Colorado Springs and Beyond
Trinidad was first explored by Spanish and Mexican traders, who liked its proximity to the Santa Fe Trail. It was founded in 1862 soon after coal was discovered in the region. This led to an influx of immigrants eager to capitalize on this natural resource. By the late 1860s, the town had about 1,200 residents. Trinidad was officially incorporated in 1876, just a few months before Colorado became a state. In 1878 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reached Trinidad, making it easier for goods to be shipped from distant locations. In the 1880s Trinidad became home to a number of well-known people, including Bat Masterson, who briefly served as the town's marshal in 1882. By 1900 Trinidad's population had grown to 7,500 and it had two English-language newspapers and one in Spanish.In 1885, Holy Trinity Catholic Church was constructed. In the early 1900s Trinidad became nationally known for having the first woman sports editor of a newspaper, Ina Eloise Young. Her expertise was in baseball, and in 1908 she was the only woman sportswriter to cover the World Series. During the same time, Trinidad was home to a popular semiprofessional baseball team that was briefly coached by Damon Runyon.
On August 7, 1902, the Bowen Town coal mine, six miles north of Trinidad, experienced a horrific gas explosion, killing 13 miners. It was one of the worst mining disasters so far in the state; conditions in the mine provided the impetus for several labor strikes. At one point in late 1903, an estimated 3,000 miners, members of the United Mine Workers of America, went on strike. In 1904 Trinidad experienced several disasters. In mid-January a fire destroyed two blocks of the town's business section, causing more than $75,000 in damages. In late September, the Trinidad area and the region along the Las Animas River endured an unusually heavy rainstorm, leading to severe flooding; the flood destroyed the Santa Fe railroad station, wiped out every bridge in town, and caused several hundred thousand dollars' worth of property damage. As Trinidad continued to grow, a number of new construction projects began in the downtown area, including a new library, a new city hall, an opera house, and a new hotel.
Trinidad became the a focal point of the 1913-1914 United Mine Workers of America strike against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel & Iron company, which has come to be known as the Colorado Coalfield War. The Colorado and Southern Railway stop that connected Trinidad with Denver and Walsenburg made the town strategically important for both the strikers and Colorado National Guard. On April 20, 1914, just 18 miles north of town, the events of the Ludlow Massacre occurred.
In 2015 Trinidad started to experience a new boom due to the marijuana industry. CNN asked, "Did pot money save small town from 'abyss of nothingness'?" Apparently the answer is a resounding "yes", with the town experiencing a newfound $4.4 million in tax revenue from $44 million in annual marijuana sales, about 5.13% of the state's total sales. In 2018 High Times called Trinidad "Weed Town, USA", noting that its 23 licensed retail marijuana dispensaries servicing less than 10,000 people amount to one dispensary per 352 people. "In one downtown block alone along Commercial Street, there are eight dispensaries in a section of town some locals jokingly refer to as the Trinidad 'weed mall’."
Pueblo is the heart of the Pueblo Metropolitan Statistical Area, totaling over 160,000 people and an important part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. As of 2014, Pueblo is the primary city of the Pueblo–Cañon City combined statistical area (CSA) totaling approximately 208,000 people, making it the 134th largest in the nation.
Pueblo is situated at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, 112 miles (180 km) south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. The area is considered semi-arid desert land, with approximately 12 inches (304.80 mm) of precipitation annually. With its location in the "Banana Belt", Pueblo tends to get less snow than the other major cities in Colorado.
Pueblo is one of the largest steel-producing cities in the United States, for which reason Pueblo is referred to as the "Steel City". The Historic Arkansas River Project (HARP) is a riverwalk in the Union Avenue Historic Commercial District, and shows the history of the devastating Pueblo Flood of 1921.
Pueblo's development stretched beyond agriculture. Steel emerged as a key industry very early, and in 1909 the city was considered the only steel town west of the Mississippi River.
Until a series of major floods culminated in the Great Flood of 1921, Pueblo was considered the 'Saddle-Making capital of the World'. Roughly one-third of Pueblo's downtown businesses were lost in this flood, along with a substantial number of buildings. Pueblo struggled with this significant loss, but has had a resurgence in growth.
The main industry in Pueblo for most of its history was the Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) Steel Mill on the south side of town. For nearly a century the CF&I was the largest employer in the state of Colorado. The steel-market crash of 1982 led to the decline of the company. After several bankruptcies, the company was acquired by Oregon Steel Mills and changed its name to Rocky Mountain Steel Mills.
The local airport, Pueblo Memorial Airport, lies to the east of the city. It is home to the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum (named for Fred Weisbrod, late city manager), reflecting the airport's beginnings as an Army Air Corps base in 1943. There is a general aviation field just west of Pueblo West/Penrose.
