The following remarks were made by General Robert Alexander Cameron on July 31, 1871, upon driving the first stake for the new town of Colorado Springs. This account is from a report originally published in the Denver Tribune that was reprinted in the Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette on August 3, 1877, for the seventh anniversary of the event.
Assembled as we are, to initiate a new enterprise here in this beautiful valley and in the most delightful of all situations, it is well that on so important an occasion some simple ceremony like this should commemorate an event of so much importance. We are engaged in no chimerical enterprise; our undertaking has for its base, substantial and physical facts; and, indeed, if there were to be presented no other inducements why men and families should emigrate to this spot, that of health alone is sufficient. The Pacific coast has its fogs and vapors, and so have the islands of the sea, but here in this dry bracing and invigorating climate, every condition of life is comprised; the sick are restored to health; pale faces assume tints of roses; the aged renew their youth and are filled with fresh vigor and new life. This favored spot, sheltered by the Divide from the storms of the north, is soon to blossom into gardens of beauty, and homes where elegance reigns; here will rise groves and orchards, and over these hills the luxuriant vine will climb and yield its fruit in its season, to delight the hearts of those who watch its growth beneath the fostering touch of civilization. Added to these natural advantages of situation, let us not forget the magnificent scenery around us. Switzerland may boast of its glacier peaks and its ice-clad mountains, but nowhere is there scenery so grand and so varied, and so beautiful as within the scope of our vision, as we look out from this favored spot and view the surroundings of our new and beautiful city. Here on our left lies the Chiann mountains, grandly beautiful in their rugged magnificence, sending the shadows far over the plain. Before us looms up Pike’s Peak, its glorious dome now and henceforth and forever, a joy of which poets have dreamed, and which is to their realization in the years to come. Within sight of us, on the right are the Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie, and Monument Park, each with natural attractions sufficient to draw an immense concourse of visitors from all parts of the county and the world, now that the Denver and Rio Grande railway is about to bring it into close and convenient communication with all parts of the east. Then we are not to forget and could not if we so desired, the famous soda spring in our immediate vicinity; springs well known to the aborigine of the days that are gone, and famous already to the civilization skirting the borders of the Rocky Mountains. Around these springs thousands of painted war chiefs with their followers casting in their tributes of gold and silver in honor of the gods who charged the watered with life-giving powers; and as they bathed they felt their diseases depart from them as the evil spirits of old departed at the biding and touch of the Master and Giver of life.
I have yet to see the first one of many hundreds I have met who have not been materially relieved or radically cured of troublesome disorders and dangerous diseases; and the time is not far distant when invalids from the north and from the south and from the east and from the west, will gather about these healing waters to drink and be cured.
Having all these advantages, and many more we cannot now stop to enumerate, we can today, upon laying the corner-stake in this new and to be flourishing city, prophesy a most successful growth and a glorious future. In a few weeks the iron horse will startle with its echo the suburbs of our town—civilization will rapidly follow, and in a few years as we look out from the porch of some magnificent temple yet to be built, and see the wealth and beauty spread out before us, we shall be glad to be able to look back at this day, and at the simple yet suggestive ceremony, and say, “all this I saw and part of it I was.”
So we drive the first stake home,
in sight of Pikes Peak’s glorious dome,
in Colorado Springs new town,
the future city of renown.