Sunday, September 7, 2014

Antlers Hotel Pictures

Antlers Hotel around the time of its opening in 1883

If you visit Colorado Springs and wander around downtown with anyone who is from Colorado Springs, at some point the "Antlers Hotel" will probably come up. You may even stay in the current one.

Antlers Hotel 1883. The gables serve to "point" to Pikes Peak, a clever design element for the time.

Brief history - The Antlers was built in 1883 at the foot of Pikes Peak Avenue. It is the hotel where Katharine Lee Bates was staying when she wrote the lyrics to America The Beautiful.

Colorado Springs was a major tourist attraction in the 19th Century, and it was oriented around the sorts of rich, monocled gentry that you may associate with the late Victorian Age. There were dirty miners nearby, but they had their own town, Old Colorado City. It was "dangerous" but it also was very close by, maybe an hour or less by slow horse, and now it is part of Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs proper was the equivalent of today's Reno or Lake Tahoe or Myrtle Beach.

Antlers Hotel Fire 1898

On October 1, 1898, the hotel burned down. It was rebuilt in 1901. This version was vastly bigger, but still had a unique local charm that fit in well with its surroundings. It nicely framed the mountains between its twin turrets, which is the whole point of having a street that points towards one of the most famous mountains in America, the one thing that visitors who were staying at the hotel came to see. While a bit monumental in design, it also was low-key and managed not to overpower its surroundings.

Antlers Hotel site looking down Pikes Peak Avenue after the fire

JFK visited the town in the summer of 1963 and probably stayed at the Antlers Hotel. He at least visited it, as there are pictures of him nearby. In 1964, the Hotel was closed, torn down, and then rebuilt again in 1967.

Antlers Hotel ruins 1898

Images of the hotel from before it was torn down are pretty hard to find, mostly from vintage postcard sites.

Rebuilt Antlers Hotel in 1909

Antlers Hotel in the distance after an epic 1913 snowstorm

Postcard image of the Antlers Hotel, appears to be the late 1930s/1940s.
This image of the Antlers Hotel is circa 1950. The Ute were the Native Americans who lived in the area, and Ute Pass (or "the Pass") into the mountains is named after them.

The present Antlers Hilton. Pardon my critique, but regardless of its fine amenities and unique location, this hotel is an architectural abomination that belongs in South Florida, not Colorado Springs. A betting man would say that when this incarnation reaches the end of its useful life, hopefully soon, they will rebuild something a little more reminiscent of the original Antlers Hotel or the second version rather than of this monstrosity.

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