The week that Cripple Creek was Old Colorado City
The Convention & Visitors Bureau does care about Old Colorado City. Really.
The area's main marketing organization - which is largely funded with tax dollars - was put on the defensive last week, in conjunction with a history-connected promotion of the city, after posting a photo of downtown Cripple Creek on a related website and labeling it “Old Colorado City.”
Chelsy Murphy, the public relations manager for the bureau - which five years ago branded itself Experience Colorado Springs - said in an interview that the mistake resulted from a photo “not being labeled correctly.”
The promotion is additionally a competition. As an annual project, the National Trust for Historic Preservation names a “Dozen Distinctive Destinations.” Colorado Springs made that list this year.
From Feb. 15 through March 15, people can go online to vote for their favorite among the 12.
No special prize goes to the winning city, just “recognition,” Murphy said - although voting participants have a chance to win a prize.
The photo goof was noted by long-time Westside leader Dave Hughes. Never one to mince words, he said it was just part of how area leaders and major media had “botched” what could have been a “new economic opportunity” for the city as a whole. Another mistake, he said, was failing to include the volunteer Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), as well as other city historic districts, in the activities surrounding the selection, including a press conference Feb. 15 to announce it.
Murphy emphasized that Old Colorado City, which is a national historic district, is key to the campaign. “It's an important part of our community,” she said. “I don't think we'd have gotten the award if it was not an important resource.”
The only Westside feature cited in the website write-up about Colorado Springs' being a “distinctive destination” is the Garden of the Gods. Citywide features mentioned are the Cave of the Winds, Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Colorado College, UCCS, a “thriving arts and cultural scene including the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum,” the Cadet Chapel at the Air Force Academy, the Broadmoor and “the Cliff House at nearby Pike's Peak.” Murphy said, however, that the information provided to the National Trust included mention of early Colorado City having been the first state territorial capital.
The National Trust website states that “the title of Distinctive Destination is presented to cities and towns that offer an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization.”
Hughes, the ramrod for much of Old Colorado City's revitalization dating back to the 1970s, said Feb. 18 that had he had provided the National Trust with 10 photos that it could use in place of the erroneous Cripple Creek shot. That fix finally was made Feb. 23.
A “distinctive destination” voting link can be found on the Experience Colorado Springs website - visitcos.com - in a logo on the right side of the page. Early Feb. 24, the city was tied for 7th among the 12 with 5 percent of the vote. First was Paducah, Ky., with 24 percent.
Other Colorado cities chosen in the previous 11 years before Colorado Springs were Boulder (2000 - the first year), Silverton (2001), Georgetown (2003), Glenwood Springs (2004), Durango (2007), Crested Butte (2008) and Fort Collins (2010).
Westside Pioneer article