October 12, 2001
Dating to the mid-1800's, Old Colorado City was the first settlement in the Pike’s Peak region of Colorado. Local historiians say it was built upon rumors of gold strikes to be made nearby. There never was much gold found here --- what there was turned up at Cripple Creek on the other side of the mountain --- but the Old City survives as a friendly place for walking past historic old buildings (many more than 100 years old), quality art galleries, and what appeared to be several good restaurants.
It’s also an oasis of quiet in what’s otherwise a sprawl of malls, housing subdivisions and multi-lane trafficways that now engulf the greater Colorado Springs area in all directions except to the northwest along Colorado Avenue. (At last count, the place had grown to some 360,000 people.)
The Old City proper extends roughly between 24th and 27th Streets, but for many of the blocks southeast of there, Colorado Avenue is lined with old, modest, but very attractive single-family homes worth driving or riding by. The best way to savor Old Colorado City is to walk between 24th and 27th, up one side of the street and down the other. If your feet get tired, many of the shops have inviting benches in front. Check out the many restaurants; you may decide to come back for dinner. By all means, browse the many art galleries and craft shops, but don’t buy anything until you’ve also checked out the galleries in Manitou Springs.
Old Colorado City was for many years the home of early generations of the famed Unser auto-racing family; their house, marked with a plaque, is on the east side of Colorado Ave. near 27th St.
Assuming you stop for photographs along the way, a walking tour of Old Colorado City will take a half-hour or so. It will be time well spent. The old courthouse, in a park at 24th St., is a good place to begin.
From journal Manitou Springs: Home of the Spirit .. Railway to the Sky