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Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Colorado Springs is the county seat of El Paso County.

Official Website

History

Before it was founded, the site of modern-day Colorado Springs, Colorado, was part of the American frontier. Old Colorado City, built in 1858 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush was the Colorado Territory capital. The town of Colorado Springs, was founded by General William Jackson Palmer as a resort town. Old Colorado City was annexed into Colorado Springs. Railroads brought tourists and visitors to the area from other parts of the United States and abroad. The city was noted for junctions for seven railways: Denver and Rio Grande (1870), Denver and New Orleans Manitou Branch (1882), Colorado Midland (1886-1918), Colorado Springs and Interurban (1887-1932 horse/electric tram), Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (1889), Rock Island (1889), and Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek (1900-22 Short Line) Railways. It was also known for mining exchanges and brokers for the Cripple Creek Gold Rush.

Civil War General William Jackson Palmer came to the Colorado Territory as a surveyor with the Kansas Pacific Railway in search of possible railroad routes. Dr. William Abraham Bell from England was also part of the survey party. Having viewed the valley in the shadow of Pikes Peak as an ideal town site in July 1869, Palmer and Bell founded Fountain Colony, downstream of Colorado City, on July 31, 1871, and it was laid out by the Colorado Springs Company that year. The town was named Colorado Springs by 1879. It was named for springs found along Monument Creek as early as 1871. Four chalybeate mineral springs were later discovered along Monument Creek in October 1880.

Early infrastructure included 60 miles of irrigation canals along streets and a drinking water supply from Manitou's Ruxton Creek by 1879. Water was diverted to the Ruxton Creek Basin from the Middle Beaver Creek basin in 1889.

The town was "Little London" for the many English tourists and settlers actively recruited by Palmer's English associate Dr. William Abraham Bell and Palmer's English financial backers who provided the capital for his railroad, Denver and Rio Grande Railroad served the city beginning October 1871. In 1873 Colorado Springs became the county seat for the county; Previously, Old Colorado City was the county seat.

The Pikes Peak region was one of the most popular travel destinations in the late 19th century United States. The town saw an influx of writers, artists and people from England in the late 1870s, some of whom made their home in the town. Some of the key attractions were Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie, Pikes Peak, and Cheyenne Canyon.

Domestic and international travelers were drawn to the high altitude, sunshine, mineral waters, and dry climate. The town was described as "a veritable Eden for consumptive invalids". At the peak of its period as a health resort for tuberculosis treatment in Colorado Springs, there were 17 tuberculosis hospitals in the area. The permanent residents fear of catching the highly contagious disease nearly resulted in a state bill that would have required tubercular patients to wear bells to announce their presence.

The Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and Colorado College were founded in 1874. Palmer opened the Antlers Hotel in 1882. Colorado Springs incorporated on June 19, 1886.

Colorado Midland Railroad began service in the town in 1885. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad service began in 1889. Trolleys ran to Manitou Springs the following year. Colorado Springs grew by 164% when 11,140 people settled in the town between 1880 and 1890.

After the Cripple Creek gold discovery in 1891, the people who made a fortune from the gold rush and industry built large houses on Wood Avenue, then in the undeveloped downtown area of Colorado Springs. Several large stone buildings like Colorado College, St. Mary's Church, the first Antlers Hotel, the library, and the county courthouse were built on wide streets, in anticipation of significant population growth. By 1898, the city that had grown through annexations of Old Colorado City, Ivywild, Roswell and other towns was designated into quadrants by the north–south Cascade Avenue and the east–west Washington/Pike's Peak avenues, along with voting precincts 27-41 and five wards with the fire alarm zones.

Inventor Nikola Tesla built and operated his wireless power experimental station in 1899 on Knob Hill, near the current intersection of Foote and Kiowa Streets. Governor James Hamilton Peabody sent troops to Colorado City in 1903 to settle a miner's strike. They set up Camp Peabody at what became the 1903 Colorado Labor War. According to Mrs. Gilbert McClurg, reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette, General Palmer visited the west bank of Monument Creek and located a lost mineral spring so that it was included in his plans for Monument Valley Park. By 1905, the lake at Monument Valley Park was built at a cost of US$750,000 (equivalent to $21,342,000 in 2019), the YMCA building was built for $100,000 (equivalent to $2,846,000 in 2019), and Broadmoor Country Club built one of the city's two polo fields.

There was a plan in 1911 plan to build a Colorado Springs Union Depot to consolidate the two railroad passenger depots, but it was never completed. A zoological park was built along Cheyenne Creek, near Bear Creek Road (now Eighth Street), by 1916 and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was built in 1925 above The Broadmoor resort on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road. In 1919, William Kennon Jewett deeded the Colorado Springs Golf Club's golf course to the City of Colorado Springs. Aircraft flights to the Broadmoor neighborhood fields began in 1919, the Alexander Airport (later called Nichols Field) north of the city opened in 1925 and land was purchased in 1927 for the first Colorado Springs Municipal Airport.

Successful mine owner Winfield Scott Stratton funded the Myron Stratton Home for housing itinerant children and the elderly, donated land for City Hall, the main post office, the Courthouse, and a park; he also greatly expanded the city's trolley car system and built the Mining Exchange building. Spencer Penrose and his wife, over the course of their lives, financed construction of The Broadmoor resort (1918), Pikes Peak Highway, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (1921), Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun (1937), made a significant donation to what is now known as Penrose-St Francis Health Services, and established the El Pomar Foundation, which still oversees many of his contributions in Colorado Springs today. A bronze sculpture of Palmer on a horse was unveiled in 1929. To many residents who lived in Colorado Springs in the years since, Palmer became known as "the man on the iron horse".

In 1928–29, Alexander Aircraft Company was "the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world." The city supported three World War II and Cold War military installations. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) center was located within the city before relocating to Cheyenne Mountain.

Many of the large homes in Colorado Springs were made into apartment houses or became boarding houses during the Depression of the 1930s and when there was a housing shortage during World War II. Some homes were also converted into office space.

The United States Air Force Academy opened just north of Colorado Springs in 1958. The city is home to 24 national sports governing bodies, including the United States Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Training Center, and USA Hockey.

Links

Wikipedia

Pike's Peak

Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway

Garden of the Gods

The Broadmoor

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

USAF Academy

Western Museum of Mining & Industry

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame

Glen Eyrie Castle

Miramont Castle

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Cave of the Winds

Florissant Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument

Cripple Creek

Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

World Figure Skating Hall of Fame

Pike's Peak Genealogical Society

Peterson AFB

Schriever AFB

Fort Carson Army Base