COBWEB CORNERS: That other town

By Mel McFarland

       Last week I talked about our town's start, but what of that other one? In early 1871 General William J. Palmer and his engineers were surveying for a railroad route south from Denver. In laying out the preliminary route, they realized that new communities would be required for sidings and water and fuel stops. Palmer wished to be instrumental in naming these towns. Many of the names on his list would be eventually used, but only a few remain.
       Some of the names Palmer proposed were: Aceqeua, Aloe, Pickwick, Foothill, Cedarcamp, Parkwater, Cragmoor, Cliff- bound, Solitude, Streamside, Moccasin, Gypsy, Nutshell, Glenlake, Wonderland, Wigwam, and many other glorious names. His proposed names for familiar places (and their modern equivalents) included Edge Platte (Littleton), Water Camp (Acequia), Hillskirt (Sedalia), Citadel (Castle Rock), Park Gate (Glade), Pine Land (Greenland), Crestlake (Palmer Lake), and Coal Town (Florence). Colorado Springs was not even the first choice for that name; Fountain and Park Gate were also considered. The locations and names were still being sorted out when construction began in Denver in March 1871.
       The Colorado Springs Company, a Palmer-directed company separate from the railroad, was organized with Henry McAllister as executive director. On June 26, 1871, the company held its first meeting in Denver. Basic town layout and construction priorities were decided upon. Colorado Springs would be of personal importance to Palmer. He wanted it to be a shining example of an ideal community. It would be located northeast of the confluence of Monument and Fountain Creeks with plenty of room to grow. The layout of the town was on an area just above the level of the creeks. The prairie would be turned into streets while the railroad's construction crews worked from Denver.
       The town started to take shape in late 1871. General Palmer and his backers were enthusiastic about the project, and they planned many other communities along the line. Unfortunately it was more of a gamble than it appeared. More towns failed than survived, and others were taken over by even later towns.