Horace and Baby Doe
Seemingly, it was love at first site for both of them. Almost
immediately, the two became sweethearts and Horace moved
Baby Doe into
a suite at the Clarendon Hotel next to his Tabor Opera House in
Although, Horace was Lieutenant Governor and still married, the affair
blossomed and later, he put Baby Doe up at
the elegant Windsor Hotel in Denver.
Over the next few years,
increasingly estranged from his wife Augusta as his affair with Baby Doe
became a matter of public knowledge. Tabor once commented to Baby Doe,
"You're always so gay and laughing, and yet you're so brave. Augusta is a
damned brave woman, too, but she's powerful disagreeable about it."
Eventually Horace and Augusta parted, as
much from his abstinence as from hers.
was only the catalyst for a separation that left both
Horace and Augusta wanting,
both locked into their worlds by the very stubbornness and individual
gutsiness that had sustained them through their earlier struggles
braving the frontier.
Horace Tabor as a politician.
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Horace asked Augusta for a
divorce she refused.
Horace, not to be denied, he secretly engineered a divorce in Durango,
which was later found to be illegal. It is unknown whether
Horace knew this or was
simply defiant, but he and
were secretly married in
on September 30, 1882. When Augusta Tabor learned of the
marriage, it was too late to contest it.
The legal divorce, which
Horace continued to pursue
relentlessly, was fought vigorously by Augusta, who asked for separate
maintenance, claiming her husband was worth over $9 million. Tabor
denied it, which was probably true, with more accurate estimates
placing his worth at about three million.
After a long drawn out
and much publicized battle, Augusta did received the $100,000 a
month income, the Denver mansion, as well as other properties,
though it brought her very little happiness. Augusta
eventually moved to Pasadena,
California where she died on February 1, 1895, a wealthy,
respected and lonely woman, leaving her son Maxcy over $1.5
Meanwhile, Horace Tabor's fame grew and through political favors,
he was able to secure a 30-day appointment to Henry Teller's
vacated senatorial position in Washington D.C., where he was sworn
in on February 3, 1883. And, to wind up his short stint in
Horace and Baby Doe
were married again on March 1, 1883, in a lavish and scandalous
public ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The invitations had real silver borders with letters that
were written in silver. Baby's wedding dress cost $7,000 and
Horace gave her a $75,000 diamond necklace as a
Horace's congressional friends, including the
President, attended the wedding, but their wives refused to attend the
"disgraceful" event. The scandal of the alleged divorce and marriage
raged on, and was front page news across the country. It was an
embarrassment to Washington, as well as other prominent figures in high
After their marriage, they returned to Denver, where
a block-long mansion for Baby Doe, but
she quickly learned that not just anyone dripping with diamonds and furs
could join Denver's exclusive high society. The people of Denver
inflated horrible rumors and gossip about Baby Doe's
"shameless" and "scandalous" past in
Given the scandal of the divorce and the differences in their ages, the
wives of Denver's richest men refused to accept her as one of their own. However, despite the age difference and the social shuns, nothing could
wilt their blossoming marriage and they shared a loving home life for the
next ten years.
the lawn outside the mansion, a hundred peacocks strutted and the
landscape was adorned with more controversial decorations, which included
some nude statues that further offended Baby's highly proper female
neighbors. In response, the highly spirited Baby Doe had
her dressmaker come in and make dresses for the statues. The two
lived extravagantly, spending as much $10,000 a week on lavish parties,
traveling, and other luxuries.
their height, the Tabors were one of the five richest families in the country. During
this time they built the Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver, had two
daughters, nicknaming them Lillie and Silver, and a stillborn son.
Baby Doe Tabor's
fame lies mostly in her dazzling beauty. Admirers wove poetry about her
petal-soft complexion, lovely strawberry-blond curls, deep blue eyes, and
sparkling personality. Baby Doe's
friends recognized her inner charms as well. Baby Doe made
friends with many of the actors and actresses who played at the Grand
Opera House, who accepted her outgoing personality, finding her both
lovely and admirable. This lessened the hurt that she felt by the
Denver's social elite who thought she was shocking, showy and scandalous. The wildly ambitious
Baby Doe was
hailed as the "Silver Queen of the West," while
touted as Denver's "Grand Old Man."