COBWEB CORNERS: Local ‘subways’ were really tunnels

By Mel McFarland

       We have had a few subways in Colorado Springs. The earliest was in use until about 1959. It provided access to Monument Valley Park from the west. It was built in 1916 and except for being damaged in the 1935 Flood, it was used regularly by people to walk safely under the railroad tracks. Yes, our city's type of "subway" was used for pedestrians to travel, not trains. When 1-25 was built, the subway to the park was replaced by a bridge over the highway and the railroad, in about the same spot.
       Another went under Colorado Avenue at 17th Street. It was built around the same time. Colorado was the busiest street in Colorado City, and could be quite dangerous. The subway there was built mainly for children to safely get to Buena Vista School. But it was closed after the US 24 bypass was built in the 1960s. The subway itself had become dangerous, because children, and sometimes even adults, were being assaulted in it
       There was another subway on North Nevada Avenue, which allowed children going to Steele School to pass safely under the busy roadway. It too was filled in.
       The old Santa Fe station near the downtown had subways allowing people to get from the station to the many tracks without having to navigate around trains. These subways were eliminated after World War II. In the late 1970s, when the office buildings were being built on the flat land east of the station, where the tracks used to be, they got a surprise. A backhoe came up with a white tile wall, complete with grafitti. Rather than continue, they decided to find out just what they were digging up. A call to the Pioneers' Museum was referred to me, and I gave the office developers the story of the subway that was now making its appearance. It was dug out, but I think there is still a tiny bit of it hiding in the ground.