Historical Society to replace stolen plaque recalling early-days fort
Empty since early January, a stone slab in front of 2818 W. Pikes Peak Ave. will once again have a plaque mounted on it that commemorates the site's role as a protective fort in early Colorado City.
The Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) plans to host a small installation ceremony Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. Interested members of the public are welcome.
The OCCHS began taking donations for a replacement after the original bronze plaque, installed in 1936, was reported stolen Jan. 5. Police suspect the culprits were metal scrappers. According to OCCHS President Sharon Swint, the new plaque is made of powdered steel, which is “certainly less valuable than bronze or brass, so we can only hope it will stay in place. There are no guarantees, of course.”
The new piece cost $300, and was made by two local companies that work with metal, Creative Fabrication and Western Steel.
Fundraising was not a problem. “We had an article in the West Word [the OCCHS newsletter] that told the story of the theft and asked for donations to buy a replacement plaque,” Swint said. “People just called and dropped off money. It was truly a grassroots effort. I spoke with the property owners and the current tenants [at 2818] and let them know what we were doing. They were happy about the effort.”
Invitees to the ceremony include the neighbors, the donors, the two companies and the OCCHS board of directors
Swint said the new plaque is the same size as the old one - fitting into its original inset - and has the same wording: “This marks the site of the old fort and stockade built by pioneers of Colorado City used in defense against the Indians in 1864 and 1868, constructed of logs set end on end.”
The OCCHS' motivation stems from its mission statement aimed at “saving the history of the area and educating the public,” she said. The marker “refers to a time before Colorado Springs even existed, when pioneering women and men put their lives on the line to start the town of Colorado City.”
According to previous research by the OCCHS, the location was known, at least in the late 1860s, as the Anway Hotel. There is now a house at that location. The stone, which was built for the plaque in 1936, is set in concrete on the sidewalk in front.
The original plaque had also noted that the marker was “erected by the State Historical Society of Colorado from the Mrs. J.N. Hall Foundation and by the El Paso County Pioneers Association and the City of Colorado Springs.”
The new plaque will add a line crediting the OCCHS for the replacement.
The police metal-theft team investigated the loss of the original, with no luck. The team “really beat the bushes hard on this but could not find it,” said Pat Rigdon, commander of the PD's Gold Hill Substation. “The scrap metal dealers all said they would not take an item like this. The most likely thing that did happen was that the plaque got cut up and melted prior to selling it. There were some other similar thefts of metal plaques that probably had similar outcomes.”
Westside Pioneer article