We all enjoy marveling at early photographs of our fair city. The sparse, treeless foothills stamped with a few somewhat recognizable buildings; mountains the only landmarks that — obviously, but still oddly — appear just the same. If you've ever tooled around the Pikes Peak Library District's online photo archive, you know the thrill of seeing old-fashioned buggies on Colorado Avenue or the early incarnations of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
Well, now the library and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum have teamed up for Framing Community: Exposing Identity, a fantastic new(-ish) exhibit of 150 photos of the Springs over time. Beyond the incredible photo collection, there's a game element to it; you can guess the location and time of the image because a cardboard flap covers the photos' accompanying text. (If you're really good, you can even guess the photographer, since the likes of William Henry Jackson, Myron Wood and Lew Tilley took many of the photos.)
The show also includes great mementos from Springs history. Items like bottles from the Manitou Springs mineral water company, ice skates, pennants from Cave of the Winds and other charming souvenirs from back when tourists collected tsotchkes like paperweights.
While it's hard not to be wistful at how the Springs looked like before the suburban sprawl and religious influx, Framing Community is not about what was. You can submit what you like about the Springs while there in a fancy voting system. And from what we encountered while there over lunch, the crowd takes a lot of pride in seeing their city grow up. The show will be on display until August of next year.
View a slideshow of the exhibit here. All photos by Bryce Crawford.