How Red Rocks ALMOST Became a Mount Rushmore and a Sphinx
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an icon in itself; a place beloved by Coloradans and live music fans from all over the world alike. But, it could have looked a lot different than the venue we know today had some people gotten their way over the years. And I'll speak for most of us when I say that it's probably a good thing the rock formation was left.
John Brisben Walker is the man behind developing much of the Denver area. According to Morrison History, in the late 1800s, Walker purchased lots near the current location of Union Station, and made Denver's first amusement park, and held Denver's first rodeo. He later purchased land in Morrison, which became Red Rocks Park. In the early 1900s, the 'natural amphitheater' was said to be 'acoustically perfect,' and the actual amphitheater that we have now opened in June of 1941.
The rest is history, however, Jefferson County shared that Walker wanted to make a bit of a visual change to the natural rock formations... by carving faces of presidents into them. Given the controversy surrounding the Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota, not doing that may have been a good call.
As for Walker's son, J.B. Walker Jr. — he wanted to carve the rock into a full-sized replica of an Egyptian sphinx. A third proposal suggested carving Creation Rock into a 100-foot figure of Native American Chief Joseph to honor the area's indigenous history, which admittedly does make more sense than a sphinx.