Crystal Park – The Gem of Pikes Peak

From: Manitou Springs Heritage Center

Crystal Park – The Gem of Pikes Peak by Ivan W. Brunk


In writing the history of Crystal Park, which could be called the “The Gem of the Rockies,” I have used information from newspapers, documents and other sources. There are many direct quotations. These provide additional flavor and impact more of the intent of those who made plans for Crystal Park., than if the material was reworded. Hopefully it is also more accurate. But it was necessary to use some judgment as to what was true and what was not. These statements were obviously incorrect:

“The park was first chartered and surveyed by Zebulon Pike as he made his way to the summit of Pikes Peak.”

“(In Crystal Park) there had been an Old Post Inn where express riders changed mounts and rested in their long ride across the Rockies”

I have been unable to confirm that Nelson Rockefeller Sr., and Presidents Ulysees S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt visited Crystal Park, or that General William J. Palmer took John hay there and that Hay asked Palmer to purchase the park for him. And I chose not to believe this part of a newspaper article of February. 1951: “In the 1880’s a small community had been established and sizeable plots had been laid out to forma a town in Crystal Park. Already established was a hotel, a post office, a general store and a dance hall. Some 40 houses had been built out along the streets  which already possessed names.”

Crystal Park derives its name from the many quartz and gemstone crystals which have been found there. It has had a fascinating and mostly untold history, similar to other pioneer areas on the slopes of Pikes Peak which I have researched. But unlike the settlements of hotels of Ruxton Park, the Halfway House, Minnehaha, Artist Glen, Lake Moraine, Seven Lakes and Jones Park, which have disappeared, with the land belonging to the City of Colorado Springs, Crystal Park has survived and is privately owned.

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