Overview of Colorado Springs
The history of Colorado Springs is a very interesting one, and many remnants can still be found and enjoyed in the modern city. Situated at the foot of Pikes Peak, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Springs area was originally home to native Ute, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapahoe Indians. The area was obtained as part of the Louisiana Purchase and was first explored by Zebulon Montgomery Pike in 1806. Interest in the area quickly grew and in 1870 General William Jackson Palmer arrived. In 1871 he founded the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and the City of Colorado Springs. General Palmer envisioned the city as a resort destination and laid out plans for the city and its streets, and donated land for churches and schools.
Colorado Springs quickly grew after the gold mining rush of the 1890s in Cripple Creek, located just west of the city. The rapid influx of miners and growth of mining profits made Colorado Springs the leading mining exchange center of the world, and in 1904 it was home to 35 of the nation's 100 millionaires. In addition, the sunny, dry and mild climate was thought to help tuberculosis patients, and many sanitariums were built in the early 1900s.
Another notable figure in the history of the city is Spencer Penrose. After making large profits in gold and silver in the 1800s, he gave away land for community use, built the Pikes Peak Highway, and established the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Broadmoor Hotel.
In the 1940s, the Fort Carson Army Installation was built, beginning the trend of a strong military presence in the city, including Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD, Shriever Air Force Base, US Space Command and the United States Air Force Academy.
For visitors today, there are a variety of ways to discover and enjoy historical Colorado Springs. Glen Eyrie, a stunning 67-room castle, was the original home of General Palmer and offers public tours. The Garden of the Gods is an area of brilliant scenery and offers many resources on the geologic and cultural history of the area. The downtown Pioneers Museum is in the restored courthouse of 1903, and offers free admission to comprehensive exhibits on the city's history. Visitors may also ascend Pikes Peak by the highway or the cog railway to enjoy one-of-a-kind panoramic views of the city and Rocky Mountains.