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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

The Turning Point: 1910

The Turning Point: 1910

Colorado circa 1910. "Crystal Park autoroad trip. Pike's Peak and Cog Road from Inspiration Point, alt. 7945 feet." At the end of the road, a handy turntable. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Crystal Park Auto Trips

The charabanc, or sightseeing bus, is a Packard truck from about 1910.

Colorado did not issue license plates or register vehicles until 1913 so there are pre-state municipal license plates on the back of the bus.

I find the fact that someone actually built a turntable on a mountain very novel. When I was young, I was shown an old garage in a very nice neighborhood that had a turntable inside. This enabled the owner's wife to never need to back the car out of the driveway.

There is an excellent website with more photos of this road trip here:
http://historiccrystalpark.blogspot.com/search?q=turntable

Walls of Paradise


The Packard, 1910.

On Mountain Trails

Eight Thousand Feet Above Sea Level, Packard Trucks Fitted with Sight-Seeing Bodies Beat the Colorado Burros at Their Own Game

To Crystal Park in the heart of the Rockies is the scenic trip advertised by the Crystal Park Company of Colorado Springs. Five Packard sight-seeing cars are used on the route, one leaving every hour from Manitou.

From Manitou to the Gateway of Crystal Park is a steady climb of 2248 feet. One mile of road covers thirty acres of ground, winding in loops across the face of the mountain, and in one place completing a double bow-knot.

To make possible this wonderful scenic trip, the company has built its own road up the mountain. This road is carved out of the solid rock and is as smooth a highway as you will find wherever your travels may lead.

On leaving Manitou the road leads straight to the mountains. Almost at once the tourist reaches a country as wild and rugged as any ever travelled by Zebulon M. Pike on his first famous visit to the Colorado Rockies.

Crystal Park itself was purchased from the estate of the late John Hay, Secretary of State under McKinley. It was in a log cabin in Crystal Park that Secretary Hay sought seclusion while writing his story of the life of Lincoln.

Until the advent of the Packards but few tourists have visited this beautiful natural playground in the heart of the Colorado hills.


Forest and Stream, Vol. 81, 1913.

I made up my mind to one thing, that it did not matter how often I visited Colorado Springs in the future. I would never attempt another trip by auto to Crystal Park, till the auto company that controls the road up the mountain had so thoroughly barricaded the sides of the road next to the walls of those deep gulches, and deeper cañons so as to make it impossible for the auto to go off into one of them, either face foremost, backward, or sideways, no matter what happened to it. I have always had a great desire to be in an exceedingly calm state of mind when I am called to give an account to the Great Judge. I have no desire in the world to go by the way of an auto over a precipice 100 or 500 feet deep, or to be ushered out by means of a cyclone; hence my great caution.

-G.S. Wyatt.


Seeing the Far West, John Thomson Faris, 1920.

Up one of the canyons reached from Manitou leads the Crystal Park auto road. By tremendous zigzags it climbs Sutherland Canyon, where Pike the explorer succeeded in outwitting pursuing Indians, up the rugged slope of Eagle Mountain, to a point under Cameron's Cone. Loops, hairpin turns, and a steel turntable help in the conquest of the mountain. The road affords views so different from those spread out before those who go to the summit of Pike's Peak that both trips are needed to complete the vision that waits for those who would persuade the Walls of Paradise to yield their secrets.

Now I get it

My mom has similar pictures from the Dakota Badlands, snapshots from the 1940s. As I child, I could not understand what was so everlastingly fascinating about rocks and trees.

 
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