Rebuilding History

 

 

A glint of sunrise light, from atop of Cheyenne Mountain, had caught my eye in early April. One possibility I thought of was that this could be the long-shuttered Penrose Lodge. Several years ago, my mom had told me of a day trip to the summit. Naturally, I had no recollection of such a trip. It would have been unlikely to have a memory of it since I was a toddler at the time. Could this structure be remnants of the lodge?

After conducting an internet search, I came across of a local day hiker’s video of his hike to the summit. Conversing with him via email, he surmised I could have spotted the ruins of Cheyenne Lodge (aka Penrose Lodge). The lodge was closed in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, the lodge was demolished after being vandalized many times over. What remained at the lodge site was the portions of a retaining wall, the foundation pad, and a tower. Upon seeing my photos, he wondered if the Broadmoor was building something at the summit. After all, the Broadmoor still owned the property.

 

When the Broadmoor complex had undergone a major renovation in the late 1990s, there was some talk of the lodge being rebuilt. Beyond that, it was pretty much assumed the lodge was not rebuilt. The grand re-opening of the renovated Broadmoor resort complex made no mention of a lodge. But, when I looked at the Broadmoor web site, it indicated the lodge was under construction, with a planned, late summer opening. The lodge will be known as “Cloud Camp“.

Though it’s not likely my family and I will be guests at the mountaintop lodge, the vista and the environment is likely to be rather impressive for those who will visit.

among the clouds

 

at sunset

 

in the morning

 

It is a mystery solved.

 

A Thumbnail History

In rebuilding the lodge, it is a bit of recapturing a piece of the past. The Cheyenne Lodge was originally built by Spencer Penrose in the 1930s. It was to give visitors to his Broadmoor Hotel, other tourists to the region, and residents to take in the sights. One would reach the lodge by driving the Cheyenne Highway, a road built from his zoo, through Will Rogers Shrine and ending at the summit. During the winter months, the lodge was closed for the season.

Penrose was a son of a wealthy Philadelphia family. He came west to find himself and make his own fortune. That fortune was made in the Cripple Creek & Victor mining district. His wealth from ownership of a few gold-rich mines. Though his new found wealth didn’t seem to impress his family, Penrose used it to buy the land and create the Broadmoor Hotel. Though the building style had a Spanish Mission influence, Penrose was rather impressed with The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. He wanted to recreate a similar experience in the Colorado Springs area. The area was already quite attractive to the wealthy and influential from the east. The winters not too cold, the summers not too hot.

 

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