Fremont County Airport
SkyWest Airlines under the flag of United Express services southern Colorado with non-stop daily flights from Pueblo Memorial Airport to Denver International Airport utilizing Bombardier's CRJ-200 aircraft. Throughout the year, aircraft spotters can see large C-130, C-17, and E-3 performing landings and takeoffs. Modern fighters such as the F-22, F-15, F-35, and F-16 are also seen on occasion flying around the facility and parked on the ramp.
the largest city by area in Colorado as well as the county seat and the most populous municipality of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. It is in east central Colorado, on Fountain Creek, 60 miles (97 km) south of Denver. At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over 1 mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is near the base of Pikes Peak, which rises 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. 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.
The city had an estimated population of 478,221 in 2019, and a metro population of approximately 738,939, making it Colorado's second most populous city, behind Denver, and the 39th most populous city in the United States. The Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 712,327 in 2016. The city is in the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong region of urban population along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, generally following Interstate 25. The city covers 194.9 square miles (505 km2), making it the most extensive municipality in Colorado. In 2017 and 2018, Colorado Springs received several accolades. In 2018 U.S. News named it the most desirable place to live in the United States. The previous year, Colorado Springs placed second on U.S. News's list of the 125 Best Places to Live in the USA. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings found that Colorado Springs was the fastest-growing city for millennials. Thumbtack's annual Small Business Friendliness Survey found Colorado Springs to be the fourth most business-friendly city in the country.
The Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples were the first recorded inhabiting the area which would become Colorado Springs. Part of the territory included in the United States' 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the current city area was designated part of the 1854 Kansas Territory. In 1859, after the first local settlement was established, it became part of the Jefferson Territory on October 24 and of El Paso County on November 28. Colorado City at the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks was "formally organized on August 13, 1859" during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. It served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from November 5, 1861, until August 14, 1862, when the capital was moved to Golden, before it was finally moved to Denver in 1867. In 1871 the Colorado Springs Company laid out the towns of La Font (later called Manitou Springs) and Fountain Colony, upstream and downstream respectively, of Colorado City. Within a year, Fountain Colony was renamed Colorado Springs and officially incorporated. The El Paso County seat shifted from Colorado City in 1873 to the Town of Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak, every year on the last Sunday of June. The highway wasn't completely paved until 2011.
Nearby military sites
Cañon City straddles the easterly flowing Arkansas River and is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. The city is known for its many public parks, fossil discoveries, Skyline Drive, The Royal Gorge railroad, the Royal Gorge, and extensive natural hiking paths.
Cañon City was laid out on January 17, 1858, during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, but then the land was left idle. A new company "jumped the claim" to the town's site in late 1859, and it put up the first building in February 1860. This town was originally intended as a commercial center for mining in South Park and the upper Arkansas River.
Skyline Drive is a scenic roadway in Cañon City, Colorado. It was built by inmate labor in 1905. The road starts from U.S. Highway 50, with a gradual incline up the side of a ridge. When the road crests, it winds, climbs, and falls like a roller coaster until near its end, where a scenic outlook overlooks both the city (east) and the highway (west). The single-lane, one-way road rises about 800 feet (240 meters) above the surrounding terrain. There are no guardrails despite sharp dropoffs, and the drive is about 3 miles (4.83 kilometers) long. The road ends in a residential neighborhood, and becomes a residential street that intersects with 5th Street, where signs point south toward U.S. 50 and "Historic Downtown Cañon City," allowing drivers to head downtown and return to the highway.
Colorado Department of Corrections operates the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Cañon City. In addition to several correctional facilities near Cañon City in unincorporated areas in Fremont County, Colorado State Penitentiary, the location of the state death row and execution chamber is in Fremont County. Other state prisons in Fremont County include Arrowhead Correctional Center, Centennial Correctional Facility, Fremont Correctional Facility, Four Mile Correctional Center, and Skyline Correctional Center. On October 3, 1929, a riot at the prison claimed 13 lives. The Colorado Women's Correctional Facility near Cañon City in unincorporated Fremont County, was decommissioned on June 4, 2009. Prisons have served an important significance to both Cañon City and the surrounding areas of Fremont County, as well as to the state of Colorado. The Museum of Colorado Prisons has been given the role of preserving and presenting the past of the state's corrections system.
Gold was discovered in Victor in the late 19th century, an omen of the future of the town. With Cripple Creek, the mining district became the second largest gold mining district in the country and realized approximately $10 billion of mined gold in 2010 dollars. It reached its peak around the turn of the century when there were about 18,000 residents in the town. Depleted ore in mines, labor strife and the exodus of miners during World War I caused a steep decline in the city's economy, from which it has never recovered. The population was 397 at the 2010 census. There is a resumed mining effort on Battle Mountain.
