100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Summer Balloon Race In Colorado

Native Americans of various tribes visited the rock formations near Pikes Peak, Colorado. Part of the Ute Trail went through it and Ute petroglyphs have been found there. In August 1859 two surveyors were exploring the nearby areas around Colorado Springs, Colorado. They discovered a site with striking rock formations. One of the surveyors commented that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” His companion exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”

The Utes were forced on reservations in Utah and southern Colorado. In 1911 the citizens of Colorado Springs invited the Utes back to celebrate Shan Kive. The Shan Kive was said to have originally been a celebration held by victorious Indians in the Garden. Loosely translated it means “Big Fun” in Ute. Colorado Springs hoped to lure tourists to the area in an attempt to relieve a depressed economy. It was all part of the The Pikes Peak Region Summer Carnival.

The 1912 Pikes Peak Region Summer Carnival was citywide with parades, a balloon race, fireworks, and a masked ball. The visiting Utes posed for many photographs and held special tribal dances. The festivities attracted over 7,000 spectators.

On August 29, 1912 the Pikes Peak Region Summer Carnival featured a balloon race between 3 balloonists – the Uncle Sam, the Kansas City II and the Colorado Springs. They were attempting to cross the Rocky mountains but the contrary air currents caused by the proximity of the mountains made the crossing impossible. The Kansas City II John Watts pilot won the race landing at Jalia, Colorado, the balloon Uncle Sam Captain Honeywell pilot landed at Perry Corner and the Colorado Springs came down at Palmer Lake.

Balloon races of the Pikes Peak Region Summer Carnival
August 29, 1912

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