Mountaineers Make Great Researchers: AdAmAn Club Prepares for 100th Anniversary - CSPM

Mountaineers Make Great Researchers: AdAmAn Club Prepares for 100th Anniversary

Hillary Mannion, CSPM Archivist

The AdAmAn Club is a unique group of dedicated and enthusiastic mountaineers. Did you know that they also bring these attributes to the research table? Since July of this year, members have spent their Saturdays in the CSPM Archives, researching the history of the club. The products of their hard work will be a book and documentary film celebrating the AdAmAn Club’s 100th anniversary.

On December 31, 1922, five courageous and fun-loving men—Fred Morath, Willis Magee, Harry Standley, Fred Barr, and Ed Morath— set out to do something different to celebrate New Year’s Eve; summit Pikes Peak and provide onlookers below with a spectacular fireworks show at Midnight.

The Morath brothers had been planning this night with the Colorado Springs Gazette throughout the month of December. Fred Barr—by then well known for building the trail to the summit of Pikes Peak—joined the scheme on December 24. Standley, renowned local photographer, and Magee of Colorado Springs, joined four days later. The fireworks were provided by local sportsman, John W. Garrett. That night these five men—soon to be known as the “Frozen Five” —would begin a decades-long tradition in the Pikes Peak Region. It was agreed that the trip would be repeated the next year, and that each year to follow the club would add a man.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks, 1933
Members of the AdAmAn Club warm up at the summit of Pikes Peak, 1938, photograph by Harry Standley

Each New Year’s ascent holds its own set of stories; some recorded in newspapers, some only known by those who experience the climb. As the archivist, I am lucky to hear a few from the reading room as photograph albums and documents spur memories. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is proud to preserve and share these stories in the AdAmAn Club Collection. This collection—which includes photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, recordings, climbing gear, and more —was compiled by the club from its inception and was entrusted to the Museum in 2006.

Learn more about the collection here.

The Myth vs. Reality of the AdAmAn Club

Join us for a virtual lecture on Saturday, January 9 at 2 p.m.

Kirches AdAmAn Backpack

One of the 160 artifacts and over 23 cubic feet of archival materials documenting the history of the AdAmAn Club.
Lady with shoulder length blonde hair and brown eyes wearing a black top, and is standing in front of an old fashioned photo and frame James W. Starsmore. Her name is Hillary Mannion, CSPM Archivist

Hillary Mannion, Archivist

Interested in your own research about our community’s history? The Special Collections and Archives of the CSPM are housed in the Starsmore Center for Local History and include [s] manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, maps and blue prints, and a non-circulating reference library.  Request an appointment to research. 

719.385.5650 | Hillary.Mannion@coloradosprings.gov