Colorado pioneer, Ivy Baldwin, was well known for his
Ivy Baldwin, at the age of 12, ran away with the visiting circus.
It was there that he learned wire-walking as well as balloonist
Born Will Ivy in Houston, Texas in 1866, he later adopted the
name of Ivy Baldwin as a circus acrobat.
In 1890, John Elitch brought Ivy to Denver where he performed
balloon ascensions and parachute drops at Elitch Gardens.
He loved Colorado and became a life-long resident.
At 41, Ivy made his first crossing over South Boulder
Canyon at Eldorado Springs. He made a total of 87 crossings over the canyon,
the last on his 82nd birthday.
As a balloonist in the Spanish-American War, Ivy Baldwin
was a member of the Signal Corps and did reconnaissance
for the American Army. With the advent of the airplane,
he became a specialist in parachute jumping and made more
than 2,800 jumps from balloons and airplanes.
His various stunts took him around the world. He once
performed for the Emperor of Japan who had a silk kimono
made for Ivy with pictures of him and his wire act embroidered
down the front.
Ivy Baldwin was small in stature, barely weight 100 pounds
and 5'3" in height. His slight figure belied his
courage and adventurous spirit. He never wanted to quit.
When Baldwin walked the high wire he used ordinary cloth shoes
with resin soles. He balanced himself with a 26-foot pole
weighing 10 pounds with each end capped with a 1 pound
His most dangerous walk took place in San Francisco in
1885, when he walked a wire stretched over the Pacific
Ocean from Cliff House to Seal Rocks with a pounding
Ivy Baldwin died peacefully in bed at the age 87 at his son's
home in Arvada, Colorado in 1953.
In 1974, the high wire at Eldorado Springs was taken
down so as not to tempt adventurous youth.