Welcome To Colorado Springs, Colorado
The City of Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. It is the second most populous city in the State of Colorado and the 48th most populous city in the United States.
Colorado Springs is located just east of the geographic center of the state and 61 miles (98 km) south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At 6,035 feet (1839 meters) Colorado Springs sits over one mile above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher. The city is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006.
United States Census Bureau estimates that in 2005 the population of the City of Colorado Springs was 369,815 (48th most populous U.S. city), the population of the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area was 587,500 (84th most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor was 4,013,055.
Today, Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area, such as parks, bike trails, urban open-area spaces, business and commerce, theatres and other entertainment. It was first established as a posh resort community, though the older mining supply center of Colorado City (now Old Colorado City) was merged later, and the tourist industry has remained strong and offers many activities and attractions. In July 2006, Money magazine ranked Colorado Springs the best place to live in the big city category, which includes cities with 300,000 or more people.
Colorado Springs is not exempt from the problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth: overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last 20 years and the annexing of the Banning Lewis Ranch area for 175,000 future residents. In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and adopted a 1% sales tax dedicated to improving the region's transportation infrastructure. Together with state funding for the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX)(2007 completion) and the I-25 interchange with Highway 16 (2008 completion), significant progress has been made since 2003 in addressing the transportation needs of the area.
Colorado Springs is also home to a large number of military installations (see below) and important national defense agencies. It is also home to the United States Air Force Academy.
Colorado Springs was founded in August 1871 by General William Palmer, with the intention of creating a high quality resort community, and was soon nicknamed "Little London" because of the many English tourists who came. Nearby Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods made the city's location a natural choice.
Within two years his flagship resort the Antlers Hotel opened, welcoming U.S. and international travelers as well as health-savvy individuals seeking the high altitude and dry climate, and Palmer's visions of a thriving, quality resort town were coming true. Soon after, he founded the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, a critical regional railroad. He maintained his presence in the city's early days by making many grants or sales of land to many important civic institutions in the community. Palmer and his wife saw Colorado Springs develop into one of the most popular travel destinations in the late 1800s United States.
The town of Palmer Lake and a geographic feature called the Palmer Divide (and other more minor features) are named after him, and a bronze sculpture of Palmer on a horse without its front legs raised (denoting a natural death and not one caused during battle or afterwards from being fatally wounded in battle), is prominently displayed downtown in front of Palmer High School, the center of a busy intersection.
Garden of the Gods
Colorado Springs' present downtown location, where General Palmer first founded the city, was partly due to Palmer's dislike of nearby rough-and-ready Colorado City (now called Old Colorado City, and not to be confused with present-day Colorado City) and its many saloons. Palmer ensured his new planned city stayed alcohol free by buying a huge tract of land to the east of Colorado City, and in fact, Colorado Springs stayed dry until the end of Prohibition in 1933.
In its earliest days of 1859–1860, Colorado City was a major hub for sending mining supplies to South Park, where a major strike in the Pike's Peak Gold Rush was found. Eventually Colorado City was processing much of the gold ore at the Golden Cycle Mill using Palmer's railroads. The affluent, who made money from the gold rush and industry, did not stay in Colorado City but built their large houses in the undeveloped downtown area of Colorado Springs (i.e Wood Ave.). Early pictures show several large stone buildings like Colorado College, St. Mary's, the library, and the county courthouse sitting in large empty plains. This is unique during this period, to pre-build a city's civic infrastructure in stone with wide streets before there was a population to justify the expense.
Colorado City remained the county seat of El Paso County until 1873, when the courthouse moved to Colorado Springs.
W. S. Stratton, early benefactor
In 1891, Winfield Scott Stratton discovered and developed one of the richest gold mines on earth in the nearby Cripple Creek and Victor area, and was perhaps the most generous early contributor to those communities and to Colorado Springs.
After he made his fortune he declined to build a mansion as the other gold rush millionaires were doing; instead, in later years, he lived in a house in Colorado Springs he had built when he was a carpenter in pre-gold days.
