1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS, a city and the county-seat of El Paso county, Colorado, U.S.A., about 75 m. S. of Denver. Pop. (1890) 11,140; (1900) 21,085, of whom 2300 were foreign-born; (1910) 29,078. The city is served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fè, the Denver & Rio Grande, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (of which the city is a terminus), the Colorado & Southern, the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District (controlled by the Colorado & Southern), and the Colorado Midland railways, of which the first three are continental systems. Continuous on the west with Colorado Springs is Colorado City (pop. in 1900, 2914), one of the oldest settlements of Colorado, and the first capital (1861). Colorado Springs is superbly situated where the Rocky Mountains rise from the great plains of the prairie states, surrounded on all sides by foothills save in the south-east, where it is open to the prairie. To the south of the mesa (tableland) on which it lies is the valley of Fountain Creek. To the west is the grand background of the canyon-riven Rampart range, with Pike’s Peak (q.v.) dominating a half-dozen other peaks (among them Cameron Cone, Mt. Rosa, Cheyenne Mt.) 9000 to 12,000 ft. in height. Monument Creek traverses the city. The streets are of generous width (100–140 ft.), and are well shaded by trees. There are several fine parks. The city is the seat of a state asylum for the deaf, dumb and blind, of a printers’ home for union men, which was endowed in 1892 by Anthony J. Drexel and George W. Childs, and of Colorado College (1874), one of the leading educational institutions of the Rocky Mountain states, and the oldest institution for higher education in the state. The college is coeducational and non-sectarian. In 1908 it had a permanent endowment of about $425,000, a faculty of 46 and 607 students; the library contained 40,000 bound volumes and as many pamphlets. The departments of the institution are a college of arts; schools of engineering (1903), music, and (1906) forestry; and the Cutler Academy, a preparatory school under the control of the college. In 1905 Gen. W. J. Palmer (1836–1909) and W. A. Bell gave to the college Manitou Park, a tract of forest land covering about 13,000 acres and situated about 20 m. from Colorado Springs.

Bright sunshine and a pleasant climate (mean annual temperature about 48° F., rainfall 14 in., falling almost wholly from April to September, relative humidity 59), combined with beautiful scenery, have made the city a favourite health resort and place of residence. Land deeds for city property have always excluded saloons. The municipality owns and operates the water system, water being drawn from lakes near Pike’s Peak. The scenery about the city is remarkable. Manitou (6100–6300 ft.) a popular summer resort, lies about 6 m. (by rail) north-west of Colorado Springs, in a glen at the opening of Ute Pass (so-named because it was formerly used by the Ute Indians), with the mountains rising from its edge. Its springs of soda and iron belong to the class of weak compound carbonated soda waters. In the neighbourhood are the Cave of the Winds, the Grand Caverns, charming glens, mountain lakes and picturesque canyons; and the Garden of the Gods (owned by the city)—approached between two tremendous masses of red rock 330 ft. high, and strewn (about 500 acres) with great rocks and ridges of brightly coloured sandstone, whose grotesque shapes and fantastic arrangement have suggested a playground of superhuman beings. At the southern end of the Rampart range is Cheyenne Mt. (9407 ft.), on whose slope was buried Helen Hunt Jackson (“H.H.”), who has left many pictures of this country in her stories. The two Cheyenne Canyons, with walls as high as 1000 ft. and beautiful falls, and the road over the mountain side toward Cripple Creek, afford exquisite views. Monument Park (10 m. N.) is a tract of fantastically eroded sandstone rocks, similar to those in the Garden of the Gods.

In 1859 a winter mining party coming upon the sunny valley near the present Manitou, near the old Fontaine-qui-Bouille, settled “El Dorado.” Colorado City is practically on the same site. In 1870, as part of the town development work of the Denver & Rio Grande railway, of which General W. J. Palmer was the president, a land company founded Colorado Springs. In 1872 Manitou (first La Fontaine) was founded. Colorado Springs was laid out in 1871, was incorporated in 1872, and was first chartered as a city in 1878. A new charter (May 1909) provided for the recall of elective officials. A road over the Ute Pass to South Park and Leadville was built, and at one time about 12,000 horses and mules were employed in freighting to the Leadville camps. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railway reached the city in 1888. The greatest part of the Cripple Creek mining properties is owned in Colorado Springs, where the exchange is one of the greatest in the world.