonprofit grant-making organization founded by the Penroses in 1937. Located next to Broadmoor Hall, admission is complimentary. While the museum is designed as a self-guided experience, guided tours are available with advance reservation by calling (719) 577-7065.