In Colorado Springs, he funded the Myron Stratton Home for housing itinerant children and the elderly, donated land for City Hall, the Post Office, the Courthouse (which now houses the Pioneer Museum), and a park; he also greatly expanded the city's trolley car system and built the Mining Exchange building, and gave to all three communities in many other ways, great and small.
As Stratton's generosity became known, he was also approached by many people looking for money, and he became reclusive and eccentric in his later years.
Spencer Penrose, early benefactor
Spencer Penrose also made his mark on Colorado Springs in its early years—though not until two decades after its founding. Penrose started as a ladies-man and an adventurer. After making a fortune in the gold fields of nearby Cripple Creek in the 1890s, he married Julie Villiers Lewis McMillan, and settled down.
Penrose used his wealth to invest in other national mineral concerns and financed construction of the Broadmoor Hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, the Pikes Peak Highway, what is now known as the Penrose-St Francis Health System, and established the El Pomar Foundation, which still oversees many of his contributions in Colorado Springs today.
End of the Colorado Gold Rush and the start of health tourism
The flow of gold and silver ebbed as the decades passed, and Colorado City's economic fortunes faded with it; the miners and those who processed the ore left or retired. Because of the healthy natural scenic beauty, mineral waters, and extremely dry climate, Colorado Springs became a tourist attraction and popular recuperation destination for tuberculosis patients. The healthy waters in Colorado Springs contained so much natural fluoride that some peoples’ teeth developed Colorado Stain. In 1909, Dr. Frederick McKay of Colorado Springs discovered the Colorado Stain connection and that a little fluoride added to water would prevent cavities, according to the permanent health exhibit at the Pioneers Museum. During this time, the city of Roswell was annexed and, in 1917, Colorado Springs also annexed Colorado City (now called Old Colorado City). This neighborhood in the west side of Colorado Springs is a historic district recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. A bustling main street of businesses, such as tourist and antique shops, still retains its old Victorian and brick style.
Latter 20th Century military boom
Colorado Springs saw its first military base in 1942 shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked. During this time the U.S. Army established Camp Carson near the southern borders of the city in order to train and house troops in preparation for the Second World War. It was also during this time that the Army began using Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. It was renamed Peterson Field and used as a training base for heavy bombers (the airport and base still share parts of the flightline).
Hi-res Kodachrome of downtown Colorado Springs, 1951.
The Army expanded Camp Carson, a venture that increased growth in Colorado Springs and provided a significant area of industry for the city. After World War II the military stepped away from the Springs, Camp Carson was declining and the military was activating and deactivating Peterson Field irregularly. That all changed when the Korean War erupted. Camp Carson, which had declined to only 600 soldiers, was revitalized along with many other parts of the Springs. In 1951, the United States Air Defense Command moved to Colorado Springs and opened Ent Air Force Base (named for Major General Uzal Girard Ent, commander of the Ninth Air Force during World War II).
After the Korean War, Peterson Field was renamed Peterson Air Force Base and was permanently activated. In 1954 Camp Carson became Fort Carson, Colorado Spring's first Army post. Later that same year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Colorado Springs, out of 300 other sites around the nation, to be the site of the Air Force's military academy. A new and growing Army post, an Air Force Base, and the Air Force's military academy together jump-started Colorado Springs' growth.
The military boom continued and in 1963, NORAD's main facility was built in Cheyenne Mountain. This placed NORAD directly next to Colorado Springs and permanently secured the city's military presence. During the Cold War the city greatly expanded due to increased revenue from various industries and the prevailing military presence in the city. In the mid 1970s, Ent Air Force Base was shut down and later converted into the United States Olympic Training Center. Military presence was further increased in 1983 with the founding of Schriever Air Force Base (formerly Falcon Air Force Base), a base primarily tasked with missile defense and satellite control. Fort Carson and Peterson are still growing and continue to contribute to the city's growth. Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, is located on Peterson AFB.
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 186.1 square miles (482.1 km²), of which, 185.7 square miles (481.1 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (0.21%) is water.
