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COBWEB CORNERS: The early road to Colorado City from the north

By Mel McFarland

       When Colorado City first started, travelers from the north followed Monument Creek down from the Palmer Lake area. This path predates the founding of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad in 1870. It was an Indian trail at that time.
       Between Monument and the south side of what's now Air Force Academy property, it swung east to flatter land, because the creek is in a bit of a canyon. Coming back around a hill (near present-day Rockrimmon and Garden of the Gods Road) the trail ran west, through the gap between the Mesa and the ridge along the mountains, until it reached Camp Creek.
       When General Palmer bought what is now Queen's Canyon and Glen Eyrie, he developed several trails in the area, including one up to the Mesa.
       The road to Colorado City probably stayed closer to Camp Creek at first. That changed when the area it went through was discovered to be good crop land. The subdivision that was developed as Pleasant Valley was farmed until just after World War II.
       Staying east of Camp Creek, travelers to Colorado City passed near where 30th and King streets now meet, then rounded the end of the mesa and headed for where West Pikes Peak Avenue and 28th Street are today.
       Another road came over the Mesa. The current Friendship Lane would have been the closest street, with the road heading toward where 24th Street is today. The route went near the one-time Pioneer Cemetery and (later) the Town of Ramona, which I have mentioned here a few times.
      
A map shows the basic layout of Colorado City in 1872. Note the "Denver Road" in the upper left, east of Camp Creek, connecting to modern-day 28th Street.
Copyright 1989 by C. Poulton
It is hard to visualize Colorado City without Colorado Springs, but the main streets east went to Fountain or the coal fields more than 10 miles away. Yes, Fountain got going about the same time as Colorado City.
       From Fountain, the road to the north went up Jimmy Camp Creek toward Black Forest. That was the way the Indians traveled, unless they were going toward Ute Pass.
       The area just west of Colorado City, where the Safeway is located, looked much different then. Hard to believe, but the Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon Open Space were once connected by ridges of red sandstone. Most of these were cut down in Colorado City's early years and used for building stone.
       The big changes to what is now 30th street go back to when Pleasant Valley was first developed in the early 1950s and the once-curving Camp Creek was rerouted into a ditch.
       Other area road decisions in recent times have also caused controversy.
       When the city-planned Centennial Boulevard extension connects it to the Fontanero/I-25 interchange, the Mesa Springs neighborhood will lose several houses from when the area north of Fontanero was a separate town, Roswell City, in 1890.
       Even the entrance to Colorado Springs from the east was still up for arguments when World War II started and the airport became a training field, which is now Peterson Air Force Base.

(Posted 9/21/17; 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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