The piedmont below Cheyenne Mountain, just south of town, became known as the Broadmoor. Early irrigators tapped into Cheyenne Creek, building ditches and reservoirs for agriculture. The Broadmoor Dairy was a large operation that provided fresh milk and cream to regional residents and tuberculosis sanatorium patients for many years. Owner Count James Pourtales, a Prussian diplomat who arrived in 1885, formed the Cheyenne Lake, Land, and Improvement Company, built a new reservoir, and divided the land into large lots.
Several wealthy residents built the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club, formally organized in 1891, on one of these lots, with tennis, golf, and horses as amenities, but the polo field became its most famous diversion. Count Pourtales built a casino that opened also in 1891, beyond the city limits and its restrictive ordinances. Offering live music, cocktails, and gambling, he intended a palace of refined pleasure to complement the nearby country club.
Pourtales sold his Broadmoor land holdings to the estate of Winfield Scott Stratton to fund and build the Myron Stratton Home for the indigent. Most Stratton properties were sold to wealthy mining magnate Spencer Penrose’s Broadmoor Land Investment Company in 1916, including the 450 acres with lake and casino. Living with wife Julie in El Pomar, a Mission Revival villa west of the country club, Penrose announced he would build a new Broadmoor resort.
The Mediterranean-themed, pink stucco building with red tile roofs opened June 29, 1918, exquisitely decorated throughout and hosting 350 guest rooms. The Penroses spared no expense, with full-service shops, fine art, a front entrance and grounds designed by the famous Olmsted landscape architectural firm, and hosting the best golf course in the West. It was a playground for the wealthy, and the hub from which Penrose built complementary companies.
Throughout the years he added a rodeo and race track, more polo fields, a world-famous ice arena, and increasingly more golf courses. He also developed events and programs to serve as a sports hub, contributing to the reputation for Colorado Springs as an amateur athletics node.
The company built the Rosemont Reservoir in 1932 on the south slope of Pikes Peak, giving the resort dependable water via a new 13-mile pipeline. The residential area that grew up around the Broadmoor maintained independence until 1973, when the city purchased the Broadmoor water rights and facilities. The area was formally annexed into city in 1980.
Generously Submitted by Dr. John Harner, Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs