On July 31, 2021, Colorado Springs celebrated its 150th birthday, or sesquicentennial. To complement the photos and history of my post from that day, I am sharing a mural that commemorates additional important locations and influential persons who helped shaped the city.
Highlighted within the letter C is Pikes Peak, our local fourteener (which, regretfully, lost its apostrophe sometime in the mists of time, as I discussed with some of you recently). The Olympic flame (in the first O and L) and the Olympic & Paralympic Museum in the last O are reminders that Colorado Springs, as the headquarters of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committees, is known as Olympic City USA. The museum had a “soft” opening in July 2020, followed by a grand opening this past weekend to coincide with the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The second O features The Incline in Manitou Springs, a former funicular railway bed turned into a premiere work-out destination. The R with a rider on a bucking bronco celebrates the annual “Pikes Peak or Bust” rodeo. The Julie Penrose Fountain (aka Continuum sculpture) fills the A, and two tall downtown buildings the D. The water visible in the last three letters represents Fountain Creek.
The first S recalls the brief period of time Nikola Tesla spent in the city, from June 1899 until January 1900. He had a lab built to conduct experiments with lightning. After gaining important insights that furthered his goal of sending wireless telegraphic messages, he left town, without paying his bills. Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, two well-known landmarks, beautify the letters P and R. The I and final S are reminders of the significance of local military installations, Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy with its iconic chapel among them. A Ute Chief adorns the letters N and G.
The mural terminates in a natural scene showing both the state flower, the Colorado Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea), and the state bird, the Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys), with the female on the left, and the male on the right.
If you ever find yourself in the Pikes Peak region, you can espy this painting at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 21st Street in Old Colorado City. It was created in 2020 by local tattoo and mural artist, Drake “Drastik” Gann, on one of the walls of his tattoo studio.