‘30th Street Legacy’ event celebrates Palmer birthday

Bonnie Frum (foreground, left) and Jeanne McElderry (farther down the table) serve out William Palmer birthday cake (in some cases to people who had no idea who he was) inside the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center during the 30th Street Legacy event Sept. 12. In a display on the wall behind them, the likeness of the Colorado Springs founder can be seen.
Westside Pioneer photo
       A first-time event called the “30th Street Legacy” attracted up to 100 people for one or more of the special activities at Glen Eyrie, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center and the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Sept. 12.
       “It went extremely well,” summarized Susan Fletcher, historian for the Navigators organization, who had thought up and organized the event. “I appreciated the chance to coordinate with our neighbors.”
       The Navigators, a non-profit, has owned Glen Eyrie for more than 50 years. The property, with its castle and other buildings, was once the home of Colorado Springs founder William Palmer.
       The event was timed to celebrate what would have been Palmer's 173rd birthday. In the castle's Great Hall, Fletcher gave a talk about Palmer's life, the visitor center handed out pieces of a Palmer birthday cake, and Rock Ledge offered free tours of the Orchard House that Palmer had built in 1907.
       “Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves,” said Fletcher, who also stopped in at the other two venues. “I really enjoyed being able to go over to the Orchard House. The interpreters did an excellent job of connecting the two properties [the Rock Ledge or “Chambers Ranch” parcel, which Palmer owned at the time, and Glen Eyrie].”
       In her talk, Fletcher noted that in his lifetime Palmer never actually seemed to have celebrated his birthday (which actually was Sept. 17). In one of his diary entries, for example, he talked about various issues that were going on, then noted in a corner of the page that it happened to be his birthday. “I I thought that was so sad,” Fletcher said afterward.
       Bonnie Frum, operations director at the Visitor & Nature Center, said she enjoyed the chance to partner with Glen Eyrie, because of the “huge connection” historically between Palmer and the Garden of the Gods. “There is no way [Charles Elliot] Perkins would have bought the property without Palmer,” she said, elaborating that the city founder, who was known for donating large properties to the city himself, may also have influenced Perkins in his decision to donate the Garden 100 years ago.

A wagon pulled by a Navigators pickup gives visitors a tour of the Glen Eyrie grounds after the talk on Palmer by Navigators historian Susan Fletcher earlier in the day. The Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site also participated in the event.
Westside Pioneer photo

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