The Story of Colorado’s Legendary Tightrope Walker + Daredevil Ivy Baldwin
Check out Colorado's Ivy Baldwin, a famous daredevil and tightrope walker. Baldwin was born in July 1886 and lived until October 1953. While born in Houston, Texas, Baldwin would become one of the most talked about people in Colorado. Certainly, one of the most fearless.
Born William Ivy, he changed his name to Ivy Baldwin and relocated from Houston, Texas to Boulder, Colorado. During his life, Baldwin was a tightrope walker and high-wire performer. He was also a high-altitude balloonist and is credited as being the first aviator shot down during wartime (Spanish American War).
Who Was Ivy Baldwin?
Ivy Baldwin began working for the Thayer Dollar Circus as a tightrope walker in 1877. After partnering with Thomas Scott Baldwin, the pair became famous for highwire stunts, balloon ascensions, and parachuting. Baldwin was one of the very first people inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame and was considered to be the "first person to fly a powered 'aircraft' in the State of Colorado. He is also a member of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame as the first person to pilot an aircraft in that state.
Baldwin Never Lost His Touch
Ivy Baldwin was such a natural at walking a tightrope wire he was able to captivate audiences well into his 80s. The video at the top of the article shows Baldwin crossing Eldorado Canyon State Park without a harness at the age of 82. The accomplishment got Baldwin onto the pages of Life Magazine as one of the oldest living people known to walk a professional tightrope.
Baldwin's Most Impressive Stunts
The crossing of Eldorado Canyon at the age of 82 is an amazing accomplishment. The canyon crossing is 635 feet and more than 125 feet above the ground. Baldwin made this crossing more than 80 times during his life. Athletes in Colorado have re-created this crossing over the years in tribute to Baldwin's abilities. Baldwin spent most of his life living in Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado. He passed away at the age of 87. Click here to see a photo of Baldwin on the highwire captured by the Keystone View Company in 1909.