The city had an estimated population of 439,886 in 2013., making it the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 41st most populous city in the United States, while the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 678,319 in 2013. The city covers 194.7 square miles (504 km2), making it Colorado's largest city in area. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and placed number one in Outside's 2009 list of America's Best Cities.
Replacing the 1883 original which burned earlier in the year, the 1898 Antlers Hotel (above) was torn down in 1964.
In 1871 the Colorado Springs Company laid out the towns of La Font (later called Manitou Springs) and Fountain Colony, upstream and downstream respectively, of Colorado City. Within a year, Fountain Colony would be renamed Colorado Springs, and was officially incorporated. The El Paso County seat shifted from Colorado City in 1873 to the Town of Colorado Springs. On December 1, 1880, Colorado Springs expanded northward with 2 annexations.
The 2nd period of annexations was during 1889-90, and included Seavey's Addition, West Colorado Springs, East End, and another North End addition. In 1891 the Broadmoor Land Company built the Broadmoor suburb, which included the Broadmoor Casino, and by December 12, 1895, the city had "four Mining Exchanges and 275 mining brokers." By 1898, the city was designated into quadrants by the north-south Cascade Avenue and the east-west Washington/Pike's Peak avenues.:10
Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area, such as parks, bike trails, and urban open-area spaces. However, it is not exempt from problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth, such as 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 twenty years, and the annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch area to accommodate further population growth of 175,000 future residents.
Pikes Peak, the easternmost 14er in the United States
Colorado Springs has a semi-arid climate (KöppenBSk), and its location just east of the Southern Rocky Mountains affords it the rapid warming influence from chinook winds during winter but also subjects it to drastic day-to-day variability in weather conditions. The city has abundant sunshine throughout the year, averaging over 300 days of sun per year, and receives approximately 16.5 inches (419 mm) of annual precipitation. Due to unusually low precipitation for several years after flooding in 1999, Colorado Springs enacted lawn water restrictions in 2002. These were lifted in 2005.
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.
Tornadoes can also impact the Colorado Springs area, with many having touched down in El Paso County.
Winters are moderately cold, with December, the coldest month, averaging 30.8 °F (−0.7 °C); historically January has been the coldest month, but, in recent years, December has had both lower daily maxima and minima. Typically, there are 5.2 nights with sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows and 23.6 days where the high does not rise above freezing, and extended sub-zero (°F) cold is rare. Snowfall is usually moderate and remains on the ground briefly because of direct sun, with the city receiving 38 inches (97 cm) per season, although the mountains to the west often receive in excess of triple that amount; March is the snowiest month in the region, both by total accumulation and number of days with measurable snowfall. In addition, 8 of the top 10 heaviest 24-hour snowfalls have occurred from March to May. Summers are warm, with July, the warmest month, averaging 70.9 °F (21.6 °C), and 18 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Due to the high elevation and aridity, nights are usually relatively cool and rarely does the low remain above 70 °F (21 °C). Dry weather generally prevails, but brief afternoon thunderstorms are common, especially in July and August when the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall, due to the North American Monsoon.
The first freeze in the autumn and the last freeze in the spring on average occur on October 2 and May 6, respectively; the average window for measurable snowfall (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) is October 21 thru April 25. Extreme temperatures range from 101 °F (38 °C) on June 26, 2012 down to −27 °F (−33 °C) on February 1, 1951 and December 9, 1919.
Climate data for Colorado Springs, Colorado (Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Colorado Springs' economy is driven primarily by the military, the high-tech industry, and tourism, in that order. The city is currently experiencing some growth mainly in the service sectors. The current unemployment rate, as of November 2013, in Colorado Springs is 7.3% compared to 6.5% for the State and 7.0% for the Nation.
The defense industry plays a major role in the Colorado Springs economy, with some of the city's largest employers coming from the sector. A large segment of this industry is dedicated to the development and operation of various projects for missile defense. With its close ties to defense, the aerospace industry has also influenced the Colorado Springs economy. Although some defense corporations have left or downsized city campuses, a slight growth trend is still recorded. Significant defense corporations in the city include Boeing, General Dynamics, Harris Corporation, SAIC, ITT, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The Space Foundation is based in Colorado Springs.
