COBWEB CORNERS: Along the Avenue
By Mel McFarland
As I give talks here and there, one term gathers odd looks: “The Avenue.” In the minds of old timers, there was only one Avenue, even though there is Pike's Peak Avenue. Colorado Avenue was the street everyone could identify as the “the Avenue.” It became more significant when Colorado City joined Colorado Springs. Each town changed the names of some of their streets to match where they lined up. A little street in that town lost its name, Huerfano, which means orphan, becoming Colorado Avenue.
It is unknown just when they started calling it "The Avenue," but in the early days it was just the main road through town. Streets did not have names for a long time, but when the town started to grow they became more important. The street names are a jumble over the years. Anyone who has traced the history of their property knows this. I did a column on it last year.
In several recent stories, I touched on how different the space between Colorado Springs and Colorado City looked. The one link between the town was Colorado Avenue, even though Bijou was most important early on. The railroad yards and Monument Creek have certainly caused adjustments. It was barely a hundred years ago that a bridge was built over the rail yard to connect with Colorado. The area west of Monument Creek was a low, often flooded area where nobody wanted to live, save for a few shacks. Until the WPA work in the 1930s on the creek walls, flooding was a regular event. No one would expect to find part of it a park!
Colorado City started at 23rd Street until about 1890. There were a few houses along the Avenue. In the early part of the century, as business to the west increased, things started to fill in. The Avenue became part of the main road up Ute Pass, and when cars with visitors to the area started using it, something happened. Many houses had a little cottage out back for the occasional motorist looking for inexpensive lodgings. A one-unit motel! You can still see some of them.
Some people are puzzled about Limit Street. Well, that was the boundary between the two towns. At one time the older houses west of there had other numbers and were on different street names… except for the Avenue!