Roadtrip Worthy: Colorado’s Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun
The famous humorist Will Rogers was from Oklahoma, but it was his close friend from Colorado who wanted to make sure Rogers would not be forgotten in Colorado.
At an elevation of over 8,000 feet, the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun overlooks Colorado Springs with amazing views of the Pikes Peak region.
Spencer Penrose was the founder of the Broadmoor Hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and was responsible for the construction of the Pikes Peak Highway. Penrose, along with a group of individuals from Colorado Springs, acquired property for the scenic unnamed shrine and construction began in 1934.
It was during the construction of the shrine in 1935 that Will Rogers was tragically killed in a plane crash in Alaska at the age of 55. Penrose wanted to honor his close friend and named the shrine for him, which was completed in 1937.
The 5-story shrine is filled with murals from New Mexico artist Randall Davey, 15th and 16th century European art, and an extensive photographic history of the life of Will Rogers from his childhood through his years on stage, screen, and radio.
The unique construction of the shrine includes no wood and no nails, but 5,000 cubic yards of Cheyenne Mountain Grey/Pink Granite, 200,000 pounds of steel, and 30 wagon loads of cement. An 80 foot observation tower provides visitors with spectacular views.
The Will Rogers Shrine is open year round, though it is subject to closure due to inclement weather. A trip to the shrine is included in your admission to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Even if you don't visit the zoo, you'll need to stop there to pay the admission as you drive through the zoo and up the Russell Tutt Scenic Highway.