The pioneers are long gone, but the places where they made their marks remain - the mountains, parks and rocks we now enjoy without much thought to their histories.
We all know about Zebulon Pike, and many know about famed mountaineer Manley Ormes, namesake of the 14,115-foot peak's snowy neighbor.
But it's easy to glance over the Pikes Peak Atlas and wonder about the countless names behind the scenery. They are indeed a reflection of Colorado Springs' rich past.
Here's a sampling:
William A. Waldo had land in the canyon that would be burned in the century after his death. Hints of a colorful life emerge from "The History of Pike National Forest," a compilation of tales passed on. In the canyon, "Mudy Jones had a mortgage on the Waldo Cattle and they got into a quarrel over it. Waldo asked Jones if he could see the mortgage and when Jones handed it to him, Waldo ate and swallowed it."
Newspaper accounts refer to a W.A. Waldo who "narrowly escape(d)" a rock slide in Red Rock Canyon. The unruly man again dodged death by outrunning the Green Mountain Falls marshal not once but twice as bullets whizzed after him.
Waldo's sister canyon gets its name from a more famous socialite: Mary Lincoln "Queen" Mellen, the wife of Colorado Springs founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer. Reads a Gazette Telegraph tribute to her following her 1894 death: "It is told of how Queens canon was named for Mrs. Palmer, whom her husband called Queen, because he thought it the most beautiful of canons in the region."
Celeste Black writes in "Queen of Glen Eyrie" that "at age nineteen, the lovely, petite girl with a melodic mezzo voice was gentility personified." Mellen was that age when Palmer met her. She'd start the Springs' first school and oversee the castle built near Garden of the Gods before her last decade, when she sought the lower altitudes of England due to heart problems.
Fellow Civil War Gen. Robert A. Cameron was a right-hand man to Palmer. Ormes' "The Book of Colorado Springs" tells of when "it came to pass on the bright and beautiful morning of July 31, 1871, at 8 o'clock the important act of driving the first stake in the new town of Colorado Springs took place." The act fell upon Cameron, who gave a speech beforehand.
He spoke of "the health-giving elements of the climate" and "the magnificence of the scenery," Ormes writes, and he "promised material relief and cure of many troublesome and dangerous diseases from drinking the magic waters of the Soda Springs nearby." Some do in Manitou after the formidable climb up the general's namesake mountain.
Rose Georgina Kingsley was a travel writer and avid hiker in the Springs' early days who once noted Pikes Peak was "rather a rough trip," but "quite practicable for ladies." She would be the first known woman to reach another of the town's recognizable summits, the one at 11,499 feet.
After her second visit to the region, an 1875 Gazette Telegraph article tells of a party's ascent "to confer a name upon the mountain, which, though higher and more prominent than either Cameron's Cone or Cheyenne Mountain, had previously been without designation. The name adopted was Monte Rosa, and was given in pursuance of a choice made by the early colonists in the winter of 1871-2 ..."
Her adventures that year are depicted in "South By West: Or, Winter in the Rocky Mountains and Spring in Mexico," the rare book kept in a vault at Penrose Library.
Before the name Penrose was the most uttered around Cheyenne Mountain, there was Dixon. Before The Broadmoor's granddaddy, there was a rancher with grand ideas of his own - though he lacked education.
William F. Dixon "could not read or write but he realized soon that his craggy mountain had an unforeseen potential," reads the forward to "The Cheyenne Mountain Story" by William R. Conte. Dixon's 1860s land acquisitions expanded to Old Stage Road, where he collected tolls for people to explore his pristine property. Near where Penrose would build his El Pomar home, Dixon opened a tavern.
But the much anticipated summiting trail from Cheyenne Mountain State Park is named for Thomas Dixon, whose relation to William is unclear. He was similarly entrepreneurial at his homestead atop the mountain. By the trail today is a dried pond, in which Thomas Dixon raised frogs. He heard there was a craving for frog legs down at The Broadmoor.
The Rev. Edward Payson Tenney grew the Congregational Church in Central City during the gold rush and then turned his attention to the budding town beneath Pikes Peak. He became president of Colorado College in 1876, intending to create a Christian school that would rival Harvard to the East.
Eyes at the other end of the country were opened to Colorado Springs as Tenney distributed a book there, "The New West," which described Colorado College becoming the moral center of the frontier. The scenery, he wrote, "give(s) constant delight to every eye. It is not far to walk or ride into quiet glens, with flowing fountains, rocky streams, abundant foliage, and flowers, with mountain walls and massive peaks rising on every side."
Tenney lost favor at Colorado College. But still he earned the namesake for a piece of that scenery: the rock outcrops seen jutting from the southwest foothills.
Mostly only legends live on about Frosty Clemens. What's true is that he had a cabin in the remote meadow named for him - now the popular traversing point for ambitious mountain bikers and also the starting point for Mount Rosa hikers. Some said Frosty was the cousin of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. At least, it's easy to imagine Frosty in a Twain story.
In "Shattered Dreams on Pikes Peak," Ivan Brunk mentions Frosty as "a mountain character" who "was a prospector and behaved like one." He never got rich, writes Brunk, who was told the man "pulled a permanent lid of gravel down over himself in one of his mines."
Joseph C. Jones was the first settler in what is now the scenic destination from North Cheyenne Cañon Park. Struggling with his resort plans, Jones was known to have gone crazy during his lonesome years in the woods. Brunk recounts one crystal hunter's encounter with the proprietor in 1882:
"Looking back I saw a tall, fierce looking man making rapid strides toward me ... He came up very close to me and with a wild look in his eyes and with wild gestures he haragued me about as follows: 'I am the greatest man in all this region. I was the first to discover gold in the Rocky Mountains, and I know now where there are gold fields that will make you rich if you will lend me two hundred dollars so that I can go to them.'"
Jones said he was starving and struggling to sell his park for the right price. The crystal hunter, R.T. Cross, writes that he found what he was looking for at Jones' cabin. Cross left to learn a few weeks later that Jones had died, "and so far as I know the mystery of his life was buried with him."