High-Wire Walker, Balloonist, Flight Pioneer: That Was Ivy Baldwin

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Photo: Highwire Acrobat Postcard In Eldorado 1 (Color)
Ivy Baldwin, from Eldorado Springs, crossed Eldorado Canyon dozens of times. This postcard made prior to 1919 dubs the above-pictured walk -- 582 feet above the ground and 530-feet across -- as the "greatest" in world history.

As a boy in the mid-1800s, Baldwin ran away from home and joined the circus. He eventually wound up in Colorado where he awed crowds as a funambulist, or high-wire walker, who crossed Eldorado Canyon dozens of times, and kept at it well into his 80s. Baldwin was also the first person to fly a powered aircraft in Colorado. He was even big in Japan, performing a hot-air balloon act for the emperor.

Denver writer Stephen White, who has a fascination for Baldwin, spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.