A large percentage of Colorado Springs' economy is still based on manufacturing high tech and complex electronic equipment. The high tech sector in the Colorado Springs area has decreased its overall presence from 2000 to 2006 (from around 21,000 down to around 8,000), with notable reductions in information technology and complex electronic equipment. Due to a slowing in tourism, the high tech sector still remains second to the military in terms of total revenue generated and employment. Current trends project the high tech employment ratio will continue to decrease in the near future.
High tech corporations with connections to the city include:
Verizon Business, a telecommunications firm, had nearly 1300 employees in 2008.Hewlett-Packard has a large sales, support, and SAN storage engineering center for the computer industry.
Colorado Springs is home to both Army and Air Force bases. These military installations border the city, to the north, south and east, aside from Schriever Air Force Base, which is located farther east of the city, still in El Paso County.
The Air Force has critical aspects of their service based at Colorado Springs which carry on missile defense operations and development. The Air Force bases a large section of the national missile defense operations here, with Peterson Air Force Base set to operate large sections of the program. Peterson AFB is currently the headquarters of the majority of Air Force Space Command and the operations half of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT).
Peterson is also headquarters for the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), one of the Unified Combatant Commands. USNORTHCOM directs all branches of the U.S. military operations in their area of responsibility which includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. In the event of national emergencies the President or Secretary of Defense can call upon USNORTHCOM for any required military assistance. Service members from every branch of the US Military are stationed at the command.
Schriever Air Force Base is home to the 50th Space Wing, which controls warning, navigational, communications and spy satellites. It is also the home of the Space Warfare Center and the home for the 576th Flight Test Squadron. It is the location of the Global Positioning System (GPS) master control station and GPS Operations Center and the US Naval Observatory Alternate Master Clock, used to synchronize GPS satellite time. Schriever is also developing parts of national missile defense and runs parts of the annual wargames used by the nation's military.
Bordering the north-western side of the city lie the vast grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, where cadets train to become officers in the Air Force. The campus is famous for its unique chapel and draws visitors year round. Most of the Air Force Academy's sports programs belong to the Mountain West Conference.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a component of America's missile defense system, is located in Cheyenne Mountain Air Station. When it was built at the height of the Cold War, NORAD caused some anxiety for the residents in and around Colorado Springs, who believed the installation would be a primary target during a nuclear attack. Although NORAD still operates today, it is primarily tasked with the tracking of ICBMs, and the military has recently decided to place Cheyenne Mountain's NORAD/NORTHCOM operations on warm standby and move operations to nearby Peterson Air Force Base.
The city's location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains makes it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 13,000 jobs. Nearly 5 million visitors come to the area annually, contributing $1.35 billion in revenue.
The downtown Colorado Springs Visitor Information Center offers free area information to leisure and business travelers. The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), also located downtown, supports and advocates for the arts throughout the Pikes Peak Region. It operates the PeakRadar website to communicate city events.
Although houses of worship of almost every major world religion can be found in the city, Colorado Springs has in particular attracted a large influx of Evangelical Christians and Christian organizations in recent years. At one time Colorado Springs was counted to be the national headquarters for 81 different religious organizations, earning the city the tongue-in-cheek nicknames "the Evangelical Vatican" and "The Christian Mecca." Religious groups with regional or international headquarters in Colorado Springs include:
Colorado Springs has been the subject or setting for many books, movies and television shows, and is especially a frequent backdrop for political thrillers and military-themed stories because of its many military installations and vital importance to the United States' continental defense. Notable television series using the city as a setting include Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and the Stargate series Stargate SG-1, as well as the films WarGames and The Prestige.
In a North Korean propaganda video released in April 2013, Colorado Springs was inexplicably singled out as one of four targets for a missile strike. The video failed to pinpoint Colorado Springs on the map, instead showing a spot somewhere in Louisiana.
