Photographers capture Broadmoor’s tourism history

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Mic Garafolo, owner of Mic Clik Photography and official Broadmoor photographer is the third person to hold the title in the hotel’s history. The lake is a favorite spot for wedding photos.

The phone rang in The Broadmoor hotel archivist’s office.

It was a former Miss Broadmoor Bathing Beauty on the line. She and her husband honeymooned at the hotel in 1959, and the staff photographer took their photo by the lake. Is it possible that the photos still exist?

“Yes,” she was told. “You are a part of our history.” When the couple recently returned to The Broadmoor, the photos were waiting for them.

For more than 90 years, time has passed through the lens of an official Broadmoor photographer who has captured the images of movie stars and presidents, of forest fires and Olympians. Mixed in with the rich and famous are photos of those who saved their money to honeymoon at the famous five-star resort and of hotel employees letting their hair down at the company Christmas party.

The boxes of photo negatives, and now digital photo archives, at The Broadmoor tell the history of the hotel but they also tell the story of tourism in Colorado Springs — a city where an estimated 5.5 million people visit every year.

“The Broadmoor is synonymous with Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs is synonymous with the Broadmoor,” said Terry Sullivan, former president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The notoriety of The Broadmoor made my job twice as easy — people thought if the town was suited for a place like the Broadmoor, it must be a nice place.”

Since 1949, photographer Bob McIntyre stood by documenting the hotel’s guests and events. He was The Broadmoor’s second official photographer, and it was a job he loved for 53 years, always looking forward to some new thing happening.

“He just really liked capturing a moment — a real moment,” said Julie McIntyre, Bob’s daughter, who is a photographer herself.

A stroll through The Broadmoor West’s “Wall of Fame” shows those moments — Bob Hope’s silliness on the golf course and Joan Crawford’s lamp shade hat. The photos, hanging in no particular order, take you back instantly to an era of Dorothy Hamill’s 1970s “short and sassy” hairdo and Reba McEntire’s 1980s shoulder pads.

“Celebrities were very different when he was shooting them,” Julie said. “They were much more accessible.”

Bob told stories of fishing with Jack Nicklaus and hanging out with the Fondas and other celebrities. And he joked that biggest regret was that Julia Roberts never came to the Broadmoor, “wink, wink.”

Sometimes he had only seconds to get a shot, Julie said, but, he always got it.

In 1950, when Cheyenne Mountain was on fire, he ran up behind the firefighters. At one point he was surrounded by flames and didn’t think he would get out. He still took photos, Julie said.

He took a group photo of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating team the night before they boarded a plane to Belgium, which crashed en route and killed everyone on board.

“Certainly, when he was shooting, I don’t think he thought this will be in the library, he was just doing his job,” Julie said. “I think he did appreciate the historical significance that some of his photos carried.”

Documenting the past has helped the present, Sullivan said. Inside The Broadmoor’s golf club are photos of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

“I’m sure the U.S. Golf Association, on their visit, looked at those photos and said, you know there is a history of golf here,” Sullivan said. “That nostalgic history plays a role in the current events of today including getting to host the 2008 U.S. Senior Open and the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.”

History shouldn’t be locked up, said Broadmoor spokeswoman Allison Scott. For years, the photo negatives ended up in boxes inside a vault at the hotel, but three years ago, The Broadmoor hired Beth Davis, an archivist who has been helping people get connected to their past.

“People love the property and love Colorado Springs and love to come back,” Scott said.

Broadmoor employees and former employees are sharing their memories of the hotel with a videographer. It’s a massive project, Scott said. But, their stories will soon be available on the hotel’s website.

In 2008, Bob called the Pikes Peak Library District photo archivist and told her he had a few boxes of photos to donate. He arrived with a carload, said Katie Rudolph, library photo archivist.

“I think he underestimated his life’s work,” she said.

Bob had his own filing system — celebrities, golf, figure skating, news.

“He photographed an incredible amount of people,” Rudolph said.

And, even if a person has never been to The Broadmoor the photos are an important community treasure, Rudolph said. In some cases, Bob’s photos are the only record of certain events.

Bob passed away earlier this year. His daughters carried on the tradition of taking photos at the Broadmoor, but now have their own businesses. In September, The Broadmoor named Mic Garofolo official photographer – the third in its history.

“There is a photo in the golf club of Dwight Eisenhower with some buddies, and I’m looking at that photo and thinking that is an amazing moment,” Garofolo said. “Imagine what it would have been like to be standing there for that moment. I glanced down and the signature said Bob McIntyre.”

Garofolo got the photography bug years ago when he was working at a local recording studio. The bands needed publicity shots and he picked up a camera.

“Something clicked,” he said. He bought the equipment and gear and built up his camera collection and love of photography. In recent years, Garofolo worked with the J&S Audio Visual team at The Broadmoor and starting shooting photos for the Broadmoor during his off time.

“Photography has always been a real passion for me,” Garofolo said. “It’s like a skater who worked at McDonald’s but then would go out and skate and then someday make it to the Olympics — this is my Olympics.”

In a day and age when photos can be snapped with a phone, it’s still not surprising that The Broadmoor holds on to its photographer, Davis said. There are not many hotels in the country that have official photographers, she said.

“There are still people coming here, having their weddings here and having their special events here that the hotel needs an official record,” Davis said. “It’s something that is part of this hotel’s tradition.”

Julie has now started her own horticulture business and hopes to occasionally shoot a few jobs at The Broadmoor, particularly photos for the Wall of Fame. But, she is happy to pass the camera to Garofolo, who she said has proved he loves it just as much as her dad.

Garofolo has some photos waiting to go on The Wall of Fame — one of singers Amy Grant and Vince Gill. And, he’s already shot dozens of family and wedding photos.

“We were laughing about this,” Davis said. “In 50 years, his photos will be in hot demand.”

Pikes Peak Library District has 70 Bob McIntyre photos online in its special collection. The plan is to continue adding more photos over time.