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Famous Guests ~ Messrs. Darrow, Frost, Ellington, and Armstrong

March 28, 2013, by Lynn Brewer

The Hotel Boulderado has been honored to have some famous people stay with us over the years. We recently started a new regular post on our Facebook page that features one of these famous guests each Friday. In case you miss one of these Facebook posts, we will be doing a wrap up on our blog each month to share with you some of our most famous guests of the past.

Clarence Darrow was one of the most famous defense lawyers of his time and stayed at the Boulderado during the 1920s. He participated in two of the most highly publicized trials of the era: the Scopes trial focused on teaching evolution in schools, and the trial of thrill-seeking killers Leopold and Loeb.

The poet Robert Frost was a frequent guest of ours during the 1930s. His daughter was a tuberculosis patient at the Boulder Sanitarium at the time, and whenever he came to town to visit her he would stay at the Hotel Boulderado. Some of Frost’s most famous poems include “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, “Mending Wall” and “The Road Not Taken”.


Musician Duke Ellington showed up on our doorstep during the 1960s with an entourage of forty people — and no reservation! We were happy to accommodate him and his entire party. During his career, Ellington elevated jazz music (which he referred to simply as “American music”) to a whole new artform thanks to his use of the big band and all its instruments.

Another jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, also stayed at the Boulderado in 1961 when he was in town to perform at the nearby University of Colorado. Armstrong became recognizable as the most famous trumpet player of the 20th century and was also well-known for his scat singing abilities.


 One interesting follow up to our last two guests. During the 1960s, not every hotel in Boulder would accept an African-American guest. The Hotel Boulderado was, in fact, one of the few establishments at the time in the city that Black guests were permitted to stay at.