COBWEB CORNERS: The man on the horse

By Mel McFarland

       Now we do not have many statues on the Westside, but I have an answer to one of our reader's questions about one in downtown Colorado Springs. On Nevada Avenue there have been two statues to one man. One was put in some 75 years ago, and it was moved. The newer version was put there about 10 years ago. The man is Winfield Scott Stratton. His older statue is now at the Stratton Home.
       Everyone should know the man on the horse. The statue of William J. Palmer was installed in 1924, but it did not come easily. The idea of a statue in his honor started in 1910, after he died, paralyzed from a fall from his horse. He wanted no memorial, other than at his grave, but the city decided it wanted more. A committee was established, and over 10 years several plans were submitted, some of him on a horse, some standing alone.
       The city decided to put the statue at Platte and Nevada because that's where US 24 and US 85-87 meet, and by highway miles was the center of town. The placement in the middle of the intersection was a real problem until the interstate was built and took traffic off Nevada. I went to Palmer High and remember the sound of trucks shifting up and down just getting around it! The idea of moving Palmer's statue still comes up every now and then. It has almost been moved, but the cost never seems to be covered. The "oldtimers" want to see it stay there.
       There is no significance in the direction he is riding, nor the way he is looking, other than to say it just worked out that way! He did first arrive in the area from the north, but only after he came to Colorado City.
       If you are familiar with the statue, you may know part of it gets painted now and then. No one seems to know who did that stunt first, I've heard it goes back to when it was new! Years ago that part was restored and left all shining in the sun. People complained, but the patina returned and the statue still stands there, watching as the town continually changes around it.