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“Fountain Creek is a Pathway of History”

Saturday, January 19, 2:00-4:00 p.m., FREE

Fountain Creek Nature Center, 320 Pepper Grass Lane, Fountain, CO 80817

Fountain Creek—Our Unsung Hero

The grand opening of the cultural history exhibit entitled “Fountain Creek is a Pathway of History” will be on Saturday, January 19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at El Paso County’s Fountain Creek Nature Center.  The event is free!  Discover the human history along Fountain Creek and learn why Fountain Creek is our unsung hero!  Attendees will see, hear, and explore the human stories along Fountain Creek through photographs, text, listening devices, and hands-on interaction.  Visitors may listen to Fountain Creek’s voice tell her story as she tumbles down the mountains and hills on Pikes Peak  as well as to the voices of some of the men and woman who traveled along her banks.  The celebration will include lively historical music by Pepper Grass playing on guitar, banjo, harmonica, washboard and vocals.  Guests may interact with historically dressed interpreters, hear the evolution of this unique exhibit from inception to design and installation, children can explore the exhibit using a special scavenger hunt, and all may enjoy refreshments courtesy of Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers.

Exhibit Highlights

In addition to stimulating text, visitors may use audio devices to hear the voice of Fountain Creek herself, Julia Archibald Holmes’ story of her hike up Pikes Peak in 1858, Captain John R. Bell’s unique “Dung Story” from the Long Expedition in 1820 and more.  Visitors may also view a multitude of historic photographs, children may try on hats from a trunk that represent different people who explored and settled along Fountain Creek, and operate an irrigation headgate.  Families may enjoy the opportunity to explore the exhibit together and share their own family history along Fountain Creek.

Exhibit Development Background

In 1992, El Paso County Parks established Fountain Creek Nature Center and completed a major expansion in 2014 that tripled its size to meet the community’s growing demand for programs and educational needs.  At that time staff contracted for the installation of new exhibits focused on the Fountain Creek Watershed, Birding, and Sustainability.  These exhibits gave new life to public programs and to environmental education field trips for schools.  However, staff recognized that they lacked a way to interpret our cultural history.  To fulfill their mission to connect people to their natural AND cultural resources more completely, they formulated a plan to develop a unique, interactive exhibit focused on the human history of Fountain Creek.  In May of 2015 staff created an advisory committee made up of local historians including Katherine Sturdevant, History Professor at Pikes Peak Community College, Leah Davis-Witherow, Curator of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Pam Owen, Fountain Library, Angela Thaden Hahn, local historian, and Austin Box, Ute Indian Elder.  Together with the artist talent of nature center volunteer Rick Flores, they created a vision and conceptual design.  Students from PPCC and UCCS participated in research while the Friends non-profit raised funds through individual donations.  Three years later El Paso County contracted with Maureen Long Design to design, fabricate and install the Fountain Creek is a Pathway of History exhibit.  The nature center can now fulfill its mission to connect people not only to their natural resources, but also to their cultural resources as well, and inspire stewardship for the park, and the environment.