Victor was founded in 1891, shortly after Winfield Scott Stratton discovered gold nearby. The town was named after the Victor Mine, which may have been named for an early settler, Victor Adams. In 1892 Harry, Frank and Warren Woods founded the Mt. Rosa Mining, Milling and Land Company. Battle Mountain, located just above Victor, had the largest, most prolific mines in the mining district and the town became known as the "City of Mines." Victor officially became a city on July 16, 1894. In 1894 the Woods brothers discovered gold when they began digging the foundation for a building, which resulted in the creation of the Gold Coin Mine. At that time 8,000 people lived in Victor. The town boomed as the surrounding Cripple Creek mining district quickly became the most productive gold mining district in Colorado. Mines in Victor and Cripple Creek provided 21 million ounces of gold. In 2010, the value of the gold would have been more than $10 billion. The mining district, which hit its peak in 1900, became the 2nd largest gold district in the country's history. Although Victor's fame was overshadowed by that of its neighbor, Cripple Creek, many of the best gold mines of the Cripple Creek district were located at Victor, including Stratton's Independence Mine and Mill and the Portland Mine. Half of Battle Mountain's gold was extracted by the Portland Mine, which was called the 'Queen of the District." Heavyweight boxing champion William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey was a mucker in the Portland Mine. Mine owners and investors lived in Cripple Creek, while most of the miners for the districts' 500 mines lived in Victor.
Fire of 1899
In August 1899 the entire business district was destroyed in a five-hour fire. The town had about 18,000 residents at the time. As a result, many of the historic buildings date to 1899, including the St. Victor Roman Catholic church, the First Baptist Church of Victor, and the Victor Hotel.
Resumed mining activity
The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company formed in 1976 as a joint venture to restart mining in the district. From 1976 to 1989, the company produced 150,000 troy ounces (4,600 kg) of gold by reprocessing tailings and mining two small surface deposits. The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company began the first large-scale open pit mining in the district in 1994. In 1995 an open pit gold mining operation, which taps into "legendary" mines, began on Battle Mountain. The Cresson mine open pits are located a few miles north of Victor. Mining continues at the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine, under the ownership of AngloGold Ashanti, producing about 250,000 troy ounces of gold in 2012, in addition to several locally owned mines, all of which provide employment and revenue for the community. Ownership has recently changed from Anglo Gold to Newmont mining.
The town was the center of activity for the Freshwater mining district, a minor producer of copper, lead, zinc, mica, feldspar, and other minerals, including traces of gold and silver. Activity and population peaked between the years 1895 and 1902, with over 500 residents and 40 businesses in the town. Cattle ranching and lumber operations supplemented the mining activity.
In January 2001, the bodies of three members of the Dutcher family were found near Guffey; all had been murdered. Three teenagers were convicted of the crime. The boys had formed a group that took on aspects of a paramilitary organization, and one of them claimed that the murders were part of a plan to fight insurrection in the country of Guyana. The brutal nature of the crime and its bizarre motive attracted national attention.
The town is perhaps less famous for its annual Fourth of July Chicken Fly, a tradition which lasted for twenty-six years, but ending in 2016. At the chicken-fly, small chickens were released from a velvet-lined mailbox atop a ten-foot-high (3.04 m) platform; prizes were awarded for those chickens that flew the greatest distance.
In 1907, a 309 kilogram meteorite was found near Guffey by two cowboys, although the exact location was not recorded. To date, this is the largest meteorite ever recovered in the state of Colorado. It is classified as an ungrouped iron meteorite, sometimes considered an ataxite due to its high nickel content and lack of Widmanstätten patterns. Most of the meteorite resides in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History, although the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has acquired a slice. No samples are available for public viewing in Guffey itself.
On January 28, 1891, Woodland Park was officially incorporated with a population of 121 residents. The early settlers needed a government loan to fund a water line installation from Loy Gulch into the town reservoir, now a pond in Memorial Park. The founding fathers' first ordinance was to establish a morals and decency act; banning the sale of alcohol, and prohibiting gambling, obscene language and inappropriate attire. With the new law in place to allow enforcement, the calaboose (i.e., Town Jail) was constructed in 1891 and is now located in History Park.
Homesteaders, miners, loggers, health seekers and speculators were attracted to Woodland Park due to four (4) historical factors: Gold Rush 1857 - 1919; Colorado Midland Railway 1883 - 1949; lumber and timber mills 1873 - 1936; and resorts and tourism 1887 - 1955. After the Colorado Midland Railway began operating in 1887, an infusion of travelers and new residents caused the town to grow with hotels, restaurants, livery stables, mercantile stores and homes. This growth created the need for churches, schools and recreational activities, such as, rodeo events, dances and baseball games.
