Photo Exhibit Highlights Colorado Springs ‘Then And Now’ As City Celebrates 150th Birthday

July 8, 2021
Photographer Mike Pach says he didn’t try to replicate the old photos, but instead sought to make similar scenes highlighting the people and landscape of Colorado Springs today. This image shows pioneers near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, paired with a new photo in the same place.Photographer Mike Pach says he didn’t try to replicate the old photos, but instead sought to make similar scenes highlighting the people and landscape of Colorado Springs today. This image shows pioneers near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, paired with a new photo in the same place.Michael J. Pach /3 Peaks Photography
Photographer Mike Pach says he didn’t try to replicate the old photos, but instead sought to make similar scenes highlighting the people and landscape of Colorado Springs today. This image shows pioneers near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, paired with a new photo in the same place.

A local photographer is showcasing re-creations of historic images of Colorado Springs in an exhibit that opens this week. The display is part of the city’s 150th birthday celebration.

Photographer Mike Pach says he didn’t try to replicate the old photos, but instead sought to make similar scenes highlighting the people and landscape of Colorado Springs today. For example, a photo of Nikola Tesla and his coil.

“The idea I had was to photograph Tesla hill with lightning in the sky,” Pach said. "And the image that I made ... it contains 40 images. 38 of them have lightning bolts.”

That photo will be unveiled at the exhibit's opening.

Some of the archival photos included in the exhibit will be familiar — pioneers standing near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, for example — while others will be a bit surprising. 

Courtesy of City of Colorado Springs, image by Mike Pach
"Imagine crossing the Bijou Street Bridge many years ago like in this photo from the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Although some things have changed, the view of Pikes Peak is still breathtaking." — Mike Pach, photographer. Bijou Street is the main downtown exit off Interstate 25.

“The one that comes immediately to mind is a photo from 1900 of the Colorado state champion tug of war team, featuring members of the Colorado Springs police and fire departments,” Pach said.

To recreate that photo, he incorporated the Switchbacks soccer team.

“Since the tug of war team were champions, I tied it into the Switchbacks because they're part of the City for Champions project,” Pach explained. “So, that gave me the opportunity to tell people about the Switchbacks and tell a little bit about the City for Champions project.”

Pach said he made an effort to highlight the many ethnic groups in Colorado Springs today. He says he found there to be a lack of inclusion of people of color and diverse groups in archival photos of the city. 

The project will culminate in an exhibit that will feature 50 pairs of photographs and will open on July 8, 2021, at Library 21c. 

“So, in my own way I’m changing that by showing the various groups that we have here in Colorado Springs,” he said. “I think it's important for us to be as inclusive as possible when we are talking about the variety of people that we have here and the great things that they're doing in our community.”

The exhibit includes 50 pairs of photos. It will be at Library 21C through the end of August and then will travel to various library branches and other venues over the next year. 

Pach also plans to publish the images, plus 25 more, in a book.

You care!

You want to know what is really going on in Southern Colorado these days. We have got just the thing for people like you: the KRCC Weekly Digest. Sign up here and we will see you in your email inbox soon!