This is a recipe from the famous Cliff House at Pikes Peak, in Manitou Springs, Colorado. This was originally made with duck, but I have change it to chicken. Adapted from Recipes from Historic America by Linda and Steve Bauer. A great book!
And now a little history:
Travelers once just passed through Manitou Springs, never staying for long. It was a stagecoach stop on the route from Colorado Springs to Leadville, one of the most famous stagecoach runs in the American West. Manitou Springs grew up around the gold mines in the Pikes Peak area in the late 1850s, and when those mines proved bountiful, that all changed.
The building that had been the stagecoach stop was converted into a 20-room boardinghouse known simply as "The Inn". The earliest guests were mostly trappers and hunters on their way to or from Colorado Springs. But soon gold seekers made their way through Manitou Springs, bringing more business to the small inn. On occasion, tents had to be pitched next to the building to accommodate the overflow of guests.
By 1876, when the gold strikes were fewer and far between, the inn was struggling. That's when a mineral of another sort - mineral springs - came to play a role in the inn's fortunes.
Manitou Springs was home to ancient mineral springs, which bubbled up from underground limestone aquifers and carbonated the water - it was cool, good-tasting and had a high concentration of beneficial minerals. American Indians had been drinking it straight from the springs, believing them to have healing powers.
It was also in the 1870s that a man named Edward E. Nichols came west to fight a battle with tuberculosis. Nichols moved permanently to Manitou Springs, where he served as mayor for eight terms. He bought the inn in 1886, renamed it the Cliff House and turned it into a sophisticated hotel that capitalized on the region's springs and sparkling waters.
In 1914, Nichols and Colorado Governor Oliver Shoup founded the Manitou Bath House Company. The entire community became a resort specializing in water therapies, and people were eager to visit and take advantage of the healing powers of the springs. In the 30 years that followed, Nichols expanded the hotel from 20 rooms to 56, and eventually to 200. The result was the beautiful, four-and-a-half-story building that still stands today.
The Cliff House had evolved into a desirable destination in its own right, attracting a well-heeled clientele, including Theodore Roosevelt; Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria; William Henry Jackson; Charles Dickens Jr.; P.T. Barnum; Thomas Edison; Clark Gable; F.W. Woolworth; and J. Paul Getty.
Each morning, guests were given programs detailing the evening's entertainment. They enjoyed a formal dinner, then delighted in a concert on the hotel grounds. Afterward, they were encouraged to walk across the street to Soda Springs for a glass of fresh springwater before retiring. The Cliff House even had underground tunnels leading from the hotel to the spa.
In later years, a bathhouse was built at the spa, and bellboys from the hotel would cross to the spring to fill bottles and glasses with sparkling water for the guests. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak soon became the most popular hotel and spa in the Colorado Springs region, drawing people from all walks of life and from around the world.
For all its successes, the Cliff House also endured some hard times. In 1921, a flash flood roared down Williams Canyon and washed through the hotel's Grill Room, a small sandwich and soda shop in the rear of the east wing, buckling the floor all the way to the ceiling.
California real estate developer James S. Morley bought the Cliff House in 1981, converting the historic building into a 42-unit apartment building. But in its second disaster of the century, the building caught fire in March 1982. The fourth-floor roof sustained so much damage it had to be replaced, and the interior was stripped of all plumbing, plaster and floor coverings. The water damage was so extensive that the entire building was threatened. Immediate action was taken to preserve what remained. Due to the local economy, the building stood vacant for 16 years.
Since the Cliff House had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the fire also raised concerns among citizens groups and government agencies that supported its renovation.
In 1997, Morley committed to the restoration, vowing to return the hotel to its original distinction, preserving the Rocky Mountain Victorian architecture of the 1800s, but incorporating 21st century state-of-the-art technology and amenities. After $9 million worth of refurbishing and loving care, this vision has been realized.