Printed on the front of this 1935 postcard: “Famous Summit House at Top of Pikes Peak,
Alt. 14,110 ft.” Note on similar photo: “Upon the tower of this building is a long distance
telescope and a 300,000 candle power searchlight. Within the building is a Western Union
telegraph office, the highest in the world, and scientific instruments for cloud study and
weather observation.” The first structure to stand atop Pikes Peak was a two-room stone
weather station; the Army’s Pikes Peak Weather Observatory was dedicated on Oct. 11, 1873.
The Army abandoned the weather station in 1888. It was taken over by Dr. Alfred G. Lewis,
a physician and the mayor of Manitou Springs, who started selling doughnuts and coffee to
tourists, but that enterprise only lasted a few years. Cog Rail owners restored and enhanced
the unused signal station after being granted an easement by the Department of Interior
in 1892 for a train terminal and guest house on the summit, says a history on pikespeak.
us.com. In 1917, a second summit house was built on the western side of the summit to serve
the growing number of tourists coming up the mountain; fire destroyed that building in
1953, leaving only the original summit house. That structure was demolished in the 1960s to
make way for the current building. A new complex atop the mountain is in the works. POSTCARD COLLECTION, COURTESY OF PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, 208-9877