Colorado Springs was founded in August 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer and his vision of a first class hotel came to life; The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel opened in June of 1883. At that time the population of Colorado Springs was approximately 5,000 people. General Palmer named the hotel “The Antlers” as it housed his large collection of deer and elk trophies which was the envy of many.
The original hotel had modern conveniences such as a hydraulic elevator, central steam heat and gas lights. In addition, the property had a billiards room, music room, barber shop, Turkish Bath and children’s playroom. The hotel had 75 large guestrooms, some with balconies, and no two rooms were alike. The hotel welcomed many travelers from around the world and in fact was nicknamed “Little London” because of the many English tourists who came to visit. The city attracted health-savvy individuals seeking the high altitude dry climate, nearby Pikes Peak and the amazing natural rock formations known as Garden of the Gods.
Although being very successful, disaster struck on October 1, 1898 when a fire started at the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway Depot located near the Antlers and it burned to the ground. The hotel was evacuated in time, with no injuries reported from the guests and staff; however the building could not be saved. Palmer rebuilt the hotel in 1901 with Italian Renaissance architecture, designed by the Varian and Sterner architectural firm. The new hotel had 200 elegant guestrooms, a restaurant, and the Rose Ballroom. Palmer included fireproof walls, tapestries and mosaic floors. Over the years many influential presidents visited the hotel, including Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, who gave a speech off a hotel balcony in 1901. After William Jackson Palmer passed in 1909, Spencer Penrose attempted to buy the hotel but could not reach an agreement, so he built the Broadmoor. The second building remained in operation until 1964, with the last guest checking out on September 20th.
The hotel was then torn down and re-built, eventually re-opening on March 20, 1967. The third hotel was situated in its original location downtown Colorado Springs, however it was the first building to face the city center rather than the railroad tracks. In 1975, the Broadmoor Management Company took over the operation of the Antlers. For several years, a large double-decker London-styled bus shuttled guests between the Antlers and the Broadmoor; the route being named the “A to B”.
Today The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel Colorado Springs hosts convention, business and leisure travelers from around the world who are able to take advantage of the 27,500 square feet of meeting space, multiple in-house restaurants, and a 24 hour pool and fitness center. Over the years, downtown Colorado Springs has grown with numerous restaurants, bars, theaters & museums all within walking distance of the Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel.
Wonder what General Palmer would have to say about what he started over 130 years ago? Come and see for yourself!