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COBWEB CORNERS: 'Which one is Pikes Peak?'

By Mel McFarland

        Now, I have discussed the old local sport of making fun of tourists before, but here it is again. This comes from the newspapers in 1937. It seems the local government officials were not at all amused. They started a movement that is still with us today; you may not have noticed!
       It seems there was a great sport that many participated in that caused much frustration among those visiting this area. As tourists would stop and ask directions to local attractions, they might get some odd information. For example if someone asked "How do you get to Pikes Peak?" they might be sent in any direction but west! Others might be sent to the cog station, but rarely were they directed up Ute Pass to Cascade.
       There being so many places to visit, such misdirection was not seen as harmful. After all, the tourists might wind up in likeable places they had not planned to visit anyway. The only problem was, they might not have time to see what they were really looking for! It was then that the local governments started to put in place signs giving directions to popular local attractions. In addition to these, mileage signs started to appear, such as “Garden of the Gods, 2 miles.”
       This still did not kill off the fun of directing tourists. People from other parts of the country might not have a clue as to where the object they were told about was located. The Chamber of Commerce was rather new, and the newspaper started putting out basic brochures with maps.
       Even then, they might actually be able to see where they wanted to go, but not know what they were looking at. Like, when I worked at the cog railway and a tourist would ask, once we were standing at the summit, "So which one of these mountains is Pikes Peak?"
       As recently as a few weeks ago while walking in Old Colorado City, I was asked which mountain was Pikes Peak. I have also been asked about Cheyenne Mountain. I think most of us know which is which, but recently my sister ran across a woman who remarked on her fine view of Cheyenne Mountain. But it was a cloudy day. Maybe when the sun comes out, she'll discover the view was really of Pikes Peak!

(Posted 9/19/16; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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