Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shrine of the Sun

One of our favorite things in Colorado Springs is the Shrine of the Sun.

Built by Spencer Penrose and dedicated to his late friend, Will Rogers, it's an amazing place to visit!
From Wikipedia:
"Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is the tomb which holds the ashes of Spencer Penrose (1865-1939), a philanthropist who contributed many of the most prominent landmarks in Colorado Springs, including the neighboring Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Broadmoor Hotel . Completed by Penrose in 1937, it takes the form of an 80-foot observation tower on the side of  Cheyenne Mtn. . It overlooks the Broadmoor Hotel, and from the tower one can see the entire Colorado Springs metropolitan area and Garden of the Gods.

Persuaded not to name the structure after himself, Penrose instead named it in honor of his friend, Will Rogers,  the American humorist who died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935, during construction of the tomb.

The shrine is open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. The price of admission is included in the cost of tickets to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo."

Here are a few pictures of the Broadmoor hotel (also built by Spencer Penrose) and the shrine itself:

A few facts about the shrine:
*It was built from 1934-1937
*It's built out of 5,000 cubic yards of native Cheyenne Mtn. granite quarried from a single boulder.
*Anchored 28 feet into solid rock buttress, the entire structure, void of nails or wood, is bound by 200,000 pounds of steel and some 30 wagon loads of cement.
*The elevation of the shrine is 8,136 feet on the top deck

                                                                                                                              The chapel where Spencer & Julie Penrose are laid to rest.

The rooms are filled with pictures of the life of Will Rogers as well as Spencer Penrose.

A few facts about Will Rogers:
*Born 1879 in Oologah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
*Both of his parents were Cherokee
*Known as Oklahoma's Favorite Son
*Cowboy, actor, comedian, social commentator, and vaudeville performer
*He traveled around the world three times
*Made 71 movies (50 silent films, 21 'talkies')
*Wrote more than 4,000 nationally- syndicated newspaper columns
*Known as the leading political wit int he Progressive Era
*Top paid movie star of his time
*Died 1935 in a plane crash in Alaska

A few facts about Spencer Penrose:

*Born 1865  in Philadelphia
*Contributed many of the most prominent landmarks in Colorado Springs including;
The Pikes Peak Highway, the Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine of the Sune, the Broadmoor Hotel
*World traveler with his wife, Julie Penrose

It was really a spectacular place to visit.
Standing on the observation areas and looking out over the amazing vistas, it's easy to feel as if you're in Italy or some other foreign country.
So even though we were only an hour from home, we felt as if we'd experienced something from abroad!

I highly recommend it!

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