In the early 1900s, Glenwood Springs, Colorado was a hotspot for wealthy individuals seeking the healing powers of the mineral-rich hot springs nestled in the Rocky Mountains. One such visitor, former President Theodore Roosevelt, developed a deep affection for this picturesque town and its renowned Hotel Colorado, leaving a lasting legacy and even influencing the creation of the beloved Teddy bear.
Teddy Roosevelt first visited Glenwood Springs in 1901, during his presidency. Suffering from a bout of severe bronchitis, he sought the therapeutic qualities of the town’s mineral baths to aid in his recovery. It was during this time that he fell in love with the charm and natural beauty of Glenwood Springs, often professing his admiration for its stunning mountain vistas and the rejuvenating powers of the hot springs.
One particular place that captivated the president’s heart was the elegant Hotel Colorado. Built in 1893, this Victorian-style hotel quickly became a luxurious retreat for the rich and famous, including luminaries like Thomas Edison and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Teddy Roosevelt was so enamored with this grand establishment that he made it his summer White House. He spent numerous summers there, participating in leisure activities like horseback riding, hunting, and hiking, all while indulging in the healing waters of the Glenwood Hot Springs.
But Teddy Roosevelt’s connection to Glenwood Springs reached far beyond leisurely pursuits. In 1902, during one of his visits to the town, he was invited to a hunting trip. However, no animals were spotted, leaving his hosts worried that he would go back empty-handed. As an act of good sportsmanship, local merchants presented Roosevelt with a captive black bear to shoot. But, unwilling to kill a defenseless animal, the president spared its life.
This incident quickly garnered attention in the media, leading to a political cartoon depicting the president’s compassionate act. Inspired by this, a Brooklyn couple, Morris and Rose Michtom, decided to create stuffed toy bears and named them “Teddy’s bears.” The cuddly bears, which soon became popular across the country, were later referred to simply as Teddy bears.
To this day, the Hotel Colorado remains a prominent historical landmark in Glenwood Springs, attracting visitors from all around the world. It stands as a living testament to Teddy Roosevelt’s affection for the town. Additionally, the undeniable legacy of the Teddy bear serves as a heartwarming reminder of a president’s kindness and love for nature. Glenwood Springs, with its bountiful hot springs and the picturesque Hotel Colorado, will forever be linked to the remarkable story of Theodore Roosevelt and the birth of the Teddy bear.