Colorado Springs Mural

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.

30 thoughts on “Colorado Springs Mural

  1. I’m glad you explained the significance of what’s on the letters. Speaking of espying, I’m thinking we may have caught a glimpse of the Continuum sculpture as we drove up or down Interstate 25, yet I don’t remember noticing it. Had I known, I would’ve made a point of going there during our visit four years ago.

    Speaking of sesquicentennial, the ses is short for semis, meaning ‘half,’ while the qui is from the Latin que that meant ‘and,’ so sesquicentennial designates ‘[one] and a half times a centennial.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who knew I could learn so much about CO Springs from a mural! Other than Garden of the Gods, I’m sad to say I have done basically no exploration of this city. Clearly that needs to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a wonderful mural, Tanja, I’m wondering: Did the artist get paid to do that? What an amazing amount of time and effort that must have taken! And I love the little tidbit about Tesla not paying his bills. 😉
    Cheers,
    Julie (aka Chairperson of the “No Apostrophe in Pikes Peak” Committee)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like the mural, Julie. I don’t know if the artist was paid, but I doubt it, since he painted it on the wall of his own store.

      We might have to work on a petition to reintroduce the apostrophe into Pike’s Peak. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wondered if anyone would mention the historical background of this mural’s form, but no one did. It’s a replication of a sort of postcard that was very popular when I was a kid. Every state had one or more: the large letters filled with scenes from the state (or cities, or natural features, for that matter). They generally were on linen stock, and were quite collectable. I don’t have my collection any more, but when we traveled in the 1950s, I always sought them out. You can see some examples and a bit more explanation here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for pointing this out, Linda. I could/should have mentioned the postcard format I read about but forgot again. And I think it’s safe to say that Colorado Springs had more than one postcard printed in this style!

    Like

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