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Stephen King’s IT Inspired By Creepy Walk Through Colorado Town

We all know that the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park inspired Stephen King to pen The Shining, but our state also played a role in the creation of Pennywise, the horrifying clown in IT.

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There’s been a lot of creepy clown buzz going around as the full-length 2017 remake of King’s mini-series, IT, hit theaters this week.

Well, Coloradans, as you head out to your local theater to be terrorized by Pennywise, just know that where we live played a role in the creation of one of the most terrifying villains of all time. Boulder, to be exact.

According to King’s official website, this is the story behind the inspiration for IT:

In 1978 my family was living in Boulder, Colorado. One day on our way back from lunch at a pizza emporium, our brand-new AMC Matador dropped its transmission-literally. The damn thing fell out on Pearl Street…I thought about calling a cab but decided that the walk would be good for me. The AMC dealership was in an industrial park set off by itself on a patch of otherwise deserted land a mile from the strip of fast-food joints and gas stations that mark the eastern edge of Boulder… [read full excerpt]

It was then that King said twilight fell, and things began to feel eerie.

By the time I got to the road it was twilight–in the mountains the end of day comes in a hurry–and I was aware of how alone I was. About a quarter of a mile along this road was a wooden bridge, humped and oddly quaint, spanning a stream. I walked across it. I was wearing cowboy boots with rundown heels, and I was very aware of the sound they made on the boards; they sounded like a hollow clock. [read full excerpt]

He then started thinking about trolls under bridges, because he’s Stephen King. He later threw out the idea of a bridge and thought, ‘What’s under a city? Tunnels. Sewers. Ah! What a good place for a troll! Trolls should live in sewers!

Pennywise the Clown Mural
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Eventually this idea of a troll was nixed, too. According to, King once said in a conference, ”What scares children more than anything else in the world?’ And the answer was ‘clowns’.’

So, a clown in a sewer IT is. And, all spawned by one late-day stroll in a creepy industrial park in Boulder.

We will never look at a sewer in Boulder the same way again…

Inside One of the Stanley Hotel's Most-Haunted Rooms

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