‘Adams Crossing’ Bridges Old And New

April 1, 2021
Matt Cavanaugh for KRCC

The following is part of KRCC's 'Peak Past' essay series.

Glance east while driving I-25 alongside downtown Colorado Springs. You’ll see a giant, white, sleek, futuristic bridge that’ll soon open to carry pedestrians over the railroad tracks to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. But I want you to look a little west, at a just-as-sexy bridge (yeah, I said it—these bridges are sexy).

The bridge at Adams Crossing is on Colorado Avenue between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, just before the green archway announcing entry into Manitou.

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Clip courtesy of FindAGrave.com

It’s relatively new. It's still got that new-bridge smell. And this isn’t just some fancier concrete.

There’s a story here. A good one.

According to local historians at the Old Colorado City Historical Society, the place where the new bridge crosses over Fountain Creek was known as “Adams Crossing” for over a century.

This is in honor of Charles Adams, who lived there  and was one of our region’s most remarkable citizens. A German immigrant, he was wounded in the Civil War—shot in the lungs at the Battle of the Wilderness, made an honorary general in the Colorado Militia after the war, investigated a famous case of cannibalism in Colorado, befriended Ute Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta, was the American Ambassador to Bolivia from 1880-1882, served on the Manitou Mineral Water Company’s board of directors, and he’s buried at Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou Springs.

He’s got two gravestones. Two. Who’s got two gravestones?

What a guy, what a person, what a presence.

A presence that, if you go at just the right time of day, that crepuscular time of day, sunrise or sunset, you’ll feel the spirit of Charles Adams in the air, happy, at his Crossing and our new bridge over Fountain Creek.

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


Peak Past (formerly Peak Perspectives) is a weekly segment written and voiced by Matt Cavanaugh, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a resident of Manitou Springs where he lives with his wife and two young children. Through his writing, Cavanuagh explores life in the Pikes Peak region, including the gradients and subtleties of our lives in the shadow of America's Mountain. 

You can find more work by Cavanaugh here.

KRCC's Abigail Beckman manages the "Peak Past" series. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of KRCC or Colorado Public Radio.

Peak Past is sponsored by Pueblo Recycle Works.

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