History of Colorado Springs
The modern history of Colorado Springs starts in 1806 when Zebulon Montgomery Pike arrived to the area and discovered a mountain that he named after himself - the Pikes Peak. After gold and silver were discovered in the surrounding hills and mountains, the area started to grow and the settlement was named El Dorado City. It later became known as Colorado City and became quite a rough and rowdy town with many saloons and frequent fights and brawls.
General Palmer brought the first railroad to the town with the idea of transforming it into a resort for the rich, focusing on the mineral springs in the area, and also into a decent, moral town with schools, parks and libraries. The town was incorporated as Colorado City in 1872 and tourists soon started to flock, attracted by clean air, spas and hunting opportunities. By the beginning of the 20th century Colorado Springs was the wealthiest city in the USA.
After the World War II, Colorado Springs became one of the major national centers of the U.S. Army. Fort Carson Army Base was established in 1940, the U.S. Air Force Academy started working in 1958 and in 1966 the North American Air Defense Command was installed in the nearby Cheyenne Mountain. In the late 1970s Colorado Springs also became the training grounds for Olympic athletes.
In 2012, Colorado Springs was hit hard by the Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed more than 340 homes and killed two people.
Geography and Climate
Colorado Springs is one of Colorado’s Home Rule Municipalities, located in the southern portion of the state. It lies more than one mile above sea level, near the Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. With 194.7 square miles, it is the state’s largest city by area.
The city has a semi-arid climate. The summers are hot and dry, although afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon in July and August. The winter weather ranges from mild to very cold and snowstorms may occur from September through May. The city is one of the most active lightning strike areas, which is why the famous scientist Nikola Tesla chose it for his electricity lab.
In 2010, Colorado Springs had a population of 416,427. The racial makeup was 78.8% White, 16.1 Hispanic or Latino, 6.3% Black or African American, 3% Asian, 1% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 5.5% some other race and 5.1% two or more races.
The median household income was $45,801 and the per capita income was $22,496.
Colorado Springs Economy
The primary sectors in the economy of Colorado Springs are military industry, high-tech industry and tourism.
Some of the largest employers of Colorado Springs belong to the defense industry. Aerospace industry is also influential. Even though many companies have recently downsized, this sector still experiences moderate growth. Some of the major defense and military corporations in Colorado Springs include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Harris Corporation.
High-tech companies that work in the city include Verizon Business, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Agilent, SNIA, LSI Corporation, Atmel, Apple and Cypress Semiconductor.
Tourism in Colorado Springs relies mostly on the Pikes Peak and the proximity of the Rocky Mountains. The city gets nearly 5 million visitors each year and the revenue from tourism amounts to %1.35 billion.
Ten largest employers in Colorado Springs are Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base, Memorial Health System, Colorado Springs School District 11, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Academy School District 20, the City of Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor.
Culture, Institutions and Attractions
The city is home to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and the Colorado Springs Choral Society and hosts the Summer Music Festival, Vocal Arts and New Music Symposia and Extraordinary Dance Festival. Theatre companies in Colorado Springs include The Star Bar Players, Theatreworks and REP.
The city has over 20 museums and galleries, most notably the Museum of the American Numismatic (one of the largest collections of coins and medals in the world), the Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs, World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Museum and the Peterson Air & Space Museum that features various historic aircraft and a moon rock. Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun and the U.S. Air Force Academy are also very popular among the locals and the visitors.
The city has a number of outdoor attractions, especially in the surrounding area, such as the High Drive, North Cheyenne Canyon, the Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and many more.
Institutions of higher education in Colorado Springs include Colorado College, College America, IntelliTec College, Remington College, The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Technical University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, DeVry University, Regis University, University of the Rockies, The Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and Pikes Peak Community College.
Main interstate highways in Colorado Springs are I-25 and the U.S. Route 24. The city is served by the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, the second-busiest airport in the state.