Thursday, May 30, 2019


post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

With Memorial Day weekend behind us, and summer just ahead, with all its strange weather, I thought a list of fun facts about the region I live in might be a nice diversion.

1    Colorado Springs is the county seat for El Paso county. In 1861, when President Buchanan signed the order creating the Colorado territory, El Paso became one of the original 17 counties.

2     Although other towns may have been planned, Colorado City, now known as Old Colorado City, was the first actual town in El Paso County.

3      Black Forest was part of an area that was called ‘The Pineries’. It was from here lumber for the building of Colorado Springs, Denver and the various railroads was logged.

4      Fox run park has many trees that are Ute Prayer Trees. The Ute and Comanche inhabited the area until about 1800 when the Kiowa took over the area. They in turn were run out by the Ute and Comanche about 40 years later.

        Canon City had a territorial prison in 1871, five years prior to Colorado becoming a state in 1876. At that time, it became part of the state system.

Arkansas River - Canon City
photo property of the author
    Although Cripple Creek has the honor of being the place where Bob Womack located gold and started the last great gold rush in the lower 48, most of the mines in the area were located on Battle Mountain near Victor Colorado.

7        Manitou Springs was originally founded as town to be fashioned after the resorts in Europe. The town was known for its healing mineral waters that visitors would drink to improve their health.

1        The Pikes Peak Hill Climb had its first race 1916 and is the second oldest race in the United States. It was promoted and conceived by Spenser Penrose, who had converted the old carriage road into an auto road.

2        The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo originated in 1937 and took place at the Will Rogers Stadium, across from the Broadmoor, until 1973 when it moved to the Pikes Peak Equestrian Center. (now known as Norris-Penrose)

3        Colorado Springs was chosen as the national headquarters in 1977. It established the Olympic Training Center at the old ENT Air Force Base at the corner of Boulder and Union. Colorado Springs is now known as Olympic City USA.

4        Prospect lake originally was used as a reservoir to water Evergreen Cemetery, and the east side of Colorado Springs. It was also the place for ice skating in the late 1800s.

Heasdstone - Evergreen Cemetery -  Colorado Springs
Photo property of the author
    Pro Rodeo Hall of fame opened in 1979 and is the only museum in the world devoted to the sport of professional rodeo.

6        Winfield Scott Stratton, Cripple Creek Millionaire, donated land for a baseball park and even purchased bicycles for laundry ladies.

          On Saturday June 7, 1873 the Base Ball Club played their first game. The newspaper had a reporter on site, but he was sad, for no accidents of note occurred. ( source - Colo. Springs Weekly Gazette)

          In 1879 ‘wool growing’ was one of the top industries in the region.


          Colorado Springs has seen Eight plus railway companies come and go during the heyday of train travel. The Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway and the BN&SF are still active

    Tourism has always been a part of the region. Cave of the Winds was ‘first’ discovered in 1880. It was called ‘Pickett’s Cave’ in honor of the minister whose group found it. *source Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, July 3, 1880. Pg.7, col. 1 *

           Out West, the first newspaper for Colorado Springs, had this to say about Garden of the Gods in the June 20, 1872 issue. “ The Garden of the Gods is one of the best know wonders of Colorado, its characteristic features being so striking as to arrest the attention of even such as may not be susceptible to the grander beauties of the mountains.”

     Author Helen (Hunt) Jackson has this to say about Cheyenne Canyon in her essay of the same name. “There are nine “places of divine worship” in Colorado Springs, - the Presbyterian, the Cumberland Presbyterian, the Methodist, the South Methodist, the Episcopal, the Congregationalist, the Baptist, the Unitarian and Cheyenne Canyon.”   

           There were numerous coal mines in the area making it an early and profitable industry for the region.


           Early on, Ute Pass was considered one of the easiest routes to the gold and silver mines in the Leadville and South Park area.

            Enjoy your summer, writing and may your book sales and reading be even greater than you expect. 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Her



  1. Very interesting post. I love your posts about Colorado. It's been quite a few years since I have "clumb" Pikes Peak.

    1. Glad you enjoy them. It is fun to share the bits and pieces I find. I always hope they might inspire a story or three for others. (Grin).

      It's been a couple of year for me too when it comes to the Peak. LOL Doris

  2. Great info. I wish I'd had it for reference when I wrote a story about the area last year. Thanks for posting it.

    1. You are welcome, Frank. Anytime you run across information about the area you'd like me to dig into, just let me know. Doris

  3. I grew up with a Pike decedent. He was very proud of his heritage and did a short and tell about his ancestry. So the article is very interesting to know more.

    1. They had a right to be proud. The book, "To Spare No Pains" is a book the local libary put out to commorate the anniversary of Pike's expedition to the southwest. A pretty interesting read. I'm glad you enjoyed the extra information. I do love the history of my adopted state. Doris