There are 136 neighborhood, 8 community, 7 regional parks and 5 sports complexes totally 9,000 acres managed by the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. They also manage 500 acres of trails, which are 160 miles of park trails and 105 miles of urban trails. There are 5,000 acres of open spaces in 48 open space areas.
One of the most popular areas in Colorado Springs is Garden of the Gods. It is a National Natural Landmark with 300 foot sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of the snow-capped mountains of Pikes Peak. The park offers a variety of annual events. One of the most popular events is the Starlight Spectacular. It is a recreational bike ride held every summer to benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition of Colorado Springs.
Three trails, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway and Fountain Creek Regional Trail, form a continuous path from Palmer Lake, through Colorado Springs, to Fountain, Colorado. The Urban Trails system has more than 100 miles of multi-use trails for biking, jogging, roller blading and walking. The trails, except Monument Valley Park trails, may be used for equestrian traffic. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Many of the trails are interconnected, having main "spine" trails, like the Pikes Peak Greenway, that lead to secondary trails.
On November 2, 2010 Colorado Springs voters adopted a council-strong mayor form of government. The City of Colorado Springs transitioned to the new system of government in 2011. Under the council-strong mayor system of government, the mayor is the chief executive and the city council is the legislative branch. The mayor is a full-time elected position and not a member of the city council. The city council has nine members total, four of which represent one of four equally populated districts each. Districts 5 and 6 do not have a direct representative. The remaining five members are elected "at-large". The mayor has veto authority, with the city council having the ability to override a mayoral veto by a two-thirds majority vote (6 out of 9).
Colorado Springs City Hall was built from 1902 to 1904 on land donated by W. S. Stratton.
Elementary and middle schools
Public schools The city's public schools are divided into several districts:
A Metro bus drives past a parking garage in downtown Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is served by a bus system called Mountain Metro (short for Mountain Metropolitan Transit). Although the transit system serves much of the city and its nearest suburbs (Manitou Springs and Security/Widefield), it lacks service to many important areas (Powers Blvd, Northgate, the Airport) and has only limited hours of operation.
Colorado Springs is served by the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. In the state of Colorado, only Denver International has more passenger traffic. The airport has experienced a higher recovery rate in the post-9/11 era than the rest of the country and is in the process of expanding its maintenance facilities, taxiways, and runways to accommodate future growth. In 2005 it served approximately two million passengers.
Colorado Springs is primarily served by two interstate highways. I-25 runs north and south through Colorado, and is in the city for nearly 18 miles, entering the city south of Circle Drive and exiting north of North Gate Blvd. In El Paso County it is known as Ronald Reagan Highway.US 24 runs across the central mountains, through the city, and onto the plains. From west to east in Colorado Springs, US 24 follows the western portion of Cimarron Street and the Midland Expressway, a 2-mile concurrent section with I-25/US 87 between exits 139 and 141, part of Fountain Blvd, an expressway called the Martin Luther King Bypass, part of South Powers Blvd (where it is concurrent with Colorado 21), and the easternmost portion of Platte Avenue out of the city.
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. Currently the City is trying to overcome a $23.3 million budget gap created by falling sales taxes and rising expenses.
Several suggestions have been made to create a loop around the city though none have been implemented. To manage congestion, the city implemented two graded separated intersections at Powers and Woodmen and at Austin Bluffs and Union. A third interchange was completed in 2011 at the Woodmen Road/Academy Boulevard intersection.
In early 2010, the city of Colorado Springs approved an expansion of the northernmost part of Powers Boulevard in order to create an Interstate 25 bypass commonly referred to as the Copper Ridge Expansion.
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Colorado Springs 34th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.
Colorado Springs' sister city organization began when Colorado Springs became partners with Fujiyoshida. The torii gate erected to commemorate the relationship stands at the corner of Bijou Street and Nevada Avenue, and is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The torii gate, crisscrossed bridge and shrine, located in the median between Platte and Bijou Streets in downtown Colorado Springs, were a gift to Colorado Springs, erected in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs to celebrate the friendship between the two communities. A plaque near the torii gate states that "the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities". The Fujiyoshida Student exchange program has become an annual event.
