A Lasting Legacy
NEWSFLASH: General Palmer gives Monument Valley park to the city.
When General Palmer (the founder of Colorado Springs) was in the later stages of his life he made a decision which affected the development of Colorado Springs in to the present day. On March 29, 1907, Palmer turned over the deed to Monument Valley park to the city of Colorado Springs. By doing so, General Palmer began the tradition of incorporating parks into the Colorado Springs master plan. In the same year, Palmer donated Helen Hunt Falls in North Cheyenne Canon and Palmer Park. This tradition continued in 1909 (the year Palmer died) when the heirs of Charles Perkins donated Colorado Springs most famous park, Garden of the Gods.
At times, Monument Valley Park has been less popular. In the early 70’s developers tried to build houses on the north end. However, friends of the parked sued to block the development and the park was protected for today. Bill Vogrin of the Gazette notes:
“This was supposed to be a city of culture and parks,” [Bill] Bradley said. “It’s a philosophical thing. You can’t put dollars and cents on it. We thought we were an extraordinary city. If we sold off part of our parks, we’d become just an ordinary city.” So the League and SABA sued the city to enforce Palmer’s will. “His deed said if 1 inch of his park is sold, all park land reverts to his heirs,” Rice-Jones said. “The lawsuit was successful, and the park was protected.” Its popularity rebounded, and it ranks as one of Colorado Springs’ most popular parks.
The park has been described as a series of parks connected by walkways.
Here is an open portion of the park.
While this is a path that goes along Monument Creek.
There are also many trees in Monument Valley Park. In fact, the 2 mile long park contains over 2900 trees.
The park is divided into two sections. There is a north side to the park and a south side. The dividing line is Uintah Street. The pictures above come from the north side of the park.
Park Timeline from Colorado Springs Parks
1871 — Gen. William Jackson Palmer founds Colorado Springs as a resort and base for his new Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. 1880 — Mineral spring discovered along Monument Creek. 1903 — Palmer announces plans to buy land along two miles of Monument Creek from his Antlers Hotel downtown to north of Colorado College, and develop “an open and verdurous space removed from the dust and noise of the streets and roads.”1904 — Work begins, including construction of bridges, foot paths and the “geologic column” using stone from Queen’s Canyon Quarry above Palmer’s home in Glen Eyrie. 1905 — A spring flood wipes out much of the completed work. 1906 — Palmer falls from his horse and is paralyzed. 1907 — March 29, Palmer gives the city the deed to the park. It opens with four lakes, fed by the El Paso Canal, a greenhouse, the geologic column and waterfall, formal gardens, a playground and a mineral spring. Automobiles and horses are banned. 1909 — Palmer dies on March 13, and his obituary declares Monument Valley Park one of his greatest gifts to the city. That year, the heirs of Charles E. Perkins donate the Garden of the Gods to the city. 1916 — Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose donates a pool and bathhouse to the park. It is the first public swimming pool in the city. 1917 — The baseball stadium is added. 1923 — Tennis courts are built. 1926 — A Spanish-style pavilion is erected over Tahama Spring. 1935 — Memorial Day flood causes extensive damage to the park. Reconstruction includes deepening, widening and straightening of the creek channel. New rock walls constructed. 1940 — Park Commission opens the pool to blacks every Wednesday on an experimental basis. 1955-60 — Construction of the Monument Valley Freeway — now known as Interstate 25 — cuts off most access points on the west side of the park. 1956 — The El Paso Canal is closed, ending irrigation and shutting off the waterfall that cascaded over the geologic column. 1965 — Flood on June 17 takes out some of the 30-year-old stonework and damages the pavilion at Tahama Spring. 1974 — A judge blocks the city’s proposed sale of the park’s north end to developers. 2007 — On Jan. 25, the U.S. secretary of the Interior adds the park to the National Register of Historic Places.
Here is a the map Monument Valley Park. The park is accessed at various locations from Monroe St. and Wood Ave on the north end of the park to W. Bijou St. and Sierra Madre St. at the south end of the park. Here is a Google map that allows you to see the layout of the park.