The northern city limits of Colorado Springs were originally near Fontanero Street, extending north to just above today’s Penrose Hospital by 1890. Although well outside of city limits, settlements started to fill in northward towards Austin Bluffs. The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad completed a line from the east in 1888 that ran along today’s Constitution Avenue and connected with Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) lines just north of the city limits. A new town, Roswell, was built for railroad workers near their 16-stall roundhouse and repair yard. Advertisements in the January 1, 1889 Gazette promoted the new town as “A Second Colorado City,” and, like Colorado City, was conveniently located outside of the city limits of Colorado Springs until annexed in 1950. Roswell became well known for its racetrack and later drinking establishments on the Nevada Avenue highway to Denver. Today Roswell remains a pleasant neighborhood close to downtown and the four remaining stalls of the original roundhouse are home to the Pikes Peak Trolley Museum. Along the south slopes of Popes and Austin Bluffs runs an exposed coal seam where up to 98 coal mines were excavated. One of these was the Pikeview mine, the largest in the region, which started production in 1897 and opened as a stop on the D&RG rail line. This mine and rail stop became a sizeable community. Closed in 1957, few would know this thriving center existed in the site now occupied by stores and Interstate 25. One of the largest mines on Austin Bluffs was the Curtis mine, opened in 1899. During the region-wide 1903 labor unrest workers left the shacks immediately adjacent to the mine and moved ½ mile south to establish the new community of Papeton, named after union leader John Pape. Centered on Hancock Street just south of today’s Templeton Gap causeway, this was known as an Italian mining community, which also gained a reputation for producing bootleg spirits during prohibition to serve wealthy TB patients at the Cragmor Sanatorium, built in 1905 and now the site of UCCS. From the Cragmor district, several large operations extended east to today’s Palmer Park and beyond to the Rustic Hills neighborhood. Rail spurs connected these mining communities. Suburban homes filled in around them by the 1960s, so that today Austin Bluffs is near the center of the city rather than its far northern outpost.
Generously Submitted by Dr. John Harner, Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs