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The Rocky Mountain News

Denver, Colorado, Wednesday Morning, October 11, 1871


Southern Colorado.

Glen Eyrie, the new summer residence—The Little Garden of the Gods”—General Palmer’s house described—The devils punch bowl—La Font, the soda springs—Building enterprises.


[From our regular correspondent.]

                Glen Eyrie, October 7, — This novel term of foreign extractions is the name applied to a novel habitation being erected by General Palmer, in one of the most novel and picturesque places I have yet seen in the Rocky mountains. It is located in the “Little Garden of the Gods,” or the Garden of the Little Gods, where Camp creek comes out of the mountains about two and a half miles northwest of Colorado City. It is a wild, romantic spot, and nothing but a romantic turn of mind would have prompted any human creature to build a costly habitation in such a place. It is simply a little opening or park of a few acres, among the rocks, with a natural gate-way on the east, between two great lodges or red and gray sandstone, with the mountains rising abruptly on the west, and vast monuments and ledgers of rocks on every hand, worn and chiseled by time into a hundred fantastic figures. The palatial structure that is to adorn this mountain glen will be pre-eminently a magnificent work. When completed it will contain one hundred and fifteen thousand feet of lumber. It is termed Gothicia style, and stands in the form of a Latin cross. Its dimensions are 76½ x 56½, three and a half stories including basement, which extends the full size of the building. The foundation story is a system of solid stone masonry, walls two feet in thickness, extending into the ground from three to four feet. In the center of the building a chimney eight feet square, resting on solid earth in the basement and reaching to a height of fifty-eight feet, is to be erected, with sixty thousand bricks. On the northeast an octagon tower, twelve feet square, extends from the main floor to a height of forty-four feet. There are to be seven rooms twenty four feet square, and twelve feet between floors. Total number of rooms, twenty-seven. Four folding doors shutting into four corners of the great chimney, are so arranged as to throw into a single room the parlor, dining room, library and reception room. The large rooms are in octagon form and will be finished and furnished most elegantly. A porch on the east side, 9 x 22, will be finished for a conservatory with glass front 12 x 22. There are three porches, including conservatory, with flat roofs and balustrades around them, and doors opening out from the floor above on to each porch. The octagon tower will be a system of gorgeous bay windows, that will afford a limited view of the rocks and mountains that fence it in, and an unlimited stretch of vision into the blue dome. In addition there will be two more expensive bay windows, one to cost over $1,000—enough to render some poverty-stricken wretch we know of—happy.

                The basement story is eight feet between floors and is divided into apartments as follows: Laundry, wine-room, pantry, vegetable room, and coat and wood room. Nine fire places will serve to heat the building and thaw the spirits of its hermit dwellers. Water is to be conducted by pipes from the creek above, and carried into every part of the building. To guard against fire, water hose or pipes control all the floors, and are to be so arranged that water can be forced into each room, and over the entire building. Bath rooms, several in number, are being provided where baths of any desired temperature may be obtained. Walks and carriage-ways will extend around the building and diverge in various directions. It is intended to be finished and furnished on the most improved modern plan: but I think it will look something like an ancient ducal palace. The roof is to be of iron, and when the edifices has received its finishing touches, and its internal fixtures are complete, and the house is ready for the master, $30,000 will not cover the cost. The architect is J. L. White of Greeley, and the builder is L. Whipple, of the same place.


                Up the creek about half a mile above Glen Eyrie, where the little stream gurgles between two vast rock walls, is the “Devil’s punch bowl.” It is hardly reasonable to suppose that the devil ever took his punch out of such a bowl, and the wary old chap would scarcely risk his scalp so near the gods of the garden. The bowl is simply a little reservoir about 16 x 20 feet over, and probably five feet deep at the base of a cliff, where the creek drops over a fall of twenty or thirty feet, alighting on a rocky bed. Thus by their incessant abrasion the waters have worn into the solid rock and form this unique basin, in a lark, wild gorge of the mountains. It stands full of water, as clear as crystal. A few bushes, trees and views are in the cañon below, and interminable rocks hang over and around it.


                Here are the soda springs, as ever, only changed in name. I wish our language was so prolific in terms that we wouldn’t have to borrow names from a foreign tongue.

                A wooden, one story hotel building, 30 x 180, stands a short distance above the springs. It occupies a pleasant location and looks cozy and inviting. There are twenty or twenty five rooms, suitably furnished, well lighted and ventilated. They didn’t pretend to raise the dead yet, but they earnestly profess to heal the sick.

                The bath house over the large spring is something like Madam Eve’s dress. A vary respectable looking building stands on the brink of the creek below the springs, where, I am told, a system of baths is to be established, as it should be, with cold or tepid waster as parties may desire.

                In connection with the hotel, there is a good stable 26 x 50, with a capacity for twenty horses. The landlord informs me that $50,000 worth of buildings and other improvements are soon to be established here.

                Rocky mountain lions make frequent nocturnal visits to the springs for their health, and one more bold than the rest, ventured to snuff around the landlord’s hen house, a few nights since. Failing in his coveted feast of poultry, he went away mad, and when a short distance from the house set up such an unearthly howling as to make the hills tremble, and to frighten the inhabitants half out of their senses. The landlord thinks he doesn’t want any of that kind of stock.

                This is a long rambling letter, but I have had to take in a great scope, and touch on a hundred different interests. Much yet remains to be told, but for the present I am compelled to stop here.



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