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Timeline: History of The Broadmoor

September 15, 2011
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1860s: Burton C. Myers raises corn and wheat on 720 acres in the area of what would become the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club and the Broadmoor Hotel at the base of Cheyenne Mountain. He uses the corn for brooms which were sold in his store in Colorado City.

1880s: Philadelphian William J. Wilcox comes to Colorado Springs to recover from tuberculosis and buys the Myers farm and an additional 800 acres. He starts the Broadmoor Dairy Farm and is later joined by a partner, Prussian Count James Pourtales of Silesia, who made the venture a success.

1888: Count Pourtales starts the Cheyenne Lake, Land and Improvement Company to plat and market his dream, "Broadmoor City." He dams Cheyenne Creek to create Cheyenne Lake, which drains away time after time in 1888 and 1889 until Pourtales has the bottom lined with clay. Cheyenne Lake would be the focal point of his development.

1889: Count Pourtales combines all his land holdings, including the dairy farm, in the Broadmoor Land and Investment Company and plats the 2,400 Broadmoor acres. As an incentive for people to buy his lots, he promises to build an elegant European-style casino.

July 1, 1891: The grand opening of Count Pourtales' casino on the east side of his lake. A small hotel is built later.

August 1893: During the Panic of 1893, the Pourtales holdings go into receivership. The casino did not close but did not prosper.

July 19, 1897: The Broadmoor Casino burns down and is replaced within a year with a less-grand structure. The hotel was unharmed.

1909: Trustees of the Winfield Scott Stratton Estate purchase the Broadmoor-area land from the London and New York Investment Company.

1913-15: The casino and hotel are leased to Harrison Ewing for a girls' boarding and day school.

1914: Spencer Penrose of Philadelphia and Chester Alan Arthur II, son of the President, build a clubhouse on Cheyenne Mountain designed after the gourmet, culinary Rabbit Club of the Philadelphia elite.

January 1916: Spencer and Julie Penrose purchase a sprawling Spanish-style villa near Pourtales' Cheyenne Lake. It is called El Pomar, which is Spanish for the apple orchard in which it was built.

April 1916: Entrepreneur Penrose and his longtime partner C.M. MacNeill, who had tried unsuccessfully to purchase the Antlers Hotel for $125,000 controlling interest, get the option on the Broadmoor hotel site. They plan a million-dollar hotel - much finer than the Antlers.

May 1916: The names of the buyers of the 18-acre Broadmoor Hotel and Casino site as well as 400 additional acres are made public: MacNeill, Penrose and capitalist A.E. Carlton. Selling price: $90,000 cash. The Stratton Estate agrees to build a reservoir in Cheyenne Canon to guarantee future water privileges. Frederick J. Sterner of New York is hired as the architect. He had designed the Antlers as well as the Greenbriar in West Virginia.

Summer 1916: The casino is moved to a new foundation to serve as the Golf Club. Famous golf-course designer Donald Ross begins work on the Broadmoor links. The old hotel becomes the Colonial Club, which is razed in 1961.

September 1916: Sterner is dismissed as architect. Penrose chooses Warren and Wetmore of New York, architects for Grand Central Station and the Biltmore and Ritz-Carlton hotels in New York City. C. L. Wetmore shares the ousted Sterner's grand panorama of an Italian-style building of pink stucco, built east of the lake and featuring arches and a balustrade. Penrose buys 800-900 more acres of land including the "horns" (projecting rocks at the summit) of Cheyenne Mountain. Landscape architects, the Olmstead Brothers of Brookline, Mass., who had designed Central Park, are hired.

May 1917: The $900,000 bid of James Stewart and Company of New York is accepted and work begins on the hotel building, a tunnel and one service building. Penrose's boyhood friend, fellow Philadelphian Charles L. Tutt Jr., is the on-site eyes and ears of the owners.

June 29, 1918: The formal opening of The Broadmoor, called "the most beautiful hotel in America." Total cost is over two million dollars. James M. Barnes is brought in as the first golf professional.

1919: Spencer Penrose actively fights Prohibition. Before the Volstead act goes into effect he buys large amounts of quality wine and liquor and stores them in train freight cars, the basement of his home and in the hotel. His wine and liquor cellar is opened first in 1933 when Prohibition is repealed.

1921: The first Broadmoor Invitation Golf Tournament.

1925: Spencer Penrose purchases and modernizes the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which had been constructed in 1890. It has the same ownership as the hotel.

1926: Boxer Jack Dempsey, who had worked in Cripple Creek, comes to The Broadmoor to train for a fight with Gene Tunney.

1926: Spencer Penrose obtains a copy of the plans of the St. Louis Zoo and starts construction of buildings to hold his private collection of animals which had been kept on the grounds of El Pomar over the objections of neighbors. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is built on the side of the mountain and grows as friends give Penrose a variety of animals - Tessie the elephant, Ethel Volstead the camel, Prince Albert the elk, monkeys, polar bears, bobcats, bison, a gila monster and many more. A train is built to take hotel guests to the zoo.

Sept. 18 1928: Charles Lindbergh and World War I flyer Viscount Eric de Stroelbergh, fly a Ryan monoplane to Colorado Springs and are guests of Spencer and Julie Penrose at the Broadmoor Hotel.

1928: A polo field and grandstand are built near the Broadmoor stables west of the hotel.

1930: The Broadmoor Riding Arena is built on the west shore of Cheyenne Lake.

