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Colorado Springs was founded in 1871 by
William Palmer, a Union General during the Civil War. It was billed as a high quality resort community and nicknamed "Little London" owing to the many English guests. Interestingly enough for a resort destination, Colorado Springs was founded as a dry town and remained that way until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Katherine Lee Bates, an English teacher at Wellesley College, composed the famous poem, "
America the Beautiful," one of the nation's most popular anthems while on a trip to nearby Pikes Peak.
Colorado City, in Colorado Springs, served briefly as the territorial capitol of Colorado from July 7, 1862 to August 14, 1862, when the legislature (meeting in a log cabin on Colorado Avenue), granted Golden the distinction.
Manitou Springs was once a separate town (and still is technically), and was founded as a spa and sightseers' destination by General Palmer and his friend William Bell. The springs (of Colorado Springs) are actually located in Manitou.
In 1891, substantial gold deposits were found in nearby
Cripple Creek and Victor, and Colorado Springs experienced a large boom as a gold processing depot. After the gold rush died down in 1917, the city was not to experience another boom until World War II.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US army established a military camp to house and train troops. In 1954, President Eisenhower created the nation's Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. A decade later in 1963, in the midst of the Cold War, the North American Aerospace Defense Command ( NORAD) established its base in Cheyenne Mountain, directly next to Colorado Springs.
Today, Colorado Springs enjoys one of the nation's only Olympic Training Centers, lovely gardens, several notable sports teams and serves as the home to many Evangelical Christian organizations, including James Dobson's Focus on the Family. It also is the location of many scenic wonders including Pikes Peak (accessible by car or train), Garden of the Gods, Helen Hunt Falls and Seven Falls and the Cave of the Winds.