Honoring Women's history

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we wanted to pay homage to the trail blazing women who had a lasting impact on the Pikes Peak Region. 


Through their ground breaking efforts, contributions to society, and larger than life personalities, they left their mark and a legacy immortalized in our outdoor spaces. 


Click on the map below for locations and information on these remarkable women. (We will be adding more to the site, keep checking back.)


Can you think of any parks or trails we have missed or know more of the stories of these women? Feel free to send them to us at info@trailsandopenspaces.org


You can also order one of our super-cool TOSC shirts commemorating Women’s History Month here. 

🌲 Captain Jack Trail

Ellen E. Jack, aka “Captain Jack”

November 4, 1842 – June 16,1921

Ellen Elliott Jack was born in New Lenton, Nottingham, England, on November 4, 1842.

After a frightening episode with her first love, Carl, she left for the United States. While aboard the steamer ship the James Foster in 1860, she met Charles E. Jack. The two were married and settled in New York.

Not long after, Charles left to become a Navy captain in the Civil War. She gave birth to a daughter, then a son. Sadly, both were lost to Scarlet Fever. They had two more children, losing another again to Scarlet Fever. Charles passed away soon after.

During this devastating time, she took advice from a friend. Placing her surviving daughter in the care of her sister-in-law she headed West, ending up in Gunnison. She opened “Jack’s Cabin”, an eating house, which became quite successful in the mountain town. After starting a number of boarding houses in the area, she took an interest in the Black Queen Mine. According to her writing, she participated in gun fights, fought off would-be Indian suitors, and traveled extensively through the mountains in the area.

She relocated to Colorado Springs and settled up near Seven Falls with a menagerie of animals and would pose for tourist photos. In 1920, a flood washed out High Drive. Jack was in town at the time, so she was ok, but she could not get back to her home up in the mountains. The city opted not to rebuild the road and she was devastated she could not return to her home.

Ellen passed away in June of 1921 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery facing High Drive.

🌲 Helen Hunt Falls

October 15, 1830 – August 12, 1885

Jackson was an American poet and writer most famous for her works My Century of Dishonor and Ramona.

She was born Helen Maria Fiske in Massachusetts. She lost her parents in her teens and was cared for by her uncle. She attended Ipswich Female Seminary and Abbott Institute in New York City.

In 1852 she married U.S. Army Captain Edward Bissell Hunt who was killed in an accident in 1863.Tragically, both sons from this marriage also died young and much of her verse around this time reflected her loss and sorrow.

In 1873, she traveled to Colorado Springs and the Seven Falls Resort in search of a cure for tuberculosis. While in Colorado Springs, she met William Sharpless Jackson, whom she married in 1875.

Jackson became an activist on behalf of Native Americans after hearing a lecture by Standing Bear of the Ponca Tribe. She documented the government’s violation of treaties with the American Indian tribes and was involved in heated exchanges with officials over the injustices committed against the Ponca and other tribes.

Much of her early work was published anonymously under the name H. H.

Her poem Cheyenne Mountain was written for the mountain in Colorado Springs.

She passed away from stomach cancer in 1885 in San Francisco. Her husband arranged for her remains to be brought back to Colorado Springs where she was buried on a plot near Seven Falls. Her remains were later moved to Evergreen Cemetery.


🌲 Kane Ranch Open Space

Originally part of a 5,000 acre ranch established in the 1940s by Wanden Matthews La Farge.

Born in NY, she was extremely well educated and well-traveled. Her first husband, Oliver La Farge was a writer and anthropologist who focused on the Native American culture.

After moving to Santa Fe, the couple split in 1935. Wanden and her children then settled in Fountain, Colorado where she soon purchased 5,000 acres of land east of the town.

She hired Alexander Kane to manage the property and the two married and the ranch was known as Kane Ranch.

In 1942, she became mayor of Fountain, making her the first female mayor in the state of Colorado.

🌲 Betty Krouse Park

Born in 1905, she was an orphan in Chicago.

She married Colorado Springs resident Robert Krouse in 1940.

First woman elected to the Colorado Springs City Council, serving between 1963-1975. She was named Vice-Mayor in 1973.

Died in 1983 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

🌲 Laura Gilpin Park

Born near Colorado Springs in 1891

Her parents moved to Mexico and left Laura and her brother in the care of the Gilpin’s school directors. Received her first camera when she was twelve and used it incessantly.

In 1904, she went to St Louis to visit her mother’s closest friend, Laura Perry. They attended the Louisiana Purchase Expedition where Gilpin described things in detail to Perry, who was blind. She later said it taught her a kind of observation she would have never learned otherwise.

Her love of photography continued to grow and she moved to New York to study photography until she became severely ill from influenza.

She continued to photograph the southwest until her death in 1979. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.


