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Photos: Gallery | Colorado Springs Gazette, News

A Look Back

Images from Colorado Springs' past

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Lt. Col. James Randall exits the cockpit of an F-111 upon his return to Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas after a test flight in this undated photograph. Randall was a member of the famed Tuskegree Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen gained an enviable reputation in World War II. The pilots that the government once thought were disqualified for the cockpit by their skin color were known as tigers in the sky. Randall flew 75 combat missions during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, he was part of Operation Rolling Thunder, an early attempt to cripple North Vietnam’s fighting capability by destroying supplies and transport routes behind enemy lines. AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN COLORADO SPRINGS PHOTO COLLECTION, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 412-120

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Cadets use the Air Force Academy library in this 1959 photograph. The academy graduated its first class of 207 on June 3 of that year. STEWARTS COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 013-10225

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An airplane sits on a runway with Cheyenne Mountain in the background in this undated photograph. The photo is identified on the back as “Pres. Eisenhower’s plane ‘Columbine.’” The first plane to be designated as Air Force One was named Columbine II by first lady Mamie Eisenhower after the official state flower of Colorado, according to reports. PHOTO BY CLARENCE G. COIL, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 013-4895

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This 1896 photograph shows a view of ruined buildings and rubble after a fire in Cripple Creek. In late April 1896, the mining town endured two catastrophic fires over a period of 96 hours, according to an article by Katie Rudolph on the Denver Public Library’s website. The first, on April 25, began around 1 p.m. when a gasoline stove overturned on the second floor of the Central Dance Hall on Myers Avenue, the article says. “A brisk wind spread the fire to adjoining buildings. By the time the fire was out, two lives had been lost and eight blocks of the city’s central business district had been destroyed.” A second fire broke out on April 29. “This second fire proved even more devastating because Cripple Creek had already exhausted its firefighting resources,” reads an article on coloradoencyclopedia.org. “Firefighters resorted to dynamiting buildings to try to prevent the blaze from spreading. Much of the town was flattened, especially the downtown business district, and half of the residents lost their homes.” PHOTO BY E.A. YELTON, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 174-3484

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Five miners pose in a mine tunnel in Cripple Creek in this 1907 photograph. Rough-hewn wooden beams support the walls and ceiling. The men are wearing soft hats and have no safety equipment. Cripple Creek was put on the map by a cowboy named Bob Womack, who for almost 15 years searched the southwest slope of Pikes Peak for gold, according to a history of the mining town on the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau website. “In 1890 he finally discovered the precious metal in Poverty Gulch, which later became the town of Cripple Creek. Thousands of prospectors flocked to the region between 1890 and 1910 and it became the ‘World’s Greatest Gold Camp.’” PHOTO BY ANDREW J. HARLAN, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 402-31

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The interior of the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is seen during services in this undated photo. The 150-foottall structure features 17 triangular spires that are supposed to remind onlookers of the mountainous backdrop of the academy and the planes flown by the Air Force. The academy estimates that the chapel draws as many as 500,000 visitors a year, making it Colorado’s top man-made tourist attraction. PHOTO BY CLARENCE G. COIL, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 013-40

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The plaque on the right side of this rock, as seen in this 1906 photograph, reads: “The people of Colorado have placed here this granite rock in recognition the notable career of Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Soldier-explorer and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of his historic expedition to the southwest.” The discovery of Pikes Peak dates back to the early 1700s, according to pikespeak. com, but the mountain wasn’t called Pikes Peak until after the 1806 expedition led by Zebulon Pike, who dubbed it Grand Peak. PHOTO BY ANDREW J. HARLAN, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 402-50

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