Peak Past: Our History is Beautiful

*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on February 4, 2021. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.

History is dusty books, musty newspapers, and crusty teachers. 

But history is also stories—our stories— and those stories can be beautiful.

I’ll prove it to ya. If you’ve got spare minutes on a Saturday, go drive down to 21st and Colorado Avenue, on the West Side of Colorado Springs, over by Old Colorado City.

You’ll see a two-story-high, movie-screen sized postcard, filled with all the things that make our little dot on Planet Earth special. It’s a riot of rainbow colors, a magnificent mural, a masterpiece by local artist Drake “Drastik” Gann.

The work is called “Colorado Native” and it’s spectacular. It’s some paint on an otherwise empty brick canvas.

It costs so little, but adds so much.

Standing from across 21st Street to take in its full width, you’ll take in larger than life personalities like Elvira and Tesla; you’ll see the Air Force Academy Chapel and some Army camouflage; the Olympic flame and a rodeo bronco; our downtown skyline, the Manitou Incline, some mountain columbine, and Pikes Peak nestled in the giant “C” for “Colorado Springs.”

It’s as if the artist filled up his spray cans with everything that makes this place great. Not just today, but all our yesterdays too, all the way back to the Native peoples that saw the mountain and springs as sacred.

It’s history with hope, heart, and it’s in color. A medley of our here’s and now’s and when’s and then’s. 

This is history, every bit as much as those dusty books, musty newspapers, and crusty teachers. 

So when you get a chance, go gander a few minutes at Drake Drastik’s 2D love letter to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region and maybe you’ll learn something about our town.

Until our next mountainside chat — be good, be well, and no matter what, climb on.

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