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About Colorado Springs
The Pikes Peak Region’s first known people were prehistoric cultures of the Plano 8200-5300 B.C., Folson 9000-7500 B.C. and Clovis 9000-1100 B.C. These nomadic hunters traveled the region in search of ancient bison, mammoth and smaller game. They left many artifacts of their existence.
The earliest documented inhabitants were the Utes. Today, historic Ute bands are organized as the
Northern Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe and Mountain Ute Tribe. Early tribes of the Eastern Plains included Arapahoe, Apache, Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne. Ute, Arapahoe and Cheyenne occupied the future area of Colorado Springs.
Spanish explorers from Santa Fe began exploring Colorado in the 1600s. French traders and explorers began infiltrating the region in the late 1600s. The Spanish and French co-existed in the territory until 1762 when France ceded Louisiana to the Spanish. During the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte reclaimed the Louisiana territory for France. In 1803, the United States consummated the Louisiana Purchase from France for $15 million. The acquisition included Eastern Colorado and the Colorado Springs area.
On July 15, 1806, Zebulon Pike embarked on a expedition to find the headwaters of the Arkansas River. He and his men were captured by the Spanish and later released. In November 1806, Pike saw “Tava,” the Ute name given to Pikes Peak. The mountain was first named “James Peak” for Edwin James who reached the summit in 1820. While Zebulon Pike never reached the top of Pikes Peak, it was named in his honor by the United States Board on Geographic Names in 1890.
During a visit to Pikes Peak, Katherine Lee Bates was overwhelmed with the beautiful view from the top. She wrote the lyrics for the song “America the Beautiful” – and Pikes Peak became known as “America’s Mountain.”
In 1859, Colorado City became the first settlement in the region. It was a supply center, Territorial Capital and El Paso County seat. Old Colorado City was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917.
Ex-union General William Jackson Palmer was born in Delaware and raised in Pennsylvania. He first visited the Pikes Peak region in 1869. In 1870, he founded the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Palmer dreamed of creating a grand estate, a sophisticated city nicknamed “Little London” in honor of English tourist. A year later, in 1871, he founded Colorado Springs. By the late 1800s, Colorado Springs had become one of the most visited cities in the country.
Penrose financed construction of The Broadmoor resort (1918), Pikes Peak Highway, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (1921) and Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun (1937). Spencer and his wife Julie are interned in the Will Roger Shrine. The El Pomar Foundation continues the legacy of Spencer and Julie.
Colorado Spring’s Museums
Colorado Springs has twenty eight (28) museums. There is no shortage of special interest and history of the Pikes Peak Region.
Colorado Springs Vintage Photos
Enjoy our selection of Books about
Colorado Springs & the Pikes Peak Region!