To strengthen relations between the two cities, the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony regularly invites the Taiko drummers from the city to participate in a joint concert in the Pikes Peak Center. The orchestra played in Bankstown, Australia, in 2002 and again in June 2006 as part of their tours to Australia and New Zealand.
Also, in 2006 and 2010, the Bankstown TAP (Talent Advancement Program), performed with the Youth Symphony, and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, as a part of the annual "In Harmony" program.
A notable similarity between Colorado Springs and its sister cities are their geographic positions: three of the seven cities are also located near the base of a major mountain or mountain range.
As of the census of 2000 (limited only to the city limits and not including the very diverse Fort Carson area which many view as being a part of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area), 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 per square mile (309.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.66% White, 6.56% African American, 0.88% Native American, 2.82% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 5.01% from other races, and 3.85% from two or more races. 12.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 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. (Note: City statistics do not include the demographic influence of five local military bases). 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.
This nullifies a popular Canadian claim that the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City and Halifax marked the first time this event was organized on the American continent. However, the 2008 event was the first World Championship on the American continent in which NHL players were eligible to compete.
In order to combat congestion the Colorado Department of Transportation widened the Interstate 25 corridor throughout the city from four lanes (two in each direction) to six lanes in a program called COSMIX. Ultimately, the plan is to make the interstate eight lanes through the city when funding becomes available. This plan is similar in nature to Denver's T-Rex expansion plan. Work has started on expanding Interstate 25 from 4 to 6 lanes between Woodmen Road (exit 149, the northern terminus for the COSMIX project) and Monument (exit 161).
In addition, there were plans to develop a "Front Range Toll Road", a privately owned turnpike, which would begin south of Pueblo and end around Fort Collins. This toll road would allow rail and truck traffic to avoid the more highly traveled parts of I-25 along the Front Range. Initially, the project had support but has since been highly contested because of the need to condemn the land of many private citizens, through the use of eminent domain, to make room for the corridor.
The original plan to convert Powers Boulevard (now Colorado 21) into a bypass for I-25 was abandoned, although some of its interchanges are overpasses and roads further east are being looked at. Easier access to the airport has recently been completed- in late 2011, the conversion of 2 lane Drennan Road to 4 lane expressway Milton Proby Parkway from the airport to S Academy Blvd. Overall the new thoroughfares would include one (or two) loop freeways, a spur into the city connecting the main freeway and the loop, east-west expressway upgrades, and easier access to the Colorado Springs Airport.
The project developers also have hopes of increasing business at the future I-25 Powers Boulevard connection by building a 2.8 million sq. ft. shopping mall on the East side of the Powers exit. Developers hope to have the project finished by 2013, but have a deadline of 2018.
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Report of the Commission on the Colorado Springs Union Depot (available at PPLD Special Collections and the Colorado College Tutt Library)
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Prinzo (Corporal, 2nd Grp payroll clerk) (c. 1945), [description of sites used by 2nd Photo Grp] (document with quotation)Check date values in: |date= (help)
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Dean Runyan Report 2010 – http://www.deanrunyan.com/index.php?fuseaction=Main.TravelstatsDetail&page=Colorado
^ "Colorado Springs Vacation & Tourism Information – Colorado Springs Colorado". Visitcos.com. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
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Culture Office of the Pikes Peak Region Overview. Retrieved on: July 12, 2011.
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"Video: North Korea threatens to strike Colorado Springs but doesn’t know where it is". Washingtonpost.com. 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
"Parks, Trails and Open Spaces". City of Colorado Springs. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
"Community Parks". City of Colorado Springs. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
Colorado historical marker, Interstate 25, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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"Pikes Peak Greenway Trail". City of Colorado Springs. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
"Pikes Peak Greenway Trail Map, and its submaps". City of Colorado Springs. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
"Mayor-Council Form of Government". Retrieved August 28, 2012.
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"A Quick Look at the U.S. Air Force Academy, ,"USAFA Fact Sheet, May 2008