Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, Colorado Springs, Colorado, ca 1935
The linen type, tinted postcard above of the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun in Colorado Springs, Colorado dates from the 1930s. Thanks to my brother and his wife for sending this card to me together with several others they found in Austin, Texas while there last April. This card caught my eye partly because the tower is from the same era as the Mt. Constitution Tower on Orcas Island and a replica of another similar one at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Preserve near Austin, Texas.
The photographer is Harold Sanborn who took photographs comparable to those by Ansel Adams and William Henry Jackson. Sandborn then turned his pictures into penny postcards beginning in the early 1920s to the 1950s, selling them in drug stores and other retail outlets. Many of his pictures were landscapes and were real photos not halftone hence the resolution is better. The collection is worth approximately $500,000.00 today and contains 40,000 postcards, hundreds of negatives and transparencies together with detailed notes on each image. Derick Wangaard, who has owned the collection since he bought it from Sanborn's widow, Betty, is selling it partly because it is starting to deteriorate and needs to go somewhere it can be maintained such as an historical society. Because it is considered a invaluable resource and a Colorado treasure the Colorado Historical Society is trying to make sure this rare collection remains in the state. One hopes they will be successful.
The Shrine was named for American humorist Will Rogers who died in a plane crash the same year the structure was being built. Images of his life and are displayed throughout upper three stories of the interior. Painted murals by Randall Davy depicting the area’s history, people and events occupy the first floor and the first two levels of stairways. In a chapel below the first level European works of art from the 15th and 16th century are displayed. The five story observation tower overlooks The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods. Completed in 1937 it is situated on a promontory of the mountain at 8,136 feet or 2.480 meters elevation on the Cheyenne Mountain Highway and has views of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs and the plains. The shrine is also the tomb for Spencer and Julie Penrose who were instrumental in the development of Colordao Springs. Eric Bransby restored the Davy murals in 1994 and that same year the shrine was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Westminster chimes are played on a vibraharp are played every quarter hour and can be heard 20 miles away. At night floodlights illuminate the tower.
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