The County’s historic sites and structures are abundant and diverse. While the County may not be as active in preserving or restoring its historic sites as other Colorado communities, one notable exception was the community-wide initiative in 1970 to preserve the old County Court House, now the City of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. The Museum’s preservation effort involved a cooperative arrangement between the County and the City. Most preservation initiatives are generally privately funded, adaptive reuses or historic restorations occurring most frequently in municipalities.
Many early settlements were located along migration and hunting trails that were used for many centuries by Native American tribes including the Comanche, Ute, Apache and Pueblo. Settlements such as Colorado City and Colorado Springs were able to succeed due in part to traffic generated from several intersecting regional trails. Although the era of the Old West has ended, preservation of pioneer tales and remnants of historic sites ensure that the County’s colorful past will endure as part of the nation’s history.
Historic Sites and Structures of El Paso County completed in 1976, provides an inventory of many County historic sites and structures. The inventory was conducted in four of the County’s principal geographical regions: The High Plains, the Divide, Ute Pass and Cheyenne Canyon. These data have been transferred onto the County’s GIS System.
Issue 4.1 Preserve the County’s historic sites, structures and artifacts.
Although historic preservation is included to some degree in each of the County’s Small Area Plans, there is no central organization to monitor historic sites and buildings. Organizations that support historic research and preservation include the Colorado Historical Society, Friends of the Library and the Daughters of the American Revolution, but it is largely up to individuals or special interest groups to protect historic sites and structures. There are many sites that are part of the County’s past that could be considered for preservation. One example is Corral Bluffs which was once used by Native Americans for hunting buffalo and then later by cowboys to corral their herds at the end of long cattle drives.
Penrose Community Library has an extensive local history section. Much has been written about settlement and pre-settlement history but more research is needed to document and preserve the past.
Although public funding for historic preservation activities has traditionally been limited, The State’s Limited Impact Gaming Revenues now represent a significant source of funding for qualifying projects.
A considerable amount of the region’s history lies buried and archaeologists continue to unearth artifacts of earlier cultures. At the present there is no central data base or systematic way to document artifacts so it is possible that key artifacts will be lost or go unrecorded.
Goal 4.1 Encourage preservation and enhancement of historical resources.
Policy 4.1.1
Support a systematic inventory to identify and categorize historic sites, structures and artifacts.
Policy 4.1.2
Encourage individual research, documentation and preservation of the County’s legacy.
Policy 4.1.3
Encourage proposed developments to consider scale and use of innovative siting and design techniques to preserve significant historical and visual resources.
Policy 4.1.4
Consider preservation of significant historic and visual resources when siting roadcuts, utility lines, outside storage and water tanks.
Policy 4.1.5
Support local incentives for historic preservation and adaptive reuse.
Policy 4.1.6
Encourage reporting of all artifacts unearthed during construction of roadcuts, utility lines, outside storage, water tanks and buildings.
Policy 4.1.6
Comply with applicable requirements of the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (as amended) (16 U.S.C.470, et. seq.), National Historic Preservation Act, Historic Sites Act (16 U.S.C. 461, et. seq.), and State Statutes governing historical, prehistorical, and archaeological resources (C.R.S. 24-80-401, et. seq.) and registration of historic places 9C.R.S. 24-80-101, et. seq.).

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