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COBWEB CORNERS: Corley's attempt to build a different Pikes Peak road

By Mel McFarland

       When W.D. Corley bought the old Short Line railroad in 1922 and turned it into a toll road, he had bigger plans. He wanted to build another road to the top of Pikes Peak.
       Now, Corley had a dislike for anything that Spencer Penrose and his friends owned. He had built his fortune by hard work, and he had a dislike for anyone that had inherited theirs, a status he identified with Penrose. The fortune Penrose had was mainly "earned," not inherited, but that did not bother Corley.
       Corley submitted a plan to the Forest Service to build a road from near Clyde, in Teller County, into the Seven Lakes area. A route was surveyed along Colorado Springs' reservoirs and it was a fairly easterly path as far as Reservoir Number 8. At this point it left the trees behind and started a steep climb toward the summit, winding back and forth above Reservoir 7 to go near "Cog Corner" on the Penrose road to the summit.
       The Forest Service reviewed the plan and rejected it. Corley made a few changes and tried again. It bounced back and forth for almost 10 years before it was forgotten. Today there are some newer roads, built largely by Colorado Springs to access the reservoirs. Some might be where Corley wanted to build.
       A few years ago the city decided to open up the South Slope for hikers, once trails could be built. A few ideas were suggested along Corley's route, but other routes are being laid out. The South Slope is a pristine area, closely protected by Colorado Springs, and hopefully the trails will keep it that way.

(Posted 12/13/16; 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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