This Lesser-Known Colorado Getaway Hosted Some of America’s Most Influential Entertainers
Tucked away in the mountains not too far from Denver is one of Colorado's lesser-known but greatly influential getaways that hosted some of the twentieth century's entertainment icons.
Lincoln Hills, founded in 1922, was once the only resort west of the Mississippi River that catered to African Americans. At the time, only two other resorts in the United States also catered to middle-class African Americans. According to its website, Lincoln Hills began as "the hallmark of American entrepreneurship" and ended up becoming "a pristine, joy-filled cultural oasis" where guests could get away from the "unease, unrest, and palpable injustice" in America. Lincoln Hills was also home of Winks Lodge and the historic Camp Nizhoni, a place for African American girls to understand, learn about, and appreciate nature.
Before and after performances at jazz venues in Denver's historic Five Points neighborhood, African American musicians and entertainers would stay at and visit Lincoln Hills, probably to get a little R&R (and privacy) away from the city. Famous African American creative icons that visited the resort include jazz musicians and composers Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Billy Eckstine, jazz and pop singer, dancer, and actress Lena Horne, poets Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, and novelist Zora Neale Hurston.
The resort, located in Black Hawk, Colorado, is still around today and welcomes guests of all backgrounds. Learn more about its programs and history here.