Colorado Springs averages 300 days of sunshine per year, and receives 15.42 inches of annual precipitation. Average snowfall for the area (included in the previous annual precipitation calculation) is 5.5" in November, 5.7" in December, 5.0" in January, 5.1" in February, 9.4" in March, and 6.3" in April. Due to unusually low precipitation for the past few years before 2006, Colorado Springs has had to enact lawn water restrictions. Average January low and high temperatures are 14°F/ 42°F (-10°C/ 5.5°C) and average July low and high temperatures are 55°F/ 85°F (12.7°C/ 29.4°C). Colorado Springs has relatively mild winters, with large snow accumulations in the downtown area relatively rare, a strong warming sun due to the altitude, and only occasional episodic periods of sub-zero cold snaps and blizzards from October 31 to March/April. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Colorado Springs was 101°F (38.3°C) on June 7, 1874 and the coldest temperature ever recorded was -32°F (-35.5°C) on January 20, 1883. Colorado Springs is also one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States. This natural phenomenon led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the preferred location to build his lab and study electricity.
As of the census of 2000, there were 360,890 people, 141,516 households, and 93,117 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,942.9 people per square mile (750.2/km²). There were 148,690 housing units at an average density of 800.5/sq mi (309.1/km²).
There were 141,516 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,081, and the median income for a family was $53,478. Males had a median income of $36,786 versus $26,427 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,496. About 6.1% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
Much of the Springs tourism comes from the area it was built around, most famously Pikes Peak. The city is host to numerous trails and parks due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, making the city a popular destination for its scenery. With the mountains as close as they are the Springs has also gained notoriety for its rock formations and other geological features.
For a list of events and attractions, please visit the Colorado Springs Tourism article.
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee.
The city has a particularly long association with the sport of figure skating, having hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships 6 times and the World Figure Skating Championships 5 times. It is home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and the Broadmoor Skating Club, a notable training center for the sport. In recent years, the World Arena has hosted skating events such as Skate America and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
Colorado Springs' economy is driven primarily by the military, the high-tech industry, and tourism, in that order. While the main force behind the city's economy is the military, the city is not completely dependent on it. The city is currently experiencing some growth mainly in the service sectors and has been identified as one of the nation's top ten fastest growing economies. Colorado Springs is also one of the nation's leaders in lender available housing, nearing its top record set in the late 1980s.
On January 17, 2007, Steve Fehl, an Analyst at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center announced that many of the better jobs being created in Colorado Springs are for service positions in upscale call centers for the insurance, support, and financial industries. These large businesses find the quality and quantity of available college educated workers an incentive to locate to the city. Mr. Fehl also believes Colorado Springs still remains a difficult market for job seekers outside the defense sector. With future growth in the defense sector expected when the approved funding is released to defense contractors, creating employment for those with active security clearances. This growth should offset some of the recent softening in information technology and complex electronic equipment manufacturing sectors.
The defense industry is a significant portion of Colorado Springs' economy with several of the largest employers coming from this sector. A large segment of this industry is dedicated to the development and operation of various projects of the missile defense agency. The aerospace industry also has had an influence on the Colorado Springs economy. The defense sector has planned several changes, moving in and out personnel, building and shutting down, over the next few years. Still, they are among the largest employers in the city and the overall trend is some growth.
Significant defense corporations in the city include:
A large percentage of Colorado Springs' economy is still based on high tech and manufacturing complex electronic equipment. The high tech sector of Colorado Springs area has decreased its overall presence in the Springs' economy over the past six years (from around 21,000 down to around 8,000), notably in information technology and complex electronic equipment. Due to the slowdown in tourism, the high tech sector still remains second to the military in terms of total revenue generated and employment. It is projected by this trend that the high tech employment ratio will continue to decrease in the near future.
Because of Colorado Springs’ central U.S. location, available reserve of highly educated workers, and business friendly climate; several companies have plans to either expand their current operations in Colorado Springs or have considered Colorado Springs as a competitive area for relocating or opening a business.
For further information on Colorado Springs please visit the following websites
Information provided from the Wikipedia article found at www.wikipedia.com © 2008 Move In And Out, Inc.
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