Colorado Springs began its history as the Fountain Colony, established in 1871 by Civil War hero General William Jackson Palmer along Fountain Creek at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Benefitting from the arrival of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway that same year, the enormous wealth generated by the mining industry, the beneficence of Palmer, the salubrious climate, and a spectacular natural setting, Colorado Springs grew to 4200 in 1880 and shot up to 11,000 a decade later.
The Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette was first published on January 4, 1873 by Palmer and others, after the failure the previous year of its short-lived predecessor Out West. It went daily in 1878, though it retained the “Weekly” in its name, and continues in publication today as The Gazette, the city’s only daily paper, with a readership of over 100,000. Probably in 1886, “owing to the pressure [i.e., demand for] of advertisements”, the Gazette began issuing an illustrated Sunday supplement featuring artistically-rendered views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding region. (Cf. Gazette for June 12, 1886, p. 3)
Offered here is a very rare set of three broadsides issued as a Sunday supplement on New Year’s Day, 1888. Each is roughly 35” by 25 1/2” and features between 15 and 22 wood-engraved views, mostly of landmarks in and around Colorado Springs, with a few of nearby Manitou Springs and one of Colorado City (now a neighborhood of Colorado Springs, not to be confused with present-day Colorado City an hour to the south). The views cover a diverse range of subjects, including residences, public buildings such as Colorado Springs’ City Hall and schools, rail depots, churches, hotels, shops (including an impressive interior view of Fairly Brothers House Furnishings), major thoroughfares, and parks. They range in size from about 4” by 5”, the most common, to a mammoth 11” by 18” view of the Broadmoor Dairy and Livestock Company. Other highlights include a lovely view of Cheyenne Canon Park with a nice trompe l’oeil element (Part 1), dynamic images of Pike’s Peak Avenue and Tejon Street (Part 2), and a wide-angle view of the facilities of the Colorado Midland Railway in Colorado City (Part 3). Only one of the views is signed, simply “Edgewood”, but all appear stylistically similar.
I am aware of just three sets in institutional collections. RareBookHub records none having appeared on the antiquarian market, though I am aware of a set (perhaps this one?) sold at PBA Galleries on Dec. 16, 1999 (lot 48) and a single sheet (Part 3) currently offered by Bartleby’s Books.
A rare and impressive set providing excellent visual documentation for the booming early years of Colorado Springs.
OCLC 45006069 (Southern Methodist Univ.), 865165689 (Harvard), and 237682581 (Harvard again). Another set is held by the Pikes Peak Library District.