Sunday, September 7, 2014

Antlers Hotel Pictures

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The original Antlers Hotel around the time of its opening in 1883.
If you visit Colorado Springs and wander around downtown with anyone who is from Colorado Springs, at some point the "Antlers Hotel" will probably come up. You may even stay in the current one.

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Antlers Hotel 1883. The gables serve to "point" to Pikes Peak, a clever design element for the time.
Brief history - The Antlers was built in 1883 at the foot of Pikes Peak Avenue. It is the hotel where Katharine Lee Bates was staying when she wrote the lyrics to America The Beautiful.

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The original Antlers Hotel is in the background, so that dates this photo to 1898 or earlier. The stagecoach is not for show, that's how people got around in the 1890s. What is remarkable is the clarity of this photo, must have taken a bit of effort to set up and get just the right exposure. They are probably heading north to Denver.
Colorado Springs was a major tourist attraction in the 19th Century, and it was oriented around the sorts of rich, monocled gentry that you may associate with the late Victorian Age. There were dirty miners nearby, but they had their own town, Old Colorado City. It was "dangerous" but it also was very close by, maybe an hour or less by slow horse, and now it is part of Colorado Springs.

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This was taken before the Antlers Hotel was built in 1883, apparently in the 1870s. The Antlers Hotel gives the entire downtown area shape by closing off the street, which otherwise would appear to never end.
Colorado Springs proper was the equivalent of today's Reno or Lake Tahoe or Myrtle Beach.

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Antlers Hotel Fire 1898.
On October 1, 1898, the Antlers Hotel burned down. It was rebuilt in 1901. This version was vastly bigger, but still had a unique local charm that fit in well with its surroundings. It nicely framed the mountains between its twin turrets, which is the whole point of having a street that points towards one of the most famous mountains in America, the one thing that visitors who were staying at the hotel came to see. While a bit monumental in design, it also was low-key and managed not to overpower its surroundings.

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Antlers Hotel site looking down Pikes Peak Avenue after the fire. It looks like that building on the left that was visible in the 1870s shot is still there.
JFK visited the town on 5 June 1963 and probably stayed at the Antlers Hotel. He at least visited it, as there are pictures of him nearby. In 1964, the Hotel was closed, torn down, and then rebuilt again in 1967.

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Antlers Hotel ruins 1898.
Images of the hotel from before it was torn down are pretty hard to find, mostly from vintage postcard sites.

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Rebuilt Antlers Hotel in 1909. Doesn't have quite the same charm as the original. This is the Antlers Hotel that lasted the longest, from 1901-1964.

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Antlers Hotel in the distance after an epic 1913 snowstorm.

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Postcard image of the Antlers Hotel appears to be from the late 1930s/1940s.
   
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This image of the Antlers Hotel is circa 1950. The Ute were the Native Americans who lived in the area, and Ute Pass (or "the Pass") into the mountains is named after them.

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The present Antlers Hilton. Pardon my critique, but regardless of its fine amenities and unique location, this hotel is an architectural abomination that belongs in South Florida, not Colorado Springs. A betting man would say that when this incarnation reaches the end of its useful life, hopefully soon, they will rebuild something a little more reminiscent of the original Antlers Hotel or even the second version rather than of this generic monstrosity.


2019

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Balloon Classic 2014

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Parachutists and the Air Force Academy Falcon at the Balloon Classic


Below is a video I took of the 2014 Balloon Classic, an annual event held in Memorial Park near downtown Colorado Springs. This shows the Air Force Academy parachutists that dropped in at 8:30 a.m. and landed in Memorial Park.

The parachutists are kind of small in the sky, you can best view the below video in full screen mode. Seeing them from a bit of a distance actually gives a pretty good view of the surroundings and what it was really like there during their drop.

Below the video are various shots of the parachutists and the balloons that hover over town after the mass ascent at 7 a.m.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thunderbirds at the Air Force Academy Graduation

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Most folks who come to visit Colorado Springs have some association with the military.

That's just how it is, and that's terrific. The military by far is the biggest supporter of the local economy.

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This is a video I made of the Thunderbirds performing at the May 2014 graduation ceremonies of at the Air Force Academy. It will give you a little taste of what to expect if you are coming to visit for a graduation. It also is useful if you just want an idea of what the area near the Academy looks like.

Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance in 2014. Over the years, many Presidents have paid a visit.

If you are visiting, enjoy your time here!

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JFK visiting the Air Force Academy in June 1963



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Overview of Colorado Springs (Pictures)



I thought it might be useful for some to see Colorado Springs from a good vantage point. I chose Greencrest, a park located on a bluff which is a high point on the eastern side of town (though the suburban areas continue far to the east behind this viewpoint). This gives you a good view of the entire Colorado Springs valley (if you can call it that, it is how I think of it though it really isn't much of a valley). Personally, I like views like this when contemplating visits to places for the first time because it helps me to orient myself.

We generally are facing west in these pictures. You see Pikes Peak ahead, Cheyenne Mountain to the left, and the Front Range before us running north/south. Garden of the Gods is the huge red rock formation at the base of Pikes Peak (from this perspective), Manitou Springs is to the left, Ute Pass where the highway runs west (the only easy way west from here) basically is behind Garden of the Gods, running to its left as it enters town and crossing behind it to the right up to Woodland Park.

None of this is news to native Coloradans, of course, but visitors may find some of these shots of interest. These were taken on July 4, 2014.

We begin by looking dead south, then swing around the compass to the west and then north. I do change my vantage point a couple of times (I was hiking), so the area of view to the south becomes blocked in some of the later shots. It was a clear day with very light haze in the far distance and I think these give a good idea of what Colorado Springs looks like from afar.

If you are visiting, please enjoy your stay!

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Due south, the mountains are to the right

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The Sangre de Cristo range is way out yonder

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Cheyenne Mountain is coming into view, as is the Broadmoor section of town to the right in the distance

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That's Cheyenne Mountain, downtown Colorado Springs is coming into view

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You can kind of see the I-25, it is that white line running north/south just beyond those buildings.

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Straight ahead to Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods coming into view

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"The Pass" runs behind that range in front of us. That is where the forest fires of 2012 were caused a lot of damage. Garden of the Gods now is to the left, off-camera

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That light-colored area is a scar caused by mining operations in the 1960s. The company that did it has long-ago ceased to exist. Volunteers plant trees there, which helps some on the southern part, but really the view of it hasn't changed much over the past ten years.

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You can't see it, but now we are pointing in the general direction of the Air Force Academy to the northwest part of town

The same sweep again, with a broader perspective (lower lens setting).

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South again, Cheyenne Mountain to the right

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That's it - the built-up area of downtown Colorado Springs. That's all there is, there ain't no more.

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Manitou Springs is directly below Pike's Peak to the left of Garden of the Gods in this shot

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There's your overview, hope that helps.







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