COBWEB CORNERS: Colorado City’s first park

By Mel McFarland

       Way back a century ago the town had only one park. Do you know which one (since it still is a city park)? No, not Bancroft, because it was the location of the high school. Thorndale was the town's first park. Mr. and Mrs. George Thorne presented the property to Colorado City, which was then in the northeast part of town. It is officially Block 40 in East Colorado City.
       When the city government was trying to decide if it wanted to get into the business of running a park, General Palmer stepped up and gave the city $2,100 to fix up the property and maintain it for a while. The park was named Thorndale in the Thornes' honor. The property had to be cleared of a number of piles of trash and logs, some of which had at one time been cabins. The next problem was laying water lines through it and planting grass and a few more trees.
       The area was a bit controversial later, because it bordered the community of Ramona, which broke away from Colorado City in protest.
       The El Paso Canal also bordered the property. The early irrigation channel ran from Fountain Creek - roughly behind where the Safeway is at Red Rocks - skirted the hills, then went up around Whittier School, north of Colorado City's downtown, along what is now Uintah Street between 24th and 19th, near Buena Vista school, around the hill behind Bristol school, and north almost all the way to Polk Street. There, it crossed Monument Creek and fed irrigation lines that bordered North Cascade and Nevada avenues before finally reaching its end point at Prospect Lake. The old canal has been filled in most places, but I remember as late as the 1950s a couple of houses north of Uintah, just east of the park, that had little bridges in their front yards over the remains of the canal.
       Thorndale Park has been threatened with extinction several times since it was taken over by Colorado Springs Park and Recreation, but now (with recent new equipment) it seems to be living up to what the Thorne Family wanted us to have. It will be 100 years old in November 2005.