The history of the midwestern states is an interesting topic to dive into. Since they lie between the coasts of the United States, they aren’t often involved in major worldwide historical events, but have plenty to contribute to history from both local and nationwide events. Colorado is one of these states, and its largest city, Colorado Springs, has found itself as the grounds for many of these events. Here are few points from history that the Colorado Springs area has bore witness to.
Pikes Peak, the highest part of the Rocky Mountains, is a major point of pride for Colorado Springs. The peak is a big tourist destination, in addition to being a major historical landmark. The peak is named after Zebulon Pike, a U.S Lieutenant who attempted to climb the peak in 1806 with his scouting party on an expedition to find the source of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. Without any sort of equipment or idea of how high they’d need to climb, they were unsuccessful, but still the first to attempt the climb. Colorado Springs would later begin using the site as a tourist destination, being located roughly 20 minutes from the peak. The Pike holds up today not only as an attraction, but a historical landmark from the days of the midwest after the Louisiana purchase.
Half a century later, after the Civil War, some soldiers traveled further west to make a new life for themselves. Some became businessmen, others joined larger organizations like railroads. One of these soldiers was William Jackson Palmer, a Union general and Quaker working for the Kansas Pacific Railway. Palmer went on to found the Denver and Rio Grande Railway during his time in the Colorado territory, and also founded Colorado Springs as a resort town, as wells as some of the city’s schools and hospitals. Colorado Springs still remembers its founder to this day, marking his grave with a plague detailing his military rank, cordoned off in its own section of the Evergreen Cemetery in the city.
Gold rushes are often seen as significant events in American history, as the large number of people attracted to a single location often resulted in the creation of major cities or business centers, or drew attention to those that were already present. While the California Gold Rush is the most well known, it was far from the only one, and Colorado Springs experienced its own gold rush as well in 1859. The Pikes Peak Gold Rush resulted in a massive influx of emigrants, resulting in the creation of towns like Denver and Boulder, and reinforcing the population of others. Though Colorado CIty had not yet been founded, hard rock mining continued far enough for the city to see it, and some of that mining continues to this day. Gold rushes are a cornerstone of American history, and its fitting that the Colorado Springs area has one of its own.
Large American cities like Colorado Springs are often havens for history enthusiasts because they’re almost always in areas of some major historical significance. Colorado Springs and its surrounding area has plenty of significance in various events beyond the few listed here. Check out some of Colorado Springs’ history at their tourism site. Some events not covered here may be interesting to readers.