Sunday, September 7, 2014

Antlers Hotel Pictures

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
The original 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 visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
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.

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
The original Antlers Hotel is in the background, so that dates this photo to 1898 or earlier. The stagecoach is not for show, that's how people got around in the 1890s. What is remarkable is the clarity of this photo, must have taken a bit of effort to set up and get just the right exposure. They are probably heading north to Denver.
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.

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This was taken before the Antlers Hotel was built in 1883, apparently in the 1870s. The Antlers Hotel gives the entire downtown area shape by closing off the street, which otherwise would appear to never end.
Colorado Springs proper was the equivalent of today's Reno or Lake Tahoe or Myrtle Beach.

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
Antlers Hotel Fire 1898.
On October 1, 1898, the Antlers 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.

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Antlers Hotel site looking down Pikes Peak Avenue after the fire. It looks like that building on the left that was visible in the 1870s shot is still there.
JFK visited the town on 5 June 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 visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
Antlers Hotel ruins 1898.
Images of the hotel from before it was torn down are pretty hard to find, mostly from vintage postcard sites.

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
Rebuilt Antlers Hotel in 1909. Doesn't have quite the same charm as the original. This is the Antlers Hotel that lasted the longest, from 1901-1964.

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Antlers Hotel in the distance after an epic 1913 snowstorm.

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
Postcard image of the Antlers Hotel appears to be from the late 1930s/1940s.
   
Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
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.

Antlers Hotel visitingcoloradosprings.filminspector.com
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 even the second version rather than of this generic monstrosity.


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