The staff and board of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum CSPM are proud to announce the new L=Leon Young theme which shares the story of Leon Young, the first African American Mayor of Colorado Springs, in the Story of Us: Pikes Peak Regional History from A to Z exhibit.
Born in in West Monroe, Louisiana in 1924, Young moved to Colorado Springs at the age of 18. He briefly attended Colorado Springs High School, but soon left school to join the workforce; first at Todd’s Shoe Shine and Repair, and then at the El Paso Club as a doorman and later bartender. In 1943, Young enlisted in the US Navy, serving in the World War II and the Korean Conflict. After returning home, Young resumed work at the El Paso Club and purchased a home in the Hillside Neighborhood with his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1945. In 1955, daughter Denise was born. That same year, Leon founded Young Janitorial Service which became one of the most successful minority-owned businesses in Colorado.
As a respected business owner and leader in the community, Young was encouraged by many to run for City Council in 1973. Among issues he championed were improved funding for social services, equal opportunity in the municipal workforce, and a more civil and conscientious workforce. Young also spearheaded several neighborhood improvement projects in his district including Shook’s Run, Hillside, and Old Colorado City. 1981, he was unanimously appointed Leon Young to the post of Vice Mayor, a position he held for sixteen years. In 1997, after Mayor Bob Isaac stepped down as mayor three months before his term ended, Young was sworn in as Interim Mayor of the City.
Leon Young with his family.
Young, a most valued and celebrated community member, entrepreneur and councilman of Colorado Springs, passed away in 2001. His legacy is preserved in several public buildings and parks named in his honor; the Leon Young Service Center, Leon Young Sports Complex and Leon young Pavilion, and in the neighborhoods and communities Young strived to improve throughout his 28-year career on City Council.
Research in the collections of the CSPM Archives supported the development of this digital exhibit; including oral history with Leon Young completed in 1988, and the Mayor and City Council Collection.
Explore "L" for Leon Young
Hillary Mannion, CSPM Archivist
We are proud to preserve the history of the African American experience in the Pikes Peak region. These include the Fannie Mae Duncan Collection, the Vera Gang Scott Collection, the Lulu Pollar Collection and the NHACS Collection. Portions of these Collections can be viewed in our online database in addition to in-person research in the CSPM’s Archives, the Starsmore Center for Local History