Thursday, January 10, 2013

Take a walk!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM

It's not exactly strolling season, but should you find yourself with a hankering for local history (you buff, you) and don a warm coat, I recommend taking a walk downtown and learn more about some of our city's historic buildings. How, you ask? With a handy-dandy illustrated map.

Before you scoff, know this: One of the buildings is the Indy itself, home to us pot-puffin', gun-hatin', free-livin' liberal heathens, typing away in a converted Romanesque church.

South downtown is home to more than its fair share of historical landmarks, plenty scattered on the southern fringe that now looks more industrial (and in some places, vacant) than quaint and historic. But consider the usual suspects like the Lowell Elementary School and the Colorado Springs Day Nursery, and factor in more under-the-radar sites — like the Methodist Episcopal Church/Rose of Sharon Temple, constructed in 1884; and the original King's Chef castle, which is actually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places — and it's pretty impressive.

Colorado Springs, local history
  • The old Colorado Springs Hotel, now an office building.

Colorado Springs, local history
  • Methodist Episcopal Church/Rose of Sharon Temple

Other interesting gems include the Verner Z. Reed Memorial Library, which was where Winfield Scott Stratton brokered the deal the sale of the Independence Mine in 1899, which landed Reed a $1 million commission. (It's now a Printsmart, on Tejon Street.) Or take the old Colorado Springs Hotel located on 617 S. Nevada Ave. It's the oldest commercial building in downtown, having been built in 1872, and "purportedly, Ulysses S. Grant, Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller were guests."

There are 28 total stops on the City of Colorado Springs' south downtown walking tour map, which, though several years old by now, is chock-full of truly engaging information on all sorts of buildings each harboring great historical nuggets.

Then of course, there's the more-groomed north downtown, which boasts 38 locations — lovely churches like All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and impressive residences scattered throughout the Old North End.

Click here for south, here for north.

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