Colorado Springs is known for its outdoors culture and natural parks. It’s also got a very interesting connection to the gold rush of the 19th Century.
Today, it’s also a hub for a range of government facilities, from military bases to one of the most intense maximum security prisons in the world.
Below are the things that make Colorado Springs famous.
What is Colorado Springs Known For?
1. Garden of the Gods
One of the things that make Colorado Springs popular is the Garden of the Gods. It is a nature preserve, a park, that was designated as a natural landmark back in 1971.
The place used to be called Red Rock Corral. It was in 1859 when some surveyors thought that the red rocks would be an awesome capital place for a beer garden. Some said that it was fit for the gods to assemble, so they called it the Garden of the Gods.
The Garden of the Gods offers a lot of scenic views like sandstone rock formations. The snow-capped Pikes Peak mountains are also viewable from the area.
2. The Colorado Gold Rush
The Colorado Gold Rush, also known as the Pike Peak Gold Rush, started in 1858. It lasted until the creation of the Colorado Territory.
There were more than 100,000 people who joined the search for gold, and these people were collectively known as the Fifty-Niners. The Fifty-Niners were named after the year 1859, which was the peak of the gold rush.
3. Military Presence
The military is an essential part of the economy of Colorado Springs.
Below are some military establishments in the area:
- Schriever Air Force Base
- Fort Carson Army Base
- The Air Force Academy
- Peterson Air Force Base
- Northern Command
Is Colorado Springs a military town? Well, perhaps one can say that. The bases employ about 60,000 people, and they contribute about $6 billion in the local academy.
4. Old Colorado City
The Old Colorado city is famous because it is the town that started it all. Today, it is no longer the official Colorado City, but merely a neighborhood that is still part of Colorado Springs.
The commercial district is preserved and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The beginning of the Old Colorado City can be attributed in the 1859 gold rush. It was that event that made people migrate to the area.
The gold rush also started the mining industry in the city. Over time, the Old Colorado City became a hub of mining and processing. At one point, there were 50 coal mines in the area.
5. Cave of the Winds
Colorado Springs is famous for the Cave of the Winds, a cave that offers a fantastic view of caverns that are 7,000 feet high.
The cave is located between Pike Peaks and Manitou Springs. Today, there are safe tours that one can get. There are three cave tours where visitors can see the formation of stalactites and stalagmites.
There are other activities here such as wall climbing, discovery of gemstones, rides above the canyons, and so much more. the most famous section of the cave is the Silent Splendor Room, which was only discovered in 1984.
6. The Outdoors
Colorado Springs is famous for its parks. There are community parks, regionalparks, and also neighborhood parks that one can enjoy in the city.
The best ones are:
- Cheyenne Mountain Park
- Red Rock Canyon
- Palmer Park
- Bear Creek
- Ute Valley Park
Overall, there are 903 acres of neighborhood parks in the city.There are community parks in the city that range from 35 to 175 acres each. These parks also offer areas where one can do sports activities such as skateboarding and hockey.
7. Dinosaur Fossils
One of the most famous things in Colorado Springs is the Dinosaur Ridge. It is a span of land where many dinosaur fossils were found in 1877.
These fossils are unique because these are the first Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus fossils.
The discovery of these fossils led to the “dinosaur rush” in the nineteenth century. The Dinosaur Ridge is a protected area. The entire state of Colorado ranks 7th among states that have the most fossils.
8. Mining History
Colorado Springs is famous because it was once the center of the mining industry even before the gold rush. At one time there were 50 mines in and out of the city, and the people particularly mined coal.
The city was also the home of renowned gold and silver investors like Winfield Stratton and William Jackson. Once mined ores reached the town, the residents smelted the ore and then transported through the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
9. The Savories
150 years ago, Colorado Springs had a nickname, Little London. This name still persists today, and one can trace its origins to the migration of Europeans in the area.
The savory refers to foods that one can eat in one or two bites. They are mini appetizers. For a food to qualify as a savory, it must:
- Be a finger food
- Have salt and spice
- Possess strong flavors
- Be creamy and thick
This kind of food came from the rich Europeans who inhabited the land. British gentlemen loved the savories as an evening treat. Today, these foods are famous, and one can easily find them in restaurants in Colorado Springs.
10. Tesla Experimental Laboratory
The acclaimed inventor and genius, Nikola Tesla, built the Tesla Experimental Station in Colorado Springs.
He did it to study he use of high-voltage and high-frequency electricity in an effort to advance wireless power transmission.
Nikola built it in the highest point in the area, which was on Knob Hill. It was here where he produced artificial lightning. This man-made lighting was 135 feet high and had millions of volts.
The artificial lightning was so powerful that:
- It caused sparks at the feet of people
- Water sparked when touched
- Bulbs lit even when turned off
- Horses bolted as they felt the electric current
- Butterflies had halos due to electrification
The experimental station, however, is no longer existing as it was torn down. Nikola had debts, and his creditors took the property as payment.
11. ADX Florence
ADX Florence makes Colorado Springs famous because it is a maximum-security prison that houses the most dangerous inmates in the country.
It is home to criminals who are also high-profile such as El Chapo.
The ADX Florence is supposedly the most secure prison in the United States. Built in 1994, some people simply call it the Supermax. The prison system covers 37 acres.
The world knows ADX Florence for its harsh policies. Inmates are in solitary confinement 23 hours per day. They only have one day to go out to a bigger cell.
12. The Denver Post
The Denver Post is a popular newspaper that was founded in 1983. Now, the owner of the publication is MediaNEw Group, Inc. Today, the owner of the Denver Post is one of the biggest newspaper chains in the country.
Historically, the Denver Post was founded in the 1890s, but it was not called the Denver Post back then. At that time, the paper took on the mayor of the city and other businesses and gained a reputation of being a fearless media agency.
13. The Colorado Cannibal
Although Colorado Springs is not directly related to the Colorado Cannibal, the city’s name is linked to it simply because the state’s name is on it.
The Colorado Cannibal is Alfred Packer. He was an American prospector who confessed that he was a cannibal. He said that he ate people during the winter of 1874. At that time, he and five other men traveled to the mountains of San Juan.
Only Alfred returned, and said his party abandoned him. Eventually, he said that as a member died, the rest who survived ate the dead body, and that he was the last one to live.
14. Colorado School for Deaf Mutes
Colorado Springs is famous for its educational institutions, particularly the school for people who have visual and hearing impairment. The school is close to the facility that Nikola Tesla built.
The school, commonly called CSDB, is a pre-school, but it also offers a residential school up to the 12th grade. It also has post-high school education.
The school was named such in 1893. Today, it serves more than 700 students. The person who granted the land as William Jackson.
15. US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center
Also called the OPTC, this center is famous because it is where people with physical challenges train to become athletes. On top of that, people without disabilities also use the site to train for the Olympics.
The OPTC is the flagship training center of the US Olympic team and the Paralympic Committee. It has 15 member organizations and there are two international sports federation that have headquarters in this place.
Colorado may not be a war zone, but it has seen its fair share of history. It was once the site of a massive gold rush, and it eventually became a city known for its parks and nature reserves. Today, Colorado Springs remains as a famous attraction for people looking for outdoor activities.
Jason Dempsey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Home City Living. After abandoning the corporate world in order to indulge his wanderlust, Jason founded Home City Living with his partner Rose to create the premier source of travel information and inside local knowledge on the web to help other would-be global explorers and seekers learn to spread their wings and fly.