Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Colorado Springs Business Signs
Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples first lived in the area now known as Colorado Springs in the state of Colorado. It was purchased by President Thomas Jefferson in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the local area was designated as part of Kansas Territory in 1854. ‘Colorado City’ as it was then known, served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from 1861 until 1862, when it was moved to Denver City. The state’s name derives from the Colorado River, which Spanish travelers called ‘Rio Colorado’ after the ruddy silt the river carries from the mountains. Colorado Springs is named after the Colorado Springs Company, who in 1871, laid out the towns of La Font (which would become Manitou Springs) and Fountain Colony, which would be renamed as Colorado Springs. The city was incorporated on June 19th, 1886.
The modern day population of Colorado Springs, according to a 2013 US census estimate, is 439,886. This makes it the second most populous city in the state and the 41st most populous city in the country. The same 2013 estimate had the population of the Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area at 678,319.
Colorado Springs’ economy is dominated by the defense industry. This includes military institutions such as Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, and the United States Air Force Academy as well as various projects for missile defense. According to Colorado Springs’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2011, these accounted for almost 20% of the city’s employment.
As for the United States Air Force Academy, it is the newest of the five United States service academies, establishing itself in 1954 and graduating its first class in 1959. Students receive a military stipend, and if they graduate the Academy’s four-year program, they receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Airforce. Currently, there are 4,413 cadets in the academy, with 550 academic staff. The academy has a $28 million endowment.
Other defense corporations active in the city include Boeing, General Dynamics, Harris Corporation, SAIC, ITT, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The city is also the site of several satellite campuses for high tech companies such as Verizon Business, Hewlett-Packard, Storage Networking Industry Association, Agilent, LSI Corporation, Atmel, and Cypress Semiconductor.
Colorado Springs’ location at the base of the Rocky Mountains makes it a popular tourist destination as well. The tourism industry provides 13,000 jobs to the area and nearly 5 million visitors come to the area annually. These tourists contribute $1.35 billion to the local economy.
Major attractions include Pikes Peak, which is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, coming in at 14,115 feet (4,302.31 meters). The Peak’s English name (the Arapaho call it Heey-otoyoo’, which means ‘Long Mountain’) was named after American explorer Zebulon Pike, who never reached the summit.
The Colorado Springs area is also home to a public park called ‘Garden of the Gods’. This park was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1971. It is known for its red rock formations. The Ute, Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Pawnee, and Lakota peoples all have spiritual connections to these formations. The Utes’ oral traditions even speak of their people’s creation at the Garden of the Gods. According to the park’s visitor’s center, the park was given its current name in 1859 by surveyors M.S. Beach and Rufus Cable. Beach said it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” Cable replied, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”
Colorado Springs does not have any professional sports teams. However, the city is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee. Many Olympic sports federations are based in the Colorado Springs area as well. These include USA bobsled, fencing, skating, basketball, boxing, cycling, judo, field hockey, hockey, swimming, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling teams. The city is also home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and the Broadmoor Skating Club.
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