Friday, March 20, 2009

The True Story of the Broadmoor

The Broadmoor Hotel started out as a hotel and casino. Count James Pourtales owned the hotel and casino, he was an old family friend of the Penroses and the house in Philly was always open to him. My grandfather loved it when the Count stopped by. The Count also was a partner in the Commonwealth Mine in AZ. My Uncle Richard sold his shares of the mine to the Count and those shares made the Count a VERY wealthy man.

The old Broadmoor was purchased and a new one built, 1918 was the year it opened. There were 100 Colorado Springs citizens who were investors in The Grand Dame but I only know a few: Spencer Penrose, Charles M. MacNeill, Charles L. Tutt Jr., A.E. Carlton, B.H. Hopkins, Clarence Carpenter and E.P. Shove. Not all of them put in the same amount of money, the biggest investor was Spencer Penrose. One by one the investors died or sold their shares so by 1937 receivership of the hotel was sold, in 1942 Spencer Penrose had his foundation The El Pomar Foundation buy the Broadmoor. So the foundation owned 100% of the hotel.

By 1959 Spencer Penrose was planning on selling the hotel to the Gaylord's, Mr. Gaylord had always wanted to buy the hotel and my father was going to sell it. The plan was to sell the hotel and go to Africa (I don't know why Africa, I know my dad had friends there. I was going to be sent to a school in Europe and I was very excited about it). That plan never happened. So, in 1992 what my dad had planned for the hotel came to be, The Grand Dame was sold to the Gaylord's.

When she was built her capacity was 600, W.S. Dunning was her manager. It was operated on the American Plan (I have no idea what that means) and it had "a la carte" restaurant, the swimming pool's water passed through a violet ray machine to destroy bacteria. The Grand Dame was fireproof, you could play golf, hike or go horseback riding. To make a reservation, you had to write in.

The first time I walked into her lobby, my father said, "I built this." I always called the Grand Dame, the house my daddy built and worked in.

She is a beautiful hotel, she stretches her arms out to give a traveler rest and comfort. She feeds, clothes and cuddles a person as you would a newborn. For me, she has always had a life about her. When the Gaylord's bought her, they gave her much needed care, a facelift and put the crown back on her head. She looks a tad different but still beautiful and she will be here long after we are gone, still giving shelter, warmth and food.


The Acolyte Tao said...

I have to say, everything in your blog is basically a giant history lesson for me. =P
That's not a complaint, that's a good thing!

Looking to the Stars said...

Acolyte Tao, thanks, glad you enjoy the history, I enjoy sharing it :)

Lydia said...

You really brought the Broadmoor to life here in this post. It's a love letter to the hotel. How amazing to see it and know your father built it.
I have found a couple of other postcards from/about it and will post later on. It's fun now that I know you I feel differently about the postcards than I did about the first one I posted!

Looking to the Stars said...

Lydia, Thanks. I tried to bring The Grand Dame to life for others, thank you for letting me know I succeeded.
I can hardly wait to see your other postcards :)

Kay Dennison said...

What a great history lesson. And WELCOME to the Blogosphere!!!!!

Looking to the Stars said...

Thanks Kay, I love your blog! I was thrilled when I found it through "A Piece Of My Mind"