Housed in the former El Paso County Courthouse (1903), which is on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum is an excellent place to begin your visit to Colorado Springs. Exhibits depict the community's rich history, including its beginning as a fashionable resort, the railroad and mining eras, and its growth and development in the 20th century. Also here is the Victorian home of writer Helen Hunt Jackson.
You can ride an Otis birdcage elevator, which dates to the early 1900s, to the restored original courtroom, where several Perry Mason episodes were filmed. A recent renovation uncovered intriguing gold and silver images of goddesses, painted on the courtroom walls in part to represent the two key resources of the state's economy at the time. However, it's believed that they were also painted as a subtle protest when the country was changing from a gold and silver standard to a gold-only monetary standard. Another series of murals depicts over 400 years of Pikes Peak region history.
Changing exhibit areas house traveling shows such as quilts, historic photographs, aviation, American-Indian culture, and art pottery. The museum has hosted a wide range of events, including lectures on the American cowboy, antique-auto shows, jazz concerts, and Hispanic celebrations. The historic reference library and archives are available by appointment. Allow 1 to 3 hours.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010