Myrtle Brown’s Colorado Road Trip – 1922

Posted on July 22, 2021 by Kera Newby in ,

Time for summer vacation! We’re taking inspiration from Myrtle Brown, loading up a car with a few of our friends, and heading to Colorado! 

The Myrtle Brown Collection, which is part of our archival holdings in the Dickinson Research Center, contains a scrapbook from 1922 attributed to Myrtle Brown.  Brown and several of her friends went sight-seeing throughout Colorado, visiting several famous sights that are still tourist attractions today. 

Three women sitting in an automobile. Unknown, circa 1922, silver gelatin print. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.40.

There’s something awe-inspiring about driving through winding roads with sheer cliffs that tower up (and up and up) on either side! While modern cars have numerous safety features, the car that Myrtle Brown and her friends drove this road in would have lacked even the basics of seat belts.

Climbing higher on Mt. Evans…

In this photo, one of the women on this road trip stands at Echo Lake, which is located at an elevation of 10,400 feet. The nearby Mt. Evans stand at 14,271 feet high.

Echo Lake Park is on the National Register of Historic Places, including the lodge designed by one of Colorado’s most famous architects, Jules Jacques Benoit Benedict. Interestingly enough, Echo Lake has also been designated as a historic site by the American Physical Society to honor the many cosmic-ray experiments conducted in the area between 1935 and 1960.

[First of the Seven Falls. Unknown, circa 1922, silver gelatin print. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.36.]

It may not involve climbing the 14,000 plus feet to the top of the mountain, but Seven Falls still involves some climbing! There are 224 steps from the base of the falls to the peak, and tourists like Myrtle and her friends have been climbing them since Seven Falls opened as a tourist attraction in the 1880s.

The Seven Falls are: Bridal Veil, Feather, Hill, Hull, Ramona, Shorty and Weimer.

(Fun fact: our archivist who digitized these images has stood in this exact same spot on a family vacation!)

[Souvenir ticket. Unknown, circa 1922, cardstock. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.03E.]

Myrtle Brown took the easier route to the top via the Pikes Peak Auto Highway, as evidenced by this souvenir ticket that was part of her scrapbook.

[Echo Lake near Mt. Evans, Colorado 10,400 ft, 1922. Unknown, 1922, silver gelatin print. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.14.]

[Clouds at Pikes Peak. Unknown, circa 1922, silver gelatin print. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.12.]

Pikes Peak, part of the Rocky Mountains, stands at 14,115 feet tall just a few miles west of Colorado Springs. It is named after Zebulon Pike, who despite being one of the first Americans to see the peak, never actually climbed to the top.

[Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs. Unknown, circa 1922, silver gelatin print. Myrtle Brown Collection, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1978.009.34.]

Is there anything better at the end of a long day of sightseeing than sinking into the mattress at your hotel? Though we don’t know if Myrtle and her friends actually spent the night here, her scrapbook does have a photo of one of Colorado Spring’s most famous hotels – The Broadmoor.

Located at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, The Broadmoor was built in 1918 by Spencer Penrose and his partners. (Fun fact: Penrose has been inducted into the museum’s Hall of Great Westerners!) It was intended to feel as elegant and luxurious as some of the most celebrated European hotels of the time. The Broadmoor features amenities such as golf courses, polo fields, an Olympic ice center, and a ski area.

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