USGS Logo Geological Survey Bulletin 707
Guidebook of the Western United States: Part E. The Denver & Rio Grande Western Route

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Elevation 6,417 feet.
Denver 66 miles.

Elevation 6,199 feet.
Denver 70 miles.

The next station on the railroad is Edgerton (see sheet 2, p. 84), which is the point of departure for those who wish to visit Monument Park, 2 miles to the west, near the foot of the mountains. This park is also noted for the fantastic forms assumed by the rocks as they are cut away by the elements. A few of the columns in which iron oxide has cemented certain layers, forming a cap that protects the layers below from rapid decay, are shown in Plate XVII, A and B.

In its course down Monument Valley the railroad is built on the Dawson arkose, but the lower part of that formation is composed of sandstone that decays easily, and the rocks do not form buttes or mesas. Near Pikeview the arkose is cut through, and the Laramie, or underlying formation, is exposed. Its outcrop is not conspicuous in the valley, but it forms a line of white sandstone cliffs that may be seen for a long distance to the east (left). This formation is the same as that which carries coal northwest of Denver, and were overlying formations removed it would be possible to walk on this sandstone continuously from Pikeview to Denver. It also carries coal beds in the Monument Creek valley, and the principal business at Pikeview is mining coal. The coal is mined by a shaft about 250 feet deep, but a short distance to the south it comes to the surface. It is of low rank and slacks or falls to pieces quickly when exposed to the atmosphere. As it comes from the mine it carries a large percentage of water, which makes its heating power low, but despite its inferior rank it competes as a domestic fuel with coals which are of a higher rank but which have to be shipped a much greater distance. Pikeview was so named on account of the magnificent view that may be had here of Pikes Peak, about 10 miles distant (Pl. XVIII). On a clear day the smoke of ascending trains can be clearly distinguished, and even part of the "Cogwheel Road" to the summit can be seen.

PLATE XVII. A (left), B (middle). CAPPED PINNACLES IN MONUMENT PARK. On some of the sandstone pinnacles weathering has gone so far that the columns are nearly cut through; in time this will be accomplished, but others will be developed as the cliff is slowly worn back. Photograph by W. H. Jackson.

C (right). THE "MAJOR DOMO," GLEN EYRIE. The spires and monuments of Glen Eyrie are as picturesque and fantastic as those of the Garden of the Gods; in fact, they are the northward continuation of the same group of rocks. Photograph by W. H. Jackson.

PLATE XVIII. PIKES PEAK. Pikes Peak is the dominating feature of the landscape about Colorado Springs. This view of the mountain, from the bank of Monument Creek, shows Englemann Canyon and the long southern spur of the mountain up which the cogwheel road finds its way to the top. The automobile road climbs the ridge on the extreme right. Photograph by L. C. McClure, Denver.

The position of the coal-bearing rocks beneath the surface, as well as the relation of the rocks of the plains to those of the mountain on the west, is illustrated in figure 9, which shows that in the uplift of the mountains the rocks have broken and those of the mountains have moved up with relation to those of the plains.

FIGURE 9.—Section at Pikeview, showing the fault that separates the rocks of the plains from those of the mountains.
Colorado Springs.
Elevation 5,989 feet.
Population 30,105.
Denver 75 miles.

Below Pikeview the valley is cut in soft shale (the Pierre) and for that reason it is broad and shallow, and the mountains rise majestically a short distance to the west. Colorado Springs is at the point where Monument Creek joins Fountain Creek, or Fontaine qui Bouille (bubbling fountain), as it was first named by the French explorers, and the railroad runs directly down the valley to that city. Colorado Springs is the most noted health resort in Colorado and, indeed, in the entire Rocky Mountain region. It was organized by Gen. William J. Palmer as a model city on July 31, 1871, the same year that the first railroad—the Denver & Rio Grande, then a narrow-gage line—was built into the valley. It has far outgrown the ideas of its founder, however, and has become the great tourist center of the mountain region as well as an attractive residence city, a railroad point of considerable importance, and the site of Colorado College.

The name Colorado Springs is somewhat of a misnomer, for there are no large springs in the city, but it is closely connected by steam railway and by trolley with Manitou, which has springs of different kinds that have a world-wide reputation. Despite its clean, wide streets and its wealth of green lawns and shrubs and trees Colorado Springs offers little of special interest to the tourist, but it is a stopping place from which other and more interesting localities may be visited and a gateway to the attractive features of the mountains. It is built on the edge of the plains, which sweep away eastward farther than the eye can see. Few travelers who visit Colorado Springs think of the plains as worthy of their attention or as as having any beauty that is at all comparable with the beauty of the mountains, but Helen Hunt Jackson, who is buried here in Evergreen Cemetery, saw beauty in all the landscapes, and she likens the plains about Colorado Springs to the wide expanse of the sea, ever changing, yet always the same.

Between it [Colorado Springs] and the morning sun and between it and the far southern horizon stretch plains that have all the beauty of the sea added to the beauty of the plains. Like the sea they are ever changing in color, and seem illimitable in distance. But they are full of tender undulations and curves, which never vary except by light and shade. They are threaded here and there by narrow creeks whose course is revealed by slender winding lines of cottonwood trees, dark green in summer, and in winter of a soft, clear gray, more beautiful still. They are broken here and there by sudden rises of table-lands, sometimes abrupt, sharp-sided, and rocky, looking like huge castles or lines of fortifications; sometimes soft, moundlike, and imperceptibly widening, like a second narrow tier of plain overlying the first.

The continuation of the description of the country along the main line of the railroad will be found on page 53.

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Last Updated: 16-Feb-2007