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Get a life: Two names to know



When talking about Colorado Springs history, 19th-century figures Zebulon Montgomery Pike and Gen. William Jackson Palmer often are mentioned in the same breath. The tale of the tape, however, reveals that's something of a raw deal for the general.

Palmer: Medal of Honor recipient in the Civil War. Founded north-south Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, with the first section running from Denver to Pikes Peak. In 1870, bought 10,000 acres of land next to Old Colorado City, the former unofficial capital of Colorado Territory. Named his community Colorado Springs, and kept it saloon-, gambling- and alcohol-free. Benefactor to the city donating, among other things, the land of today's Monument Valley Park until his death in 1909.


Spoils: Namesake for a high school and downtown park; remembered with a Nevada Avenue statue.

Pike: After an unexceptional military career, fell under the employment of James Wilkinson, then governor of the Louisiana Territory. Sent into the wilderness to "explore" the Rockies (i.e., spy on the Spanish). In 1806, during this second-rate Wild West expedition (which earned him the nickname "The Poor Man's Lewis and Clark"), tried to summit our beloved peak; waist-deep snow and two days without food turned him around. Never did claim the mountain, and eventually was captured by the Spanish.

Spoils: Namesake for "America's mountain"; remembered with a Tejon Street statue.

So, Pike got the mountain and Palmer got the park (and the high school). History can be cruel.

Makes you wonder what may be left for James Dobson.

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