Kissing Camels Estates is one of the most affluent and prestigious neighborhoods in Colorado Springs.
It is a gated community overlooking Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
It represents old money, wealth and power – a place where 80 people were invited to join if they passed a series of interviews with founders Al and Margaret Hill and their associates.
The lucky elite charter members — legend says the list included Walt Disney and John Wayne — were granted access to the regions most exclusive golf, tennis and social club.
Behind its guardhouse off Mesa Road are 550 custom homes and townhomes along a sprawling, wooded 27-hole golf course. It has a 108-room club complex and recreation center with 13 tennis courts, pools and a fleet of golf carts.
But all is not as placid as it appears in the community the Hill opened in 1951 .
Below is a photo of construction of the Garden of the Gods Club in May 1950, taken from the club’s Web site, showing developer Al Hill, third from left, overseeing work on his project. He conceived it as a luxury summertime-only tennis and social club with guest rooms.
The Kissing Camels Estates housing development began at the same time but, according to the Web site, it was years before Hill was convinced to include a golf course. The original 18-hole course opened in 1961, 10 years after the club.
Here’s how it looks today.
I saw this photo on the Garden of the Gods Club Blog. It shows the Kissing Camels Golf Course in 1969.
According to its history, Al and Margaret Hill bought the 1,600-acre mesa in 1949 and the club held its grand opening in June 1951.
It soon rivaled The Broadmoor as a retreat for the rich and famous.
This 2007 obituary for Margaret Hunt Hill gives more detail of the couple and their vision for Kissing Camels. Al Hill died of complications from hip surgery in 1988, four months shy of the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary.
I wrote about Kissing Camels and problems with its homeowners associations back in 2007. This is a link.
I also wrote a blog in 2007. It was one of my first. See it here.
Read all about the lawsuit filed by the Kissing Camels Property Owners Association against the 49 members of the Kissing Camels Townhomes.
You can read Judge Timothy Schutz’s complete ruling here.
Here’s a link to the covenants and governing documents for all the Kissing Camels neighborhoods.