COBWEB CORNERS: The man behind Cameronís Cone
By Mel McFarland
There are plenty of interesting names around here. One of those is Cameron's Cone. Have you ever wondered who Cameron was?
General Palmer is credited with many things in the starting of Colorado Springs, but many of those were actually done by others. One of his associates was General Robert A. Cameron, who had been up in Greeley Colony. A veteran of the Civil War, he was not a member of Palmer's company, but they had met during the war. Palmer invited him to join the survey party that laid out Colorado Springs on the prairie in 1871. He and four others made the trip south from Denver. One of their first jobs was to locate water. This resulted in the construction of the El Paso Canal from Fountain Creek west of Colorado City to the northern edge of the new town.
There was already one building in the Denver and Rio Grande railroad yards, an eating house made of logs. It also served as the hotel, but there was only one room. The eating house was run by Captain Sopris, another Civil War veteran. The building itself was owned by Colonel Hunt and his sister. The little building was eventually dismantled and moved with the railroad as it was built to the south. It may have actually gone as far as El Moro, near Trinidad, but the best pictures show it in Colorado Springs.
Cameron also helped plan the new town. Streets about a hundred feet wide were easily laid out in a grid. Four main streets running north and south were met by equally broad streets running east and west. It is often said that General Palmer decided on the wide streets to give better views of the mountains. Perhaps he did, but it was actually Cameron that did the work. Cameron also looked ahead to future growth. He envisioned businesses and hotels and even the street railway which would not be built for nearly 20 years.
Later, Cameron laid out South Pueblo, the next major step for Palmer's railroad. The big round-top mountain south of Pike's Peak makes an excellent choice as a marker for the man who laid out Colorado Springs.