(1884 – 1975)
A Colorado native, George Cranmer loved the outdoors because of his family’s ranching activity, which later defined his career. After graduating from Princeton in 1907, he worked in his family’s ranching business and partnered in a brokerage firm. He liquidated his holdings in the firm the year before the crash of the stock market in 1929, not because of any foresight but because of a disagreement with his partner. He’d acquired enough wealth to retire at age 44.
He entered into politics, chairing Ben Stapleton’s successful bid for becoming mayor of Denver and in 1935 was named Manager of Parks and Improvements. The mountain parks system – conceived by John Brisben Walker and Mayor Robert Speer – was implemented in 1913 with passage of a mill levy.
In the position as Manager of Parks and Improvements, he was responsible for the construction of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. He was known for getting things done, one who sometimes sought out unconventional means to accomplish his goals, and one who didn’t always follow protocol. He utilized the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) to dynamite and clear the rocks between the imposing red rock formations that created the outdoor theatre with natural acoustics and a seating capacity of more than 9,500. The construction project took 12 years.