Known as the “Coney Island of the Rockies,” entertainment was always easy to find in Purgatory Springs. Freaks were welcomed until the Fountain of Power Church and the Klan teamed up to “sanitize” the town. In the 1960s and 1970s the freaks came back in abundance.
On-line dating had a different meaning back in the 1920s at the Purgatory Springs Arcades and Hot Springs Resort.
Summer Entertainment! Ivy Baldwin on the tight rope, 582 feet above Purgatory Canyon.
The Future? For a nickel, Esmeralda “the Gypsy” will read your fortune at the Purgatory Springs penny arcades.
Purgatory Springs and nearby Trinidad have always pioneered social awareness and acceptance. (Not without conflict). Based in Trinidad Colorado, the late Surgeon, Stanley H. Biber, was the first to do sex change operations. Even back in the 1920s, Purgatory Springs was place of wide diversity, a so-called haven for religious zealots, snake oil purveyors, Klansmen, tubercular patients, mobsters, and those deemed to be “outcasts.”
The Hilkemeier Brothers were the Kings of Polka back in the 1920s. These exiled Russians pretended to be German and were a huge hit in Purgatory Springs and the Denver Turnverein.
Whimsical Lady, Strip Poker, and Ain’t She Sweet: were the most popular “Girly” Nickelodeons at the Purgatory Springs Penny Arcades. These enticing movie machines lasted decades after their installation in the 1920s.
Acrobat extraordinaire, Ivy Baldwin, tantalizes the crowd with a preview of his upcoming tightrope walk across Purgatory Springs Canyon.
Oh what a circus, what a show. Nothing was better than the Big Top at Purgatory Springs. The Sells Floto Circus was among the most popular in Colorado.