COBWEB CORNERS: The old avenue: From 29th to Manitou

By Mel McFarland

       We left off last week at 29th Street. From here west, Colorado Avenue is a bit of a mystery. In the mile up to Adams Cros-sing, through Arensdale, the area has changed considerably. Much of what I know comes from some nice pictures taken in 1908, and very few earlier views.
       Much of where Colorado Avenue is now located west of 29th only dates back 60 or 70 years. The intersection at 31st was quite different before the Midland Expressway and the Manitou bypass were built. The Colorado Midland and Midland Terminal railroads used this route to go west. The area where the expressway goes from 21st to 26th was their main yards. West of 31st, they climbed above Manitou gradually. The Denver and Rio Grande had a track through Colorado City and from 30th west was right north of Fountain Creek. In the 1880s, when the streetcar line was built to Manitou, Colorado Avenue was used in some places. It was that line, as well as more people, which brought the straightening of Colorado. Some of what is Pikes Peak Avenue/El Paso Boulevard were at one time part of the road from Colorado City to Ute Pass. That area was used then for both quarries and farms.
       The town of Arensdale included part of the current Red Rock Shopping Center area, as well as up on Pikes Peak Avenue and toward the Garden Of the Gods. It became part of Colorado City 100 years ago. Just to the west was a large white house where General Adams lived. The road to Manitou was rebuilt in the 1890s. Before that, it had followed El Paso, but a road was built that crossed the Rio Grande tracks and Fountain Creek near his house, resulting in the new name, Adams' Crossing. In the 1930s, a stone wall was built around an area used by tourist campers, some of which has lasted until today. The bridge over Fountain Creek at Adams' Crossing was built in the 1930s. This newer road followed the streetcar line.
       From the Manitou arch into downtown Manitou, the road once climbed and twisted and turned as it headed for Ute Pass, staying on the south then the north side of Fountain Creek to enter the pass. The climb was steep; this route had been used since the 1870s. When more wagons started going up Ute Pass, this road got straightened in places. Once the tourists starting driving to Manitou and Ute Pass, many more changes were made.
       I hope you enjoyed our trip up the avenue, maybe someday I will do the trip on the streetcar line.