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Tabor Triangle - Page 4       

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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 Leadville

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, Horace grew 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. Baby Doe 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

Horace Tabor as a politician.

This image available for photographic prints & editorial

downloads HERE!




However, when Horace asked Augusta for a divorce she refused. Horace, not to be denied, he secretly engineered a divorce in Durango, Colorado, which was later found to be illegal. It is unknown whether Horace knew this or was simply defiant, but he and Baby Doe were secretly married in St. Louis, Missouri 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.


Baby Doe at her weddingAfter 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 million dollars.


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 congress, 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 wedding gift. 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 social circles.


After their marriage, they returned to Denver, where Horace bought 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 Central City.


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.


On 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.


At 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 Horace was touted as Denver's "Grand Old Man."



Continued Next Page


The Tabor Grand Opera House in the 1920's

Tabor Grand Opera House in the 1920's, courtesy

 Denver Public Library


Baby Doe Tabor

Baby Doe Tabor was renowned for her beauty.

This image available for photographic prints & editorial downloads HERE!


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