Brown Palace

In the late 1800s, businessman Henry Cordes Brown, owner of a triangular lot at the intersectionof 17th and Broadway, retained architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design an "unprecedented" hotel in the popular Italian Renaissance style.It features the now famous eight-story, stained glass atrium lobby, and was hailed as the second fire-proof building in America. Throughout its history, the Brown Palace Hotel has played host to presidents, princesses, kings and queens, and their entourage of followers. While most people associate the Brown Palace with President Eisenhower, who used the hotel as his summer headquarters during his administration, the hotel has a long history of hosting other dignitaries as well. Below is a brief collection of trivia about our distinguished guests. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt was the first President to stop at the Brown Palace Hotel. He came to Colorado to hunt bear in the spring of 1905. He spoke to businessmen at an elaborate banquet at the hotel. This could not have been a modern-day fundraiser since guests only paid $10 per person to attend. However, he preceded the trend for cigar smoking. Fifteen hundred cigars were smoked during the event. President Roosevelt's first request on arriving at the hotel in September, 1912, was a "tub of ice water." It seems his throat was a bit dry after speaking in five Colorado towns that day. This was during his campaign for President on the Bull Moose Party ticket. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a travel allowance of $40,000 per year. A Denver reporter estimated that an eight-week vacation in Denver would cost $25,000. That included $2,500 per week lodging and meals for a staff of 17, nine Army Signal Corpsmen and an undisclosed number of Secret Service agents. President Eisenhower loved to fish. To please the President, the hotel created an ice carving of a mountain complete with pine trees and a miniature lake at the base of the mountain in which swam three tiny trout. Ike was completely enchanted with the creation and could hardly keep his eyes off the lake and its tiny inhabitants. Thus, when one trout suddenly flipped himself out of the pool and onto the carpet, Ike leaped out of his chair to the rescue, nearly upsetting the table in his eagerness to save the fish. *The Executive Chef at the Brown Palace created a special dish for President Eisenhower – Beef Tenderloin a la Presidente. Ike so liked it, he ordered it three days in a row. A wayward golf ball Ike hit while practicing in the room made the dent in the fireplace mantel in the Eisenhower Suite. It remains today as a souvenir. The Gold Room on the second floor of the hotel, site of some Bilateral Meetings for the Denver Summit of the Eight, was the room President Eisenhower used to pen some of his memoirs. President Truman, who always elected to stay at the Brown Palace, had to move across the street to the Cosmopolitan Hotel on one of his visits. He was addressing the Farmers Union and the Brown Palace was a non-union hotel. It is said that a presidential salute was fired from a cannon on the roof of the hotel when Woodrow Wilson was a guest. A report during President Harding's stay in July 1923 said that "the White House for a few hours is on the eighth floor of the Brown Palace Hotel, and it will hold this temporary site until the party resumes its western jaunt at 1:30 o'clock this afternoon." In 1919, room service head waiter Randolph Witek, who had served Presidents Taft, Roosevelt and Wilson at the hotel, reported that President Wilson was the lightest eater of the three. President Taft, he recalled, ate an enormous breakfast, while the appetite of President Roosevelt was scarcely less hearty. Royal Employees *Not all royalty has been so royal. In the 1890s, a German count that had been banned from home over a small indiscretion ran out of funds while living it up in the United States. He worked as a bookkeeper at the Brown Palace for over a year. In 1903, Count D'Agreneff, a Russian nobleman worked as a barber at the hotel and shaved President McKinley when he visited Denver. Another royal employee was Baron Gottfried von Kroenberger, a WWI ace for Germany who flew with Von Richtofen. He was head waiter when the hotel opened the Palace Arms in 1950. International Visitors *Sun Yat Sen, just prior to being appointed the first President of the New Republic of China in 1911, was in Denver raising money to free his countrymen from the Manchu Dynasty. While he was staying at the Brown Palace, the Revolution broke out and a Republic was proclaimed. It was not until years later that the coincidence of the Revolution and Dr. Sun Yat Sen's visit here was recognized in a special five-cent postage stamp issued July 7, 1942, to commemorate China's five-year resistance to WWII Japanese aggression. What royalty won't do to raise money! When Queen Marie of Romania visited Denver in 1926, she attended many royal functions, including a banquet at the Brown Palace Hotel. It was said that one of the reasons for her visit was to raise money for her country's sickly finances. It is not surprising then that she spent an hour at the Denver Dry Goods store downtown to endorse a new line of vacuum cleaners. The red granite and sandstone walls of The Brown Palace have watched more than a century of Colorado and Denver history develop. The city was a mere 34 years old when Henry C. Brown opened the doors of his monument to himself in August, 1892. It was a braggart city built by men who had made fortunes based on the gold and silver drawn from the mountains they then viewed from mansions on Capitol Hill where Brown had first homesteaded. They welcomed the new, elegant locale in which to conduct their business deals. Their wives took tea and their daughters danced at lavish balls. It was fittingly a palace for "The Queen City of the Plains" as Denver dubbed itself. Inside the hotel designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke, the eight story atrium, its pillars and wainscoting of pale golden onyx from Mexico reflecting the pastel shades of the stained glass ceiling, rivaled the grandest of hotels "back East." A massive fireplace, the mantel of which was supported by two solid pillars of onyx, was a welcome amenity when the winter winds howled down from the snow-capped peaks to the west. Through the years, The Brown Palace has seen it all - boom times and depressions, peace and war. If the walls could talk, what stories they would tell of love and betrayal, success and failure, happiness and despair. Emperors, kings and presidents have been cosseted here. Royal queens and the goddesses of stage and screen have primped in these rooms. The walls know their stories. We can only imagine them. President and Mrs. Eisenhower were the most frequent First Family to visit The Brown Palace. It served as his pre-campaign headquarters in 1952, and they spent many of their summer vacations here. To commemorate them, the former Presidential Suite was renamed The Eisenhower Suite in 1980. The Eisenhower stories are recounted during the twice-weekly historical tours (Wednesday and Saturday, 2:00 p.m.). More than 700 wrought iron grill work panels ring the lobby from the third through the seventh floor. Two of them are upside down, one to serve the tradition that man, who can not be perfect, must put a flaw into his handiwork; the other sneaked in by a disgruntled workman. Finding these bits of history intrigue visitors to the 109-year old Brown Palace.

Peter H. Aeby until 2000

230 Rooms
Palace arms, Award winning restaurant,with a Napoleonic setting Ellyngton´s, modern Ship Tavern, nautical setting
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Our Select Member Hotel

Brown Palace
Country: USA
City: Denver
Opening date: 1892

Note from the Host

General Manager Marcel Pitton


321 Seventeenth Street
CO 80202 USA, Denver

Tel: +1-303-297 3111
Fax: +1-303-297 3928

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