Colorado Springs at 150 years | At look at local business that have thrived for a century and more | Premium
Editor’s Note: This month, as Colorado Springs gears up for its 150th anniversary on July 31, The Gazette has lined up a series of articles about our city’s history. Come back for fascinating insights into the people and events that shaped Colorado Springs into the landmark it is today.
It didn’t take long for Colorado Springs companies to spring up after being founded 150 years ago.
This was listed in the first Colorado Springs City Directory, published in 1879: “A large mercantile business is done in Colorado Springs. During the year ended July 31, 1879, timber, groceries, flour, fodder, grain, dry goods, boots and shoes, hardware, medicine, etc. were sold for $2,000,000 and $275,000 in wool was sold here, now headed by El Paso County, of which Colorado Springs is the capital. of the state’s wool-producing counties.”
The guide also mentioned a large trade in horses and beef cattle, the presence of three banks and several mining and prospecting companies. And it featured ads from companies like Macomber & Potter, wholesale and retail furniture dealers; Anderson & Jost, blacksmith shop, horseshoe and wagon shop; and CW Church & Co, “prescription drugstores” that sold “perfumery, combs, brushes, toiletries, rafters, and shoulder braces” — and pure Kentucky whiskeys for medicinal purposes.
Those names and countless others have long been forgotten; the business landscape is constantly evolving as companies fail, owners retire, fashions change and technology advances. But in the midst of all those businesses that have come and gone, there are some that exist and even thrive in the Pikes Peak region for a century or more. Here’s a look at some of the area’s long-lived ventures:
Following the city’s centenary, The Gazette will celebrate its 150th anniversary next year. The newspaper’s history dates back to Colorado Springs founder Brig. Gene. William Jackson Palmer’s creation of Out West in 1872. Out West became The Weekly Gazette a year later, then The Daily Gazette in 1878. After several owners, the morning newspaper was sold in 1906 to Clarence Dodge, who also ran the evening Colorado Springs Telegraph. Decades of ownership by the Hoiles family began when relatives bought the two newspapers in 1946. A year later, a combined evening/Sunday Gazette Telegraph began publishing. The morning edition was discontinued, but returned in 1977; a decade later, the afternoon edition ended. In 1997, the Telegraph dropped its name and became The Gazette. The Clarity Media Group of Anschutz Corp. has owned The Gazette since late 2012.
The Antlers hotel, built by Palmer, opened in June 1883; it gets its name from Palmer’s extensive collection of deer and elk trophies.
“The original hotel had modern conveniences such as a hydraulic elevator, steam central heating and gas lighting,” says a history on the hotel’s website. “In addition, the property had a billiard room, music room, barber shop, Turkish bath and children’s playroom. The hotel had 75 large rooms, some with balconies, and no room was the same.”
Colorado Springs at 150 years | Prolific architect designed 200 buildings in Colorado Springs
However, the first hotel was short-lived. It was destroyed by fire in 1898, rebuilt and reopened in 1901. It remained in use until 1964, when it was demolished and rebuilt and reopened on March 20, 1967. Today it is The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel.
The Broadmoor was the vision of Philadelphia-born Spencer Penrose, who made his fortune in mining and dreamed of a grand hotel nestled in the Rockies that matched the elegance and sophistication of Europe’s finest resorts.
The hotel was built in 13 months at a cost of $2 million, and The Broadmoor was officially opened on June 29, 1918. “World travelers and connoisseurs of high art who have seen the new hotel have the last word in the hotel building,” which Colorado Springs Gazette proclaimed of the day.
The internationally renowned resort is now owned by Denver-based Anschutz Corp.
Patsy Mahaney, an Irishman who immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s, was known for his candied popcorn. (One account says he worked for the maker of Cracker Jacks; another says he sold his own recipe to the company.) He settled first in Indiana, then moved west. According to the company’s website, he opened the original Patsy’s store in Manitou Springs in 1903. In the early 1920s, he sold the store to a local family, the Osborns. They grew the company, adding peanut brittle and saltwater taffy to the lineup, before selling it to Howard and Carolyn Niswonger in 1956; at the time, the company had the Manitou store and one in downtown Colorado Springs.
The downtown store is now gone and the Manitou store is leased as a franchise; the treats are produced in a shop window factory on South 21st Street. The Niswonger family has reclaimed the company, now called Patsy’s Original, in 2017 after selling it to a businesswoman in Denver the year before.
The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
The seed for the popular tourist attraction was planted when Zalmon Simmons, founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Co., dreamed of a more comfortable way to the top after an arduous mule ride up Pikes Peak in the late 1800s. He founded in 1889. the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway Co. on. On June 30, 1891, a passenger train carrying a Denver church choir reached the top first. Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose bought the railway in 1925.
The future was in doubt after The Broadmoor suspended rail operations in late 2017 due to concerns over aging infrastructure and equipment. But it reopened this year after a massive $100 million restoration; a tax incentive deal with the city of Manitou Springs helped fund reconstruction.
Bennett Shellenberger Realty
Touted as the oldest real estate company in the state, the company started out as Bennett Co., founded by Charles P. Bennett in 1890. The name change came after Harry Shellenberger joined Bennett in 1911. Today, Bennett-Shellenberger is owned by Thomas Gorab, who bought it from his father, Edmund Gorab. The company, now in the Memorial Park Office Building across from Memorial Park, has had several homes over the years, but never far from downtown; the original Bennett Co. was on Pikes Peak and Cascade avenues.
Colorado Springs at 150 years | The Local Legend of Lon Chaney
Olson Plumbing & Heating
Now one of the largest residential and commercial plumbing, heating and mechanical contractors along the Front Range, Olson Plumbing & Heating started in 1917 as a one-man operation. That man was AE Olson – aka “Olson the Plumber” – who traveled from track to track on his three-wheeled motorcycle. Among early high profile projects, Olson worked with Penrose at The Broadmoor hotel and was recommended by him to work on the City Auditorium in 1922. The company is owned by the Trapp family; Mike Trapp, who started out at Olson Plumbing & Heating as a “store boy,” is president of the company.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
Colorado Springs’ two major hospital systems have long histories.
Memorial’s roots go back to the Colorado Conference Deaconess Hospital and Training School for Nurses, founded in 1904. It became the Beth-El (a Hebrew word meaning “House of God”) in 1911 with the opening of a facility in East Boulder Street. In 1943, the Colorado Springs City Council voted to purchase Beth-El for $76,500 and named it Memorial Hospital in honor of those who died in World War II. In 2012, voters approved a 40-year deal to lease Memorial Hospital System to UCHealth. In addition to the hospital on Boulder Street, a location to the north opened in 2007.
Penrose-St. Francis’ roots go back even further. In 1887, Dr. BP Anderson entered the Colorado Midland Railway Clinic to treat injured railroad workers. Four sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration came from Indiana to staff the clinic; seeing a need for a larger facility, they raised $20,000 to build the city’s first hospital, St. Francis Hospital, which opened in 1888. Penrose Hospital began in 1890 as the Glockner Tuberculosis Sanatorium; when it grew into a general acute care hospital, the name evolved from Glockner Hospital to Glockner-Penrose Hospital and, in 1959, to Penrose Hospital. The Penrose and St. Francis systems merged in 1987. Today, Penrose-St. Part of Centura Health, Francis Health Services includes Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center on the north side of the city. Centura broke ground this year with the latest addition to Penrose-St. Francis: St. Clare Hospital, scheduled to open in March 2023 southeast of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway.
Centura Breaks Ground on 3rd Colorado Springs Hospital
Comments are closed.