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Take a Walking Tour of Adaman Alley

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Mark your calendars for April 1st to take a fabulous walking tour right in downtown Colorado Springs. Adaman Alley is a moving history lesson, a space transformed by a 100 year old organization that’s dedicated to Pikes Peak, its indigenous legacy, and growing a supportive community around them. Sign up now for the tour and examine all of our relationship with the environment.

They call it a placemaking project, a living monument that documents the storied history of the Adaman Club, which since 1922, has climbed Pikes Peak to light fireworks from the summit every New Year’s Eve. The alley transformation was a way for the club to celebrate its centennial year, and they collaborated with Downtown Ventures, an award-winning ‘Art on the Streets’ public art program, to bring the idea to life. But it wasn’t a clean slate to start; 20 dumpsters lined the alley in addition to separate oil and grease containers, all of which called for several companies to bring large vehicles through the alley multiple times a week. The alley was also a patchwork of crumbling asphalt with drainage problems. But Adaman Club members saw their way through it, repaving with new textured and colored concrete, and imprinting reliefs of local and altitude-appropriate foliage into the surface. These complement an artistic rendering of Barr Trail (the trail the Club climbed to reach the mountain summit) which is punctuated by bronze trail markers that identify significant locations along the Club’s annual hike. Each is QR coded with information connected to Colorado Springs’ Pioneers Museum. Why go to all the trouble? Underneath the Club’s 100 year history is a dedication to the Ute Indian Nation who first named Pikes Peak, “Tava Kahv” or Sun Mountain. 

A Brief History

In 2001, the Pikes Peak Historical Society established an endowment fund in order to help members of the Ute Indian Nation return to their original homelands around Pikes Peak. To this day, this annual visit enables the Ute people to do ceremonies at their ancient sacred places, including their Sundance grounds on Pikes Peak and at their culturally scarred trees. There are several types of these Ute trees, and are labeled by the Pikes Peak Historical Society according to their function; Medicine/Healing Trees, Prayer Trees, Burial Trees, etc. These Living Artifacts are a precious resource, linking modern culture with the first inhabitants of the Pikes Peak area, the Tabeguache Band of the Ute Indians who were forcefully relocated to the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in Utah in 1880. These Living Artifacts, some 800 years old, establish the Pikes Peak area as an enormous outdoor, living museum.

The Tabeguache, or “People of Sun Mountain,” was the largest of the ten nomadic bands of the Ute. They followed the herds of wild animals throughout their lands, harvesting the elk, deer, and buffalo at specific places at certain times of the year. This lifestyle mandated that they move their camp every three or four weeks. They constructed a medicine wheel at the heart of each new camp, linking them to Mother Earth like an umbilical cord.

John Wesley Powell lived with the Northern Ute People in 1868-69, and documented their customs. As he observed, “[the Ute] will never ask to what nation or tribe or body of people another Indian belongs but to ‘what land do you belong and how is your land named?’ Thus the very name of the Indian is his title deed to his home…His national pride and patriotism, his peace with other tribes, his home and livelihood for his family, all his interests, everything that is dear to him is associated with his country.”

A Walk Through History as Art

Your tour will begin by gathering in front of Kimball’s Theater on E. Pikes Peak Avenue. After a few steps, look up; you’ll be welcomed off Tejon Street by a placename arch spanning the historic Carlton & Hibbard buildings. With a direct view of Pikes Peak to the west, the alley is bounded by Nevada Avenue to the east, Tejon Street to the west, Pikes Peak Avenue to the north and Colorado Avenue to the south. Thanks to pedestrian traffic regulations, your walk along the alley will be vehicle-free. Along the way you’ll see murals like “Cairns”, playful, vibrant, geometric representations of rock formations that mark the Barr Trail ascent to Pikes Peak; ”Frozen Five of Yore”, a design inspired boy photos of the clubs’ trek in the 20s; “Mural by Zane Porter, depicting climbers connected by a rope as a nod to the value of community, togetherness, and lineage. The tour ends at The Exchange on Tejob Street to sip the beverag included in the tour ticket price.

This is but one of many walking tours scheduled throughout the year in downtown Colorado Springs. You can join the Historic Architecture and Murals Tour on Saturday May 6th, Art on the Streets on Saturday June 3rd, Law and Disorder on Saturday July 1st, and on through the year. All tours begin at 10 am and last one hour. Tickets cost $10 to join the group or $20 do arrange a private tour. Pre-registration is strongly recommended since tours frequently sell out in advance. 

Reserve your spot on the tour and your room with us at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. We’ll be happy to guide you to the tour’s starting location, and look forward to seeing your photos from the day.