1932: During the Depression, El Pomar Investment Company, which controls the Penrose interests, files suit against the hotel corporation. The hotel goes into receivership and Penrose purchases it, becoming the sole owner.

1937: Penrose sets up the private El Pomar Foundation "to encourage and promote the general well-being of the inhabitants of the State of Colorado."

Jan. 1, 1938: The Broadmoor Ice Palace (renamed the Broadmoor World Arena in 1961) is opened in the renovated riding arena. Until it is razed in April 1994, the ice area is the training ground for world and Olympic champions as well as the site of hockey games, ice shows,and curling events, five World Figure Skating championships, six U.S. Figure Skating championships and three National Sports Festivals.

Summer 1938: Will Rogers Shrine is dedicated on the side of Cheyenne Mountain above the zoo. Early plans were for the tower to simply be the final resting place for Spencer and Julie Penrose from which "Speck" could look down and see what he had accomplished. As the idea grew Penrose saw its commercial value and it was changed to honor Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash shortly before the shrine was constructed.

1938: Will Rogers Stadium is built beside the Riding Arena/World Arena on the west side of Cheyenne Lake. It is the home to the Roundup, which began in 1920 as a combination rodeo and demonstration of Native American dances and ceremonies. The stadium, which had also been the site of concerts as well as home to the Colorado Springs Rodeo, was renamed for Spencer Penrose after his death. Penrose Stadium is razed in the 1970s to make way for Broadmoor West. Penrose Equestrian Center is dedicated in 1974 in Bear Creek Park.

Dec. 7, 1939: Spencer Penrose dies and is buried at the shrine on Cheyenne Mountain.

1939: Ownership of the Broadmoor Hotel transfers to El Pomar Foundation. Charles Tutt Jr. takes over as president of The Broadmoor. He had served as secretary of the Broadmoor Hotel and Land Company.

World War II: Broadmoor recreation areas, sports facilities and rooms are made available to military and their families for little or no cost. Officers who had no rooms at Camp (later Fort) Carson and Peterson Field were housed at the hotel at reduced rates.

1941: Julie Penrose hires architect Jan Ruhtenberg to design the Carriage House Museum for her late husband's collection.

1944: Julie Penrose moves into the sixth floor of the hotel. El Pomar is donated to the Catholic Sisters of Charity for a retreat center. In 1991 El Pomar is purchased by El Pomar Foundation for use as a conference facility for nonprofit organizations.

1945: "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias wins the first of three consecutive titles in the Broadmoor Women's Invitational.

Jan. 23, 1956: Julie Penrose dies and is buried next to her husband in the Will Rogers Shrine.

December 1959: The hotel builds a double-chairlift ski area, Ski Broadmoor, and a Winter House. In later years an alpine slide is added for summer visitors.

1961: A meetings, conference and entertainment facility, The International Center, is added to the complex along with the 144-room, nine-story Broadmoor South tower topped with the elegant Penrose Room. In the lower level of the International Center is an authentic pub shipped from England, the Golden Bee. The Colonial Club, the oldest building in the Broadmoor complex, is razed. Thayer Tutt, son of Charles Jr., becomes president of the Broadmoor Hotel.

February 1961: The U.S. figure skating team is killed in a plane crash in Europe. The Broadmoor's world renowned figure skating program is decimated.

1965: Robert Trent Jones is chosen to design the resort's second golf course.

1967: William Thayer Tutt expands The Broadmoor's figure skating program with a dormitory for 48 skaters, Beatty Hall. In 1980 the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame opens nearby on First Street.

1975: Russell Tutt follows his brother as president of the Broadmoor Hotel.

1976: Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay design the third golf course. Broadmoor West is completed on the west side of Cheyenne Lake. The hotel now has 560 units.

1982: A second conference/exhibition hall facility, Colorado Hall, is built. 1986 - The hotel closes Ski Broadmoor, which is then kept open until 1991 by the city of Colorado Springs and then Ski Vail.

1988: The Federal Tax Reform Act of 1969 forces the El Pomar Foundation to sell its controlling interest in the Broadmoor Hotel, the Mt. Manitou Incline and the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Oklahoma Publishing Company gains controlling interest in the hotel.

1993: Plans are unveiled for $12.2 million renovation involving the demolition of the Broadmoor Golf Club. In its place will be the three-story, 38,000 square-foot Broadmoor Spa, Golf and Tennis Club. A bridge will span Cheyenne Lake, centered with a tile-roof gazebo.

1995: Broadmoor West tower opens, increasing the resort to 700 rooms. In July the resort is host to the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Women's Open.

March 1998: El Pomar Foundation, which has distributed more than $200 million in grants since it was founded by Spencer Penrose in 1937, is named the National Outstanding Foundation.

2000: The Broadmoor sets a record, earning the Mobil Travel Guide's Five-Star rating for 40 years. This surpasses all other hotels.

April 2002: A two-year, $75 million makeover is completed.

September 2003: The Broadmoor Hotel and Resort announces plans for a $160 million expansion over five years. Included are a 60,000 square-foot events center with rooftop tennis courts, an underground parking structure, 160 luxury condominiums and townhomes, a seven-store retail complex, expansion of the nine-hole south golf course into a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole course and demolition of aging buildings on the hotel's perimeter including a service station and garage and Broadmoor Florist Gifts and Greenhouse.

Resources: Sources: Gazette research; The Broadmoor Story by Helen M. Geiger; Broadmoor Memories by Elena Bertozzi-Villa

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