How 30 Minutes On Top Of Pikes Peak Inspired ‘America the Beautiful’

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Pikes Peak Postcard
Vintage postcard of Pikes Peak.

Katharine Lee Bates stood on the top of Pikes Peak for just 30 minutes in the summer of 1893, but that was all the inspiration she needed to write a patriotic poem called, “America.”

Today, of course, we know it as the song “America the Beautiful.” Bates intended her poem as a kind of prayer for a country that had lost its way, biographer Melinda Ponder told Colorado Matters. Ponder's new book is “Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea.”

Hear versions of “America the Beautiful” by the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and Ray Charles.

Katharine Lee Bates
Katharine Lee Bates