El Toro marks bandshell's 100th anniversary


  • Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

This coming Saturday’s El Toro de la Muerte and I Sank Molly Brown show is more than just the end of a free summer concert series. It will also help mark the 100th year of the much-beloved Acacia Park bandshell.

Of course, this centennial anniversary could have gone completely undiscovered if IndyBlog posts weren’t all but required to be longer than two sentences. But now the truth can be told, along with the wildly disparate views of experts on the bandshell’s historical and aesthetic merits. 

The Colorado Historical Society, for instance, offered up this detailed appreciation in its 1999 architectural inventory:
Bandshell (1914). Located on the south edge of the park at the center is this one-story bandshell of buff brick with an arched roof dome topped by a flagpole; stage has semi-elliptical arch with molded cornice and plain frieze terminated by moldings. Paired brick piers (battered) at the northeast and northwest corners; urn decorations at each corner. West of the stage between the two piers is a mounted metal plaque containing Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." Projecting semicircular concrete performance area to north faced with tan brick and a lower tan brick planter; concrete stairs with brick sidewalls at the east and west. The southern portion of the bandshell has a flat roof. The east, west, and south walls feature paired multi-light windows with geometric glazing; the east wall has double slab doors with a transom covered by a security grille, while the rear (south) wall has two slab doors near each end. There is a center, corbelled brick chimney with a metal cap at the rear of the building.
But a recent assessment by local architects HB&A is considerably less appreciative. In its 2011 document, “Acacia Park Concepts: Developing the Jewel of Downtown in the Historic City Center,” the firm lists the bandshell alongside drugs, cigarettes and dead trees under the no-holds-barred category “Bad.”
Stage/band shell: Band shell not used very often, not well maintained, ugly.
A little mean-spirited if you ask me, but to each their own. In any case, the concert begins at 6 p.m.

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