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tv   Spencer Penrose and Colorado Springs  CSPAN  August 24, 2015 6:37pm-6:48pm EDT

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today, colorado springs is very closely affiliated with the military, with five military installations here, including the united states air force academy, so that part of the history is the idea of colorado isings as a military town simply an evolution for colorado springs as a health resort. announcer: spencer penrose built many of the prominent landmarks in colorado springs and established a foundation which gives money to people who need food, clothing, and shelter. on the c-span cities tour, we learn more about this man who helped to build colorado springs.
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>> to better understand who spencer penrose is, i thought i would read a bit from his open jury in 1939. it says he was more than a capitalist, philanthropist, he was a spirit, a hearing such as the pikes peak region had never seen before and would never see again. he was a scholar and gentlemen, a rugged individualist, a man of heart, as vigorous and sturdy as the great pioneering west he loved. he knew his own mind, and he experienced it. spencern words, who was penrose? i think of him more in terms of his legacy to the community. most obviousof the legacies is that he built the hotel here in colorado springs in 1980 team, one of the finest resorts in the world right here at the foot of pikes peak. the other is he created a inndation, the apple orchard
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spanish, and that was named after his home where he lived at the hotel, and that foundation he started in 1937, 2 years before his death, with $21 million, and today, it has grown to $580 million, and over the years, they have given away over $500 million in grants. that is almost 13,000 grants to charities in the state of colorado only. spencer penrose was born in 1865 in philadelphia, pennsylvania. born tone of seven boys richard penrose and sarah, and four of thems, live to a dull hood, and all four were very prominent, and they came from a very prominent family in philadelphia. followed brothers, one their father being a doctor at children's hospital, and a second one was actually a u.s. senator from the end of the year
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for almost 30 years, and the third brother, take penrose, was actually a well-known geologist who traveled around the world. spencer penrose was the youngest of the brothers. he went to harvard, like all penroses did at the time, and for reasons we are unsure, he had no interest in the family business, so he traveled out west and worked at a coppermine in arizona. at a fruit and inetable stand, managing it, truth or consequences new mexico, and then fortunate for him, because he really had no idea what he was doing, he got contacted by his brother dick penrose, and this was 1892, and he was in denver and told him about his childhood friend, charles, who was in colorado springs, and he had been in eight years,ngs
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himself going in 1894, and so literally about one month later, spencer penrose arrived in colorado springs, and that started a lifelong partnership between the two gentlemen. it just so happened that when reintroduced spencer to his child old friend, it was the beginning of cripple creek in the pikes creek region, so it was perfect timing in 1892 for penrose to come to colorado springs, so much so that when he arrived, my great-grandfather had just found a mine called the "cash onmine, was anothernd there claim, bob, a gentleman who actually did cripple creek, so my great-grandfather actually sold 10 rows half interest for
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$500 and loaned him the money, and that is what began their interest in cripple creek mining. our records at the foundation show that spencer penrose starting at about 1909 -- frankly, they were starting to build up towards world war i, a great amount of copper, so he was getting dividends himself up over $1 million a year, and that was not a lot of money today, but it was a significant amount then, so we started to enjoy the life of newly found wealth in place inhe bought a paris and in hawaii on visionhead, but he had a for bringing basically the east coast, philadelphia and his friends out to colorado springs, colorado. not convince them to come out and see the beauty of the region. i brought what if philadelphia and new york to colorado? of buildingis idea
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a resort, so in 1916, he envisioned the hotel. 1918,ned in december of and so that he could convince his friends to come out, he wanted to have a familiar background for them, so he chose an architect that is a firm that had just finished building grand central station in new york, so much so that he actually hired two of the artisans to pay to the ceiling of the hotel. he wanted the ground to be beautiful and feel like some glorious estate on the east coast, so he hired the landscape firm who six years earlier finished a nice new park called central park, and so he wanted to give them the feeling that they were asked you, but have it in a setting and the pikes peak region. his sense of humor, i gather he had a very dry sense of humor, and there is one story that is pretty entertaining.
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during prohibition time come he tried to bring attention to the fact that prohibition was terrible. idea, so onethis day, this elephant showed up, and he said it was a gift of the he had beennd yes to india, and there were pictures and photographs of him riding elephants, and he said he was a guest, and this maharajah gave him this elephant called the empress, and so mr. penrose paraded around, celebrating the event. to his friends, he nicknamed it tesse was a buck some bar girl at cripple creek, and it turned out this elephant was not an empress of india. it was actually a discarded elephant from a circus in arkansas, and he bought it, and he promoted it to bring more
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attention to the pikes peak region. he kept it actually in the barns of his garage where he would fix and repair cars, but the elephant kept breaking the cars and hitting people. he even had the elephant try to be a caddy on his golf course, but the superintendent got mad because he kept smashing the greens, so he had to find a place for the elephant, and he decided to create the zoo outside of the hotel, so the seey first animal zoo was tes the elephant, and it turned out he also had sealed at the lake at the hotel. unfortunately, the health code and the fact that seals would come and take food from the guest, and they did not appreciate it, and a child actually got it, so we had to do something with the seals, so in 1926, he formed the cheyenne mountain zoo. he endowed it, and it has been
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supported by the foundation ever since. it is our community-based zoos, but it is one of the finest zoos in the country, and this year, it was rated number five by a national organization. spencer penrose was known as a flamboyant character who liked to drink and to entertain people . he was actually very shy and reserved, so much so that the colorado springs evening gazette, the evening paper, used to talk about him all of the time, about the things going on at the hotel, and he got so fed up that he told them to stop it. of course, they ignored it, so in the 1920's, he bought the newspaper, and he said keep doing what you are doing, but you can no longer report on me. you cannot do that today. the legacy of spencer penrose starts with that 21 million dollars he gave in 1937 and 1939 when he passed away to endow it.
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had beenion in exact given to nonprofits in the state of colorado. it means that we have a downtown a worldnter, we have arena, the broadmoor world arena, courtesy of his money. the visitors center at the air force academy is courtesy of his resources, so the legacy of aencer penrose really is better, higher-quality of life for all of the citizens of the region and the state of colorado. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: nikola tesla was an inventor and engineer known for his contributions to electricity distribution, x-ray, and early attempts at wireless commic


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