Historical Society hatching plans for Colorado City’s 150th
Informational monument planned next to cabin
Every year, the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) celebrates the founding of the original Colorado City Aug. 13, 1859. With 2009 marking the one-
time frontier town's 150th anniverary, the society plans to celebrate a little more.
The most ambitious project is to create and install an eight-sided granite monument with illustrated historical information on the east side of Bancroft Park's Garvin Cabin.
“There are no monuments portraying this early history of early El Paso County and Colorado City,” said OCCHS President Joanne Karlson, “thus we believe a permanent monument is a fitting memorial…and the Sesquicentennial is such a good time to honor local history,”
Details are still being worked out. “At present, we are getting cost estimates and talking with artists,” Karlson said. “Then the design has to be approved by the City Cultural Affairs Board, and of course we must pursue funding for this project.”
The society's sesquicentennial effort is led by a special committee led by OCCHS treasurer and longtime historian Dave Hughes, who had organized the city's participation in the Colorado Centennial celebration of 1976. “We hope, over a year's time to educate the city on the real, long-ignored, history of Colorado City,” he said, including emphasis on such major aspects as the gold mills and the railroads.
Fundraising will be necessary to pay the probable cost of $15,000-plus, although Hughes said, “we are pursuing one particular grant for the main cost. We still don't have a firm bid for the eight pieces of art needed to be sandblasted and engraved into the monument.”
Located at the mouth of Ute Pass to supply prospectors seeking gold during the “Pikes Peak or Bust” frenzy, Colorado City was founded during a time of turmoil, including Indian conflicts that erupted into battles at times throughout the 1860s, the Civil War and Colorado establishing itself as a territory (Colorado City was briefly the capital in 1862, with the cabin used for it). In time, the town became known for its bars and brothels, but both had been banned by the time Colorado City allowed itself to be annexed into Colorado Springs in 1917.
Other OCCHS sesquicentennial events/activities in various stages of development are a parade, the publication of one or more newspapers with 1860s “news,” special History Center programs on early history, an old-fashioned picnic, an ice cream social, walking tours and a beefed-up version of the annual Founder's Day including a reenactment of the 1859 driving of the town's first stake.
The parade would probably be short. “It's one of the ideas we're starting to pull together,” Karlson said. “It could be a pioneer parade. We might have everyone dressed in costume, pushing carts with mules. Maybe there could be a footrace or a bike race. It's all part of brainstorming. We have to look at what's going to work and who will do the work.”
The speaking programs will feature “special guests from the past,” starting Jan. 9 with the first of the 2009 Second Friday Morning series, she said.
New ideas for the sesquicentennial are still being accepted. However, Karlson advised, anyone stepping forward with a suggestion will be expected to participate in making it a reality.
Volunteers are welcome, in any case. “If people think of something or would like to help, let us know by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to us at the History Center [1 s. 24th St., Colorado Springs 80904],” Karlson said. “All of us are volunteers, and most of us are retired. So we're looking for community support because it's a community event.”
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