The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

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Discover The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, which has been offering prime access to the anicent mineral waters of Manitou Springs since the 19th century.

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak was constructed at a time when the United States was defined by great economic prosperity, industrial expansion, and significant social reform.

Built in the winter of 1873, The Cliff House at Pikes Peak has been open to guests longer than Colorado has been a state, compiling a fascinating history of its own over its 125 years. The town of Manitou Springs grew up around the gold mines in the Pikes Peak area in the late 1850s. The structure that became the 20-room boarding house known as “The Inn” originally was a stagecoach stop on the route from Colorado Springs to Leadville, one of the most famous stagecoach runs of the American West. Even the earliest guests, mostly trappers and hunters on their way to or from Colorado Springs, were drawn to the inviting parlors and rambling porches. When the mines in Leadville proved bountiful, many rich capitalists made their way through Manitou Springs, bringing more business to the small inn. There were times when tents had to be pitched next to the building to accommodate the overflow of guests.

When the gold strikes in the Pikes Peak region began to play out, travel through Manitou Springs dwindled. By 1876, The Inn was struggling to find guests. Fortunately, over the next half-dozen years, interest in the town’s ancient mineral springs was beginning to increase. For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, the springs had bubbled up from underground limestone aquifers that carbonated the water and infused it with minerals. The water was cool, good-tasting and had a high concentration of minerals that benefit the body. American Indians had been drinking it straight from the springs for hundreds of years, believing them to have healing powers.

In the 1870s, Edward E. Nichols came West to fight a battle with tuberculosis. Having beaten the illness, Nichols moved permanently to Manitou Springs, a town where he served as mayor for eight terms. In 1886 he bought The Inn, renaming it The Cliff House and converting it to a sophisticated resort hotel that capitalized on the sparkling waters and mineral springs in the region. In 1914, Nichols collaborated with Colorado Governor Shoup to found the Manitou Bath House Company. The new company turned the struggling community into a resort specializing in water therapies. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak capitalized on the sudden influx of wealthy clients eager to take advantage of the healing powers of the springs. The hotel became a resort for the wealthy and remained popular well into the 20th century. In the 30 years that followed the founding of the Manitou Bath House Company, Nichols expanded the hotel from 20 rooms to 56, and eventually to 200. The result was the beautiful, four-and-a-half story building that still stands today.

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak became a prime vacation destination for the wealthy, and guests included Theodore Roosevelt; Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria; William Henry Jackson; Charles Dickens Jr.; P.T. Barnum; Thomas Edison; Clark Gable; F. W. Woolworth; and, J. Paul Getty. All guests of The Cliff House received the personalized attention expected at a premier resort hotel. In later years, a bathhouse was built at the spa, and bell boys from the hotel would cross to the spring to fill bottles and glasses with the sparkling water for the guests. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak soon became the most popular hotel and spa in the Colorado Springs region, drawing people from all walks of life and from around the world. For all its successes, The Cliff House at Pikes Peak also endured some hard times and disasters. In 1921, a flash flood roared down Williams Canyon and washed through the hotel’s Grill Room, a small sandwich and soda shop in the rear of the East wing, destroying all the hymn books and buckling the floor all the way to the ceiling.

California real estate developer James S. Morley bought The Cliff House at Pikes Peak in 1981, turning the historic building into a 42-unit apartment building. In September 2007, Gal-Tex Hotel Corporation purchased The Cliff House and immediately committed additional capital for the property.

  • Famous Historic Guests +
    "Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States. Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria. William Henry Jackson, Charles Dickens Jr., writer and editor and son of famed English writer, Charles Dickens. P.T. Barnum, American showman, politician and businessman. Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman. Clark Gable, American film actor, who is often referred to as “The King of Hollywood”. F. W. Woolworth, American entrepreneur and the founder of F.W. Woolworth Company. J. Paul Getty, American-British industrialist. "

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