Her works are displayed at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas

🌲 Florissant Fossil Beds

While not named for a particular woman or women, this National Monument’s status as such is due to the hard work and dedication of concerned scientists and citizens – most notably Dr. Estella Leopold, Dr Beatrice Williard, and Vim Wright.

Soon after the first scientists arrived at Florissant, it became clear that Florissant was a kind of Rosetta Stone to paleontology. For decades, there was talk of setting aside the land. During the 1960’s, the prospect of land development would place the Florissant fossil beds in jeopardy. The plan was to build a subdivision of A-frame cabins on the fossil beds.

Scientists pleaded to Congress to protect the fossil beds under federal law. Concerned scientists including, Drs. Leopold and Willard, and citizen Vim Wright emerged as three of the strongest leaders in the cause to protect the fossils and formed a group called the Defenders of Florissant.

The people that favored protecting the area had us and future generations in mind. They knew that for thousands of years humans had marveled at the impressions of leaves and insects in stone and tried to make sense of their existence. Scientists, even from the very first expedition, recognized that this area was special.

The work of the Defenders of Florissant gained the attention of President Nixon, who deemed the site as a National Monument, protecting it for generations to come.


🌲 Kathleen Marriage Park

Born in 1882, at Nurney, a tiny rural village in Co. Kildare, Ireland

She was an assistant English mistress near London before sailing with her sister from Liverpool to Boston on the Devonian. The headed to Mullinsville, Kansas and the Eagle Canyon Ranch owned by John and Harriet Marriage.

Shortly after arriving, Kathleen married the youngest son of John and Harriet, George Russell Marriage. The couple settled in Colorado Springs where Kathleen’s sister joined them and they started the Upton Gardens and Nursery, which existed from 1916 to 1948. Mollie propagated plants she found on Pikes Peak and Kathleen supplied much of the city with plants for their gardens and parks.

more here https://hartley-botanic.com/magazine/this-gardening-life/


🌲 Mary Kyer Park

Was president of the Colorado Springs League of Women Voters and elected to the city council in an at-large seat with the highest margin of victory of any candidates running in 1977. Her platform was one where she stressed the need for a balanced council that would represent all segments of the community. She worked to obtain equal pay for the female employees of the city.


🌲 Nancy Lewis Park

Nancy Lewis is the former director of the Colorado Springs Parks Department. She devoted her life to preserving and improving the municipal parks in Colorado Springs. She retired in 1994 from the Parks Department, but remained active in the community with positions on the boards of Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of COmmerce, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Center. She was the volunteer CEO of the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center from its opening in 1995 and served as board president of the Garden of the Gods Foundation.


🌲 Lu Lu Stroud Pollard


Lu Lu was the eighth of eleven children. She was born in 1917 and attended Colorado Springs High School (now Palmer High School), then Prairie View State College in Texas and graduated from Langston University in Oklahoma. She had earned a full tuition scholarship to attend both institutions

Lu Lu’s efforts fighting for fair employment practices and improving race relations were key in Colorado becoming the second state to enact the Fair Employment Practices law in 1950. She became the first black person to become employed by the civilian office of personnel at Fort Carson, rising to Head of the Accounting Division, then in 1973 being promoted to the Director of the National Office of Equal Opportunity for the Military Traffic Command in Washington D. C..

She also founded the Negro Historical Association in Colorado Springs to preserve and share the history of local Black history. Her leadership and work of the tireless members of NHACS provided a home and resource for these important stories.



🌲 Katherine Lee Bates (statue in Alamo Park)

August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929

This American author and poet is perhaps best known for writing “America the Beautiful” along with many books on social reform.

Bates was a member of the second class at Wellesley College in 1876 and graduated in 1880. She won prize money in a contest for her poem “Rose and Thorn” which she used to travel to England where she studied at Oxford University.

After her time at Oxford, she returned to Wellesley as a professor. She did not stop her career there, however, and became a war correspondent for the New York Times during the Spanish American War. She attempted to reduce the negative stereotypes of Spaniards in the United States through her coverage there.

Her activism did not end there, she focused her attention on the struggles of the poor, women, people of color, and immigrants. She advocated for peace after WWI and was a strong supporter of the League of Nations.

In 1893, Bates was in Colorado teaching English at Colorado College when she started her most famous work: America the Beautiful.

One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.

The original poem went through some rewrites, with the expanded final version being published in 1913.

Bates was inducted into the songwriting hall of fame in 1970.

The statue in Alamo Park was by John Lajba in 2002.


🌲 Holly Adams Park

Near Coronado High School, this small park was created as a place to memorialize those Coronado High School has lost. 

The park was named for Second Lieutenant Holly Adams, a graduate of the Air Force Academy who was killed in a car accident in December 2002. Adams was the first female class president in the history of the Air Force Academy and was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the National Defense Service Medal.

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