Albert Galaxyn Hill had “been erroneously labeled a Texan, though there is assuredly nothing wrong with being a Texan. Actually he was born in Tennessee and came to Colorado as a youth. Thus he claims Colorado as his native state, one to which he has ‘always wanted to return.’ In fact, he purchased the 1600-acre Mesa, he says, as an excuse to come back to the mountain state.” So wrote the newspaper the Free State in 1951 about oil magnate and millionaire Al Hill. In 1948 Hill purchased the mesa overlooking Garden of the Gods and had big plans for development.
Al Hill had a deep love for the landscape of Colorado. An alumnus of Colorado College, he bought Seven Falls in 1946 and developed it into a tourist destination. After having spent his childhood in Colorado, Hill saw buying the Falls as a way to tie himself to the landscape of Colorado. His attempts to anchor himself to Colorado did not stop with Seven Falls.
Hill’s newest purchase of 1630 acres atop the Mesa was fueled by a desire to build something as stunning as the scenery it overlooked. Atop the Mesa, Hill built the Garden of the Gods Club. The luxurious club included a golf course, a 90,000 gallon heated swimming pool, stables, tennis courts, shopping center, and even an oil well.
More important as the amenities, Hill wanted to build a permanent community on top of the Mesa. The club and resort were an exclusive and a temporary stay, drawing members from all over the country. However, Hill also wanted to build a more living community, with the club as its heart. 900 plots were set aside for houses to be built on the Mesa in what was described as a “dream city.” And certainly, with a view overlooking the Gateway to the Garden of the Gods, and the majesty of Pikes Peak towering beyond, it was.
All Hill’s appreciation for the natural beauty of Colorado Springs led him to purchase and develop parts of the region. He had faith in that beauty to draw people to the city and together. Hill’s desires to build community came forth in the Garden of the God Club and resort, and in the homes radiating out from it across the Mesa, amidst the same sunbeams that played across the red rocks of the Garden of the Gods.
Generously Submitted by Gabrielle Friesen, former CSPM Museum Technician