Tag Archives: Broadmoor

Outlaws and Desperados

Outlaws and Desperadoes

Spencer Penrose with pal Harry Leonard, outlaws and desperados, in their twilight.

A writer’s life often requires switching gears and topics while awaiting the next step, another round of edits, a transition in story format, publication. My Work In Progress is a biography about Spencer Penrose, a mover and shaker in the early days of the Colorado Springs community at the foot of Pikes Peak. With fortunes made from mining and land development, he built roads and attractions to accommodate tourists, built the Broadmoor Resort Hotel, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, Rodeo Arena, and buildings for schools and hospitals. He invested his mining fortune in the El Pomar Foundation, which continues to donate millions of dollars in grants to non-profit groups for good work and causes in the community.

In the late 1800s, Colorado Springs founder, General William Palmer, banned the sale of alcoholic beverages in his new city, in order to discourage bad behavior, outlaws and desperados. When Penrose arrived in the city, he was looking for a job and a cold drink. His prospective business partner, Charles Tutt, accommodated both needs by offering him a job, and taking him to the newly established Cheyenne Mountain Club outside the city limits where they could enjoy their favorite libations in the bar. A few weeks later, Penrose was briefly banned from the club for his involvement in a minor brawl, which disrupted the elite club and resulted in broken furniture. If his reputation as a trouble maker followed him to the freewheeling Cripple Creek mining district, it was no doubt overlooked.

By the time he moved back to Colorado Springs, the scrappy investor’s reputation was overshadowed by his shrewd investment sense and knowledge of mining ventures. He married a widow named Julie Lewis McMillan, which further settled and cultivated his behavior in public and his stature as a solid citizen with an adventurous streak and a flair for fun. The mold was set for his place as a colorful and important character in Pikes Peak area history.

Joyce B. Lohse,


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Time to get moving


Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Ah, the writer’s life. Hours slip away while sitting in a desk chair in front of a glowing screen. Then its off to find a wayward address while fighting traffic behind the wheel to get to a program or presentation book event. Gears shift again as the holidays loom and linger, allowing attention to divert to family and feast.

It is also time to get moving. When the body feels sluggish, a walk in a beautiful park or a cemetery sounds inviting. Better yet, an outing can be combined with research. Small history museum’s continue to surprise me with the treasures they display. The latest happy discovery was the El Pomar Carriage Museum near the Broadmoor grounds in Colorado Springs. After a meeting, I stopped by to study historic vehicles and carriages, to learn, and to clear my head. It was outstanding. So much to see, so little time. What a gift to myself during the holidays. This is the finest display of vehicles and carriages I have seen south of Cheyenne’s Frontier Days Museum.


Stagecoach at the Broadmoor

Joyce B. Lohse,

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Western history, Writing Life


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