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Jones Park and America the Beautiful

 Colorado Springs, Colorado 


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Jones Park and America the Beautiful



Jones Park and America the Beautiful

Katherine Lee Bates came to Colorado Springs in 1893 as part of a summer lecture series at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  Bates was a noted scholar, poet and writer. She was a prolific author publishing many volumes of poetry, books on her travels to Europe and the Middle East and stories, verses and plays for children.  She was staying at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs with a view of Pikes Peak.  The mountain was about to charge her life and the course of American history.

On July 22, 1893, Bates travelled the approximately two miles to the Bear Creek Toll station (now the location of the ranger house at the bottom of 26th street) and rented a team and wagon for the trip up Pikes Peak.  The wagon bore the sign across the back: “Pikes Peak or Bust”.   By historical accounts she likely paid 50 cents for the toll and in the range of $2 for the team and driver.

The trip was up the Historic 1873 Bear Creek trail first routed by the Ute Indians, then first used by the US Army to establish the weather station at the top of Pikes Peak in 1874.  Due to high demand, the operators of the toll station hired two road builders (Edward Copley and Matt France) in 1873 to construct a ten foot road suitable for wagons to run from the toll station through the settlement at Jones Park and to Lake House at Lake Moraine.  Later the road was completed to Seven Lakes to the hotel of Dr. Mayo G. Smith.  From there, the Curtis Brothers mules could be rented to complete the journey to the top of the Peak. 



Comparison of Jones Park 1903 to same Photo in 2010


Homestead Claims Map

Map of Homesteads in Jones Park

Wedding of Edwin and Edith Giles (1894)




Katherine began the journey at the toll station and made her way to Josephine Falls, then past the stream crossing at the base of Buckhorn Mountain.  From there it was onward through the valley that is formed by Kineo Mountain and the majestic Bear Creek Canyon.  

The Bear Creek Inn came into sight as Katherine approached Jones Park.  The Bear Creek Inn was an 11 room hotel operated by Edith Corliss

Giles and her husband Edwin.   Edith was from Boston and had moved to Colorado to homestead on the route up Pikes Peak.   The Homestead Act of 1862 gave her the opportunity to acquire the land provided she worked it for 14 months and was the head of the household. 

In all likelihood, Edith was the youngest woman to acquire a homestead in Colorado as she lied on her affidavit to claim she was 21 when in reality she was either 16 or 17 years old.




More on the Homesteads



Bear Creek Inn
Bear Creek Inn & Resort


Bear Creek Inn

Edwin Giles was the handyman and builder of cabins in the area.  It is likely that he built the Bessy Godfrey, Prebbles and two of the Louds cabins.  He built the addition on to the Bear Creek Inn when the demand for rooms caused expansion.   Edwin became a part of four gold rushes in his lifetime starting one as the assayer of Goldfield Nevada, and missing any strike in Cripple Creek, Goldfield or Telema.  

Edith and Edward were destined to be married the following year (1894) and have twins born in the Godfrey cabin next to the Bear Creek Inn. 

Edwin and prominent partners were to form the Rosamont Corporation for the purpose of controlling the approximately 20 homesteads that comprised Jones Park. 

The plan was that the stage coach and eventually the train would be routed through Jones Park to go to Pikes Peak or Cripple Creek.  Jones Park anticipated being the Woodland Park of the southern route up Pikes Peak.


More on Giles History



Professor Frank Loud


Kellogg Survey Marker

Historic Kellogg Survey Markers



Louds Cabins

Katherine may have met Professor Frank Loud a mathematician, astronomer and meteorologist who was teaching at Colorado College.   Professor Loud entertained visiting professors and scientists at his cabins in Jones Park.   Perhaps, a discussion about physics or astronomy ensued.   

Katherine would have continued up Bear Creek passing by the homesteads f Morris and Sentegle, then on to the McDonald homestead where a water wheel stood into the 1980s. 

The beaver ponds and aspens of Tuckaway Meadow surround the famous plaque on the landmark rock from the survey of Kellogg in 1878.  This meadow has been called one of the most beautiful in all of Colorado.


Images and History of Loud’s Cabins


More on Surveys and Survey Monument Image.







Seven Lakes Hotel


City Pioneer  Dr. Mayo G. Smith (1816-1901)

Upon his death the Gazette wrote:  “Dr. Smith’s death closed one of the most remarkable careers in the history of this century.  Dr. Smith was known to most of the great men of his time …  “  His obituary was international news that was carried in newspapers from New York to Oregon to Paris. 



The End of the Trail

Katherine’s wagon would have headed west to Lake Morraine then to the Seven Lakes area.  Colorado Springs first doctor, Dr. Mayo Smith,  was the proprietor of a the Seven Lakes Hotel . 

As the Gazette stated:  "The Seven Lakes Hotel is being nicely fitted up for the summer by M.F. Smitth the propprietor.  A bowling alley and billard room are being fitted for the use of the guests, and in many other respects the place is being made attractive." 

More on Mayo G. Smith

Likely, Katherine rented mules from the Curtis Brothers who operated a livery at Seven Lakes.  There would be a quick crossing through Windy Point, then to the top.   She completed the journey to the summit of Pikes Peak and into history. 

“America the Beautiful” first appeared in print in the weekly journal The Congregationalist, on July 4, 1895.
Looking at the view of the Rockies from Pikes Peak, its author, Katharine Lee Bates recalls, "It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.

When we left Colorado Springs the four stanzas were penciled in my notebook, together with other memoranda, in verse and prose, of the trip. The Wellesley work soon absorbed time and attention again, the notebook was laid aside, and I do not remember paying heed to these verses until the second summer following, when I copied them out and sent them to The Congregationalist, where they first appeared in print July 4, 1895. The hymn attracted an unexpected amount of attention. It was almost at once set to music by Silas G. Pratt. Other tunes were written for the words and so many requests came to me, with still increasing frequency, that in 1904 I rewrote it, trying to make the phraseology more simple and direct."