Photospread: Colorado Springs then and now

Taylor Burnfield, Zach Robbins and Lauren Rock.

tburnfie@uccs.edu, zrobbins@uccs.edu, lrock@uccs.edu

On July 31, Colorado Springs will celebrate its 150th anniversary. In honor of our city’s 150 years of history, The Scribe’s photographers captured some of Colorado Springs’ most fascinating historical sites. If you would like to learn more about how you can celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary, visit the Colorado Springs website.

Glen Eyrie Castle

Early 1900s, photo courtesy of Pinterest
2021, photo by Taylor Burnfield

In the heart of Colorado Springs, exists an English Tudor-style castle straight out of a fairytale. The castle was built in 1871 by the founder of Colorado Springs, William Palmer. After Palmer died in 1909, his relatives tried to sell the property to the city of Colorado Springs. However, the city declined due to the high maintenance costs.

The property frequently changed owners and was even abandoned at one point. In 1953, the property was purchased by the Christian organization The Navigators. Since then, the property serves as the organization’s conference and retreat center.

Tours of the castle are available to the public. You can learn more about how to visit the castle at Glen Eyrie’s website.

Cragmor Sanatorium / Main Hall on the UCCS campus

Unknown year, photo courtesy of the Pioneers Museum.
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2021, photo by Lauren Rock.

The building that now stands as Main Hall on the UCCS campus was once a tuberculosis (TB) treatment center. Known as Cragmor Sanatorium, the structure was built in 1905. Colorado Springs was home to several TB treatment centers during the early 20th century. The city was a popular destination for TB treatment due to the mild climate and high altitude.

If you would like to learn more about the former Cragmor Sanatorium, read The Scribe’s article about the history of the building.

Cutler Hall on the Colorado College campus

Early 1900s, photo courtesy of Colorado College website
2021, photo by Lauren Rock

Cutler Hall on the Colorado College campus is one of the oldest structures in Colorado Springs. Build between 1877 and 1880, it was the first building on the Colorado Campus. Founder of Colorado Springs, William Palmer, helped fund the construction of the building.

You can learn more about the structure at the Colorado College website.

Antlers Hotel

The original Antlers Hotel in 1883. Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library.
The second Antlers Hotel built in 1901. Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library.
Current Antlers Hotel. Photo by Zach Robbins.

The original Antlers Hotel was built in 1883. A fire in 1889 caused the original hotel to burn down. In 1901, the hotel was rebuilt with funding from William Palmer. The second hotel was in operation until 1964. That structure was torn down and the hotel that stands today was built in 1967.

If you would like to learn more about the Antlers Hotel, visit their website.

Cragmor Manor / Cragmor Hall on the UCCS campus

Cragmor Manor in 1965. Photo courtesy of the Pikes Peak Library.
Cragmor Hall in 2021. Photo by Lauren Rock.

The building that is now Cragmor Hall on the UCCS campus was once a nursing home known as Cragmor Manor. It opened in 1960 and was only in operation for a few years. When the property of Cragmor Sanatorium was purchased by the University of Colorado in 1964, Cragmor Manor was purchased as well and became a part of the university.

Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

1930s photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library (left) and 2021 photo by Taylor Burnfield (right).

Atop of Cheyenne Mountain overlooking Colorado Springs, sits a mysterious romanesque structure. Built in 1937, the shrine is dedicated to Will Rogers, a celebrity who died in 1935. Rogers is not buried at the shrine. Instead, the tombs of Spencer and Julie Penrose (the founders of The Broadmoor and the El Pomar Foundation) are located inside of a small chapel that is housed within the shrine.

The shrine is five stories tall and was designed by architect Charles E. Thomas. The interior of the chapel features murals by artist Randall Davey. The chapel also features 15th and 16th-century European artwork.

The shrine can be visited by purchasing a ticket through the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Visitors can explore the outside of the shrine. The interior of the shrine is currently closed due to COVID. Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website for more information.

Burns Theater / Chief Theater

Chief Theater in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library.
2021, parking lot. Photo by Zach Robbins

In 1912, the Burns Theater was built as an entertainment venue for residents of Colorado Springs. The theater became a haven for performing artists. When Hollywood films replaced live entertainment as American’s favorite pastime, the theater was later converted into a movie theater and was renamed the Chief Theater.

In 1973, the city could not maintain the old structure and decided to tear it down. Now, a parking lot exists in the spot where the theater once stood. It is the parking lot across the street from the Gazette building.

Pikes Peak Avenue

1890s (left) photo courtesy of the Pioneers Museum. 2021 (right) photo by Zach Robbins.

Pikes Peak Avenue was once a dirt road filled with horse carriages and streetcars. Now, it is a busy modern road filled with some of the most important businesses in Colorado Springs.

El Paso County Courthouse / Pioneers Museum

El Paso County Courthouse in 1920. Photo courtesy of the Pioneers Museum.
The Pioneers Museum in 2021. Photo by Zach Robbins.

The original El Paso County courthouse was constructed in 1903 and served as the county’s courthouse until 1973. The structure was later converted into the Pioneers Museum. Admission to the museum is free and the museum is currently showcasing an exhibit in honor of Colorado Springs 150th anniversary.

Garden of the Gods

Left photo: Pueblo tribe members Ca-Ping (left) and Ja-Ro (right) at Garden of the Gods in the 1930s, photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library. Right photo: Garden of the Gods in 2021, photo by Zach Robbins.

Long before Colorado Springs was founded in 1871, Indigenous people inhabited the area for thousands of years. Ute tradition teaches that their creation began at the Garden of the Gods. This land was occupied by the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Apache and other tribes. 

When celebrating the city’s 150th anniversary, it is important to remember who this land truly belongs to. You can educate yourself about the Indigenous history of Colorado Springs by visiting the Colorado Springs pow wow website and by watching this PBS documentary about the original inhabitants of the Pikes Peak region.