To walk through downtown Colorado Springs is to gain a beginner’s history of the city and the Pikes Peak region.
Life-size bronze sculptures dot the major intersections, and provide a walking tour of who’s who in our history.
Including one of General Palmer on a horse. I talk a lot about Palmer. (Okay, truth be told, I sort of have a crush on him.) But there were certainly others that helped to shape our community in ways just as numerous and meaningful. And many of them stand downtown, tall and bronzed.
So in honor of Memorial Day, my posts this month will include nods to some of our region’s other historic notables, as documented by downtown’s collection of sculptures.
First up: Winfield Scott Stratton (1848-1902), who stands at the corner of Nevada and Pikes Peak Avenues. Stratton didn’t necessarily mean to be a builder of cities. He headed west, like so many others, to make his fortune during Colorado’s gold rush. But Stratton, unlike so many others, actually did make a fortune.
He came to Colorado Springs as a simple and hard-working carpenter. He died with a reputation as one of Colorado Springs’ richest (and most generous) residents.
Stratton gained his riches from gold at his Independence Mine claim in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Despite his great wealth, he never forgot where he came from. Stratton was a champion of the working class and he put his money where his mouth was. During his lifetime, Stratton donated land for Colorado Springs downtown landmarks such as the main Post Office, the (now) Pioneers Museum, and the Mining Exchange Building. His philanthropic efforts also included a public streetcar line and a major public venue, Stratton Park, which had summer concerts, a baseball field and swimming ponds.
When he died, Stratton left the majority of his fortune in trust to build the Myron Stratton Home, a home for those in need that is still in operation today.
Watch out General Palmer. Winfield Scott Stratton seems highly worthy of a crush.
Our History. Myron Stratton Home, online resource.
History. Colorado P.E.O. Chapter House, online resource.
Pikes Peak Library District, Special Collections, Online Photograph Archives.