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Colorado Springs History, Colorado

Before European explorers and settlers arrived in the area of Colorado Springs, CO several American Indian tribes dwelt there.  The major tribes were the Ute, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, and the Cheyenne.  For the most part, they battled amongst each other, but they did have a certain area where they could meet in peace.  This area is now called the Garden of the Gods and there is a mineral spring there in which the Native Americans bathed.

The first European Americans arrived in the area in 1806 but it was not until silver and gold was found in the area that major settlements began to develop.  The first settlement was El Dorado City which was soon named Colorado City.  This settlement soon became very rough and dangerous; so, when the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad was built in 1871, General William Jackson Palmer had to find a new site for the resort town that he envisioned. 

He founded the Fountain Colony near Colorado City and quickly began to plan a thriving and elegant resort community.  The town would eventually be nicknamed “Little London.”  According to “The Palmer Pattern of Responsibility” he started with churches, a college, libraries, schools, and parks.  He invited people with high moral standards to settle in the new community.  By that time, the name of the settlement had been changed to Colorado Springs. 

In 30 years, Colorado Springs became the most important mine exchange in the world.  The town was nicknamed “the city of millionaires” because over one-third of U.S. millionaires had made their fortune in the Cripple Creek mine next door to Colorado Springs.  By this time, General Palmer’s dream of a resort town came true.  Wealthy and titled Americans visited the resorts on vacation and enjoyed polo and fox hunts on the Rocky Mountain terrain.

Colorado Springs also had another attraction besides gold, silver, and tourism.  The sunny, dry climate was thought to be good for those who were suffering from tuberculosis, a deadly disease that usually infected the lungs and had few treatment options at the time.  Several hospitals for visitors with the disease were built in the early 1900’s.

Colorado Springs was also home to two other benefactors who made their fortunes in the mining business and then contributed generously to the town.  The first was Winfield Scott Stratton.  After he made his fortune, he continued to live in his humble carpenter’s abode and donated generously to orphans and the elderly, including having a community home built for them.  Stratton also donated lands and funds to other community, political, and mining causes.

The second was Spencer Penrose.  After he made his fortune in the mining business he donated lands to the community, had two highways, a hotel, and a zoo built and even founded the El Pomar Foundation.  The El Pomar Foundation is still in existence today and assists with many charitable causes. 

Toward the middle of the 20th century, a major military presence began in Colorado Springs area with the building of the Fort Carson Army base.  Over the years, the area has become home to two Air Force bases, an Air Force academy, the US Space Command, and a NORAD Command base. 


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  • IvanGarden of the Gods
    travel tip by Ivan posted more then 30 days ago
    True to its name, the Garden of the Gods is a breathtakingly beautiful area with its red rock formations, scenic views and bright blue sky. It is well worth a visit, especially that its free. In summer there is a 20-minute bus tour for...
  • athenaloveMay Natural History Museum
    travel tip by athenalove posted more then 30 days ago
    An amazing collection of insects and butterflies from all over the world can be found in the May Natural History Museum. One man's passion for these creatures drove him to make such a vast and varied collection, one more interesting...
  • stefRock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
    travel tip by stef posted more then 30 days ago
    You may have seen the living conditions, the everyday life of people in Colorado Springs in the TV series Dr. Quinn-Medicine Woman. Taking a tour at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site will give you a hands-on and close-up experience of...
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  •$63Frontier Airlines flightFrontier Airlines
    Phoenix, AZ (PHX)  Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
    12/07/2016 02:40 pm
    Colorado Springs, CO (COS)  Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
    12/14/2016 11:50 am
  •$251Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Washington DC, DC (IAD)  Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
    01/24/2017 05:13 pm
    Colorado Springs, CO (COS)  Washington DC, DC (IAD)
    02/07/2017 06:10 am
  •$261United Airlines flightUnited Airlines
    Santa Ana, CA (SNA)  Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
    02/08/2017 03:54 pm
    Colorado Springs, CO (COS)  Santa Ana, CA (SNA)
    02/22/2017 10:58 am

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