Legend of Ivy Baldwin: Colorado’s Tightrope Walker + Daredevil
The legend of William 'Ivy' Baldwin starts when he was just 12-years-old when he ran away with the circus. He learned how to be a tightrope walker as well as a balloonist while he was in the circus.
Ivy Baldwin was brought to Denver by John Elitch to perform at Elitch Gardens. He fell in Colorado and decided to stay. Ivy was only 14-years-old when he first crossed Eldorado Canyon on a tightrope wearing cloth shoes with resin soles and a 10 pound 26-foot pole with 1 pound knobs on each side.
The Colorado daredevil was 582 feet high when he performed this famous act across Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado. Ivy Baldwin would go on to cross the same canyon over 80 times until he was forced to stop by his family because he never wanted to quit.
Ivy's very last tightrope walk was on his 82nd birthday. This Colorado daredevil also performed over 2,800 jumps from both planes and balloons, according to Your Boulder.
The tightrope walker and balloonist performed for the Emperor of Japan in the 1890s, who was so impressed with Ivy's act he gifted him a silk kimono with a depiction of it on the kimono. He also did a very dangerous performance in San Francisco, walking across a tightrope over the Pacific Ocean from Cliff House to Seal Rocks, with nothing but the ocean to catch his fall.
Ivy's high wire in Eldorado Canyon was taken down in 1974 so no one else could be tempted to use it, according to Early Aviators.
William Ivy Baldwin passed away in 1953 when he was 87-years-old at his son's house in Colorado. He believed that he could still do this tightrope walk across Eldorado Canyon. Although Ivy is gone, his legend will always live on.
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