COBWEB CORNERS: Yes, Virginia, it is Colorado Springs
By Mel McFarland
I often get asked if the name, “Colorado Springs,” was someone's idea of a joke. Indeed, there were springs in the area along Fountain and Monument creeks. I had heard that the main area for them was down near Martin Drake Power plant, but today I have one for you in Monument Park.
In 1905, work was being done along Monument Creek, and the workers discovered an old vault buried underground. An investigation into the find brought out a story about the building of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad. When the line was being built into town in 1872, the railroad builders were having difficulty with the area's ground because it was so soft and wet. Within a few years, the problem had become rather nasty. So the railroad dug a huge hole, which located the source of the problem - a rather nice spring. Rather than exploiting the discovery, the railroad decided to bury it. The large vault was built over the spring, and drains were installed to hopefully take care of the problem. But a few years later, a flood swept down the creek - an event not all that rare - and sealed most of the drains.
In the 1905 discovery, workers found that the vault had gradually filled itself with sand and rocks. Efforts began to clear the area and make repairs to the vault. Pumps were brought in to pump the area dry. It took nearly three months to get it all sorted out. The amount of water flowing out of the spring was said to equal all the combined flow from the springs in Manitou. The quality was said to be superb, lacking many of the odorous minerals found in Manitou water.
Further work was done around the spring to make it more accessible to the public and to help maintain it as a usable spring. At the time of the article that I found, it was unclear what other work needed to be accomplished. So this is a story only half-done. I need to see if I can track down the "rest of the story," as I cannot say I know where this spring might be. After the work on the park in 1936 and '37, locating it may not be possible. Indeed it might have been lost. Again.