Throughout the first half of the 20th Century, lumbering continued to be the area's largest, year-round, economic driver. During the summer months, dude ranches were a great draw for tourist who enjoyed experiencing the Wild West and natural beauty of Pikes Peak country. The Paradise Ranch was one of those ranches that put Woodland Park on the map along with the Woodland Park Rodeo Association.
Woodland Park is the site of the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, a museum devoted to dinosaurs and fossils.
The town was founded for its natural mineral springs. The downtown area continues to be of interest to travelers, particularly in the summer, with many one-story small shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as a creekside city park with a children's playground made from unusual materials. Among other services, shops sell clothing, candy, souvenirs, and outdoor recreation. The main road through the center of town was one of the direct paths to the base of Pikes Peak. Barr Trail, which winds its way up Pikes Peak, is accessible from town.
General William Jackson Palmer and Dr. William Abraham Bell founded Manitou Springs in 1872, intending the town to be a "scenic health resort". Bell's home, Briarhurst Manor, is open to the public as a fine dining restaurant, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. In 1876, the town was incorporated. "Manitou Springs has been the quintessential tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Many of the town's mineral springs still function today and the water is free.”
Waldo Canyon fire
In June 2012, the entire city was evacuated due to the Waldo Canyon fire nearby. Parts of western Colorado Springs were also evacuated. Manitou Springs did not suffer any fire damage, and the city was under evacuation orders from only 1:30 a.m. Monday until 8 p.m. the same day, when the order was lifted and residents were allowed back home. There was no fire damage visible from Manitou Springs, and all businesses reopened.
Waldo Canyon flash flood
On the afternoon of August 9, 2013, the city was inundated by a flash flood entering the northern edges of the city via roadways and natural channels as it descended from the flooded-out US Hwy 24. Traffic was stopped in both directions as the highway barriers formed a river drifting several occupied cars down a runoff ditch. The strong current made a path down Manitou Avenue from Cavern Gulch as well as Canon Avenue meandering turbulently through streets, homes, businesses, and spillways, damaging 20 homes, 8 of them significantly. The flood water threatened buildings and parking lots along Fountain Creek and closed a portion of Manitou Avenue, which reopened later that evening.
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America. The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot (4,302.31 m) fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles (19 km) west of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike (though he was unable to reach the summit). The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.
The band of Ute people who called the Pikes Peak region their home were the Tabeguache, meaning the "People of Sun Mountain". Tava or "sun", is the Ute word that was given by these first people to the mountain that we now call Pikes Peak. The Ute people first arrived in Colorado about 500 A.D., although their traditions state they were created on Pikes Peak. In the 1800s, when the Arapaho people arrived in Colorado, they knew the mountain as Heey-otoyoo' meaning "Long Mountain”. Throughout its history, Pikes Peak has been called El Capitan, Grand Peak, Great Peak, James Peak, Long Mountain, and Pike's Peak.
Early Spanish explorers named the mountain "El Capitán" meaning "The Leader". American explorer Zebulon Pike named the mountain "Highest Peak" in 1806, and the mountain was later commonly known as "Pike's Highest Peak". American explorer Stephen Harriman Long named the mountain "James Peak" in honor of Edwin James who climbed to the summit in 1820. The mountain was later renamed "Pike's Peak" in honor of Pike. The name was simplified to "Pikes Peak" by the United States Board on Geographic Names in 1890.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) and has over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,115 ft (4,302 m), on grades averaging 7.2%. It used to consist of both gravel and paved sections, however as of August 2011, the highway is fully paved and as a result all subsequent events will be run on asphalt from start to finish.
The race is self-sanctioned and has taken place since 1916. It is currently contested by a variety of classes of cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads. There are often numerous new classes tried and discarded year-to-year. On average there are 130 competitors. The PPIHC operates as the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum to organize the annual motorsports event.
Motorcycle divisions and classes
Pikes Peak Heavyweight
This is the top motorcycle division offered at Pikes Peak. It was formerly known as the Pikes Peak Open Motorcycle class. Competitors are eligible to enter vehicles powered by two or four-stroke engines of no more than four cylinders, displacing 851cc to 1305cc.
Pikes Peak Middleweight
Competitors are eligible to enter vehicles powered by two or four-stroke engines of no more than four cylinders which displace between 501c to 850cc.
Pikes Peak Lightweight
Competitors are eligible to enter vehicles powered by two or four-stroke engines of no more than two cylinders, displacing no more than 500cc.
Exhibition Powersport Class
This division includes Utility Terrain Vehicles and other vehicles that don’t fit in other Pikes Peak Divisions. While there are no records for this class because of its exhibition status, entries are eligible for recording an overall course record as well as an attempt at records achieved by former classes.
On 30 June 2019, four-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner Carlin Dunne was killed in a crash at the race. He crashed less than a quarter of a mile from the finish line.