Friday, May 25, 2007

Old building not connected to 1959 Girl Scout Roundup sign

Being new to Colorado Springs, one of the first features I noticed when arriving in town was the Girl Scout 1959 Roundup sign on Interstate 25 between Briargate and Interquest Parkway. Having been a Girl Scout, passing the sign and the building nearby reminded me of all the good memories I have of scouting and I wondered about the history of the building and the site. Recently, however, my drive home was marred by the sight of a flat space where the building used to stand. Could you please give me some history on the site and the reasoning behind the demolition of the building?
- Dawn Griffin

ANSWER: We’ll brighten your day. The Girl Scout sign and the building were adjacent but had no connection. The little white structure, which had been vandalized, was an abandoned telephone repeater station that belonged to Qwest. The buildings were used when telephone signals needed to be repeated to get across open areas and long distances.This land belongs to the Air Force Academy and Sandy Taylor at Girl Scouts Wagon Wheel Council said paperwork was recently completed to keep the Girl Scout sign in its familiar spot. The sign is still there.

Now about the history. For 10 days in July 1959, the 800 then-empty acres (mostly ranchland) in this area were home to hundreds of tents and an estimated 10,000 Girl Scouts and adult leaders during “A Mile High — A World Wide,” the National Senior Girl Scout Roundup. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had authorized the Department of Defense to make available unused Air Force Academy land and equipment and the Colorado Springs City Council authorized a water tap for the facility.

A year later, the Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 50th anniversary with an international jamboree on empty land where Chapel Hills Mall is today. More than 56,000 scouts and leaders attended. Today, there are streets in that area named — you guessed it — Jamboree Drive and Jamboree Circle.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Left turns on red permitted onto one-way streets

Heading west on Bijou at Tejon: is it legal to make a left-hand turn on a red light into a one-way street going south, just as you can turn right on red lights everywhere except where “no turn on red” signs are displayed?
- Perry Trytten

ANSWER: Colorado Springs City Code 10.17.105 says a left turn may be made on a red light when not prohibited by an official sign or other official traffic-control device, but only if the vehicle first comes to a stop, is on a one-way street and is turning onto a one-way street where traffic is proceeding to the vehicle’s left. And, of course, you must yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and other traffic. "It is otherwise unlawful to turn left on a steady red signal."

Passenger train was just heading south

On Friday afternoon, April 27, I noticed a long passenger train departing Colorado Springs. The coaches had no railroad name on them. They were all the same color of blue and ivory. There haven’t been any passenger trains here in many years
- L.O.

ANSWER: It was just passing through. It was a luxurious private train, GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, formerly called the American Orient Express.Tamra Hoppes of GrandLuxe said it was the line’s empty GrandLuxe Express going from Denver to Albuquerque, where it will start its first trip of the season, “National Parks of the West,” to Jackson Hole, Wyo. The trains travel through the Western United States, the Rockies and Sierras, the national parks and into Canada — but don’t stop here.Some trips include visits to Colorado Railcar Manufacturing in Fort Lupton, where luxury cars, self-propelled commuter railcars and “Ultra Domes” are built.For more information, visit Trip costs start at about $5,000.

Signals alert the military to lightning or severe weather

I live in Security, and at times I can hear the reveille playing at Fort Carson at 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Once in a great while, I hear a siren followed by a male voice giving some kind of instructions, but I just can’t quite make out the words. I heard it after a brief hail storm. I have heard it in the middle of the day and even late at night, and I don’t think the voice always says the same thing. Could you find out about the siren — when it is used, and for what?
- Diana Beatty

ANSWER: Both the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson play “Reveille” in the mornings and “Taps” at 10 p.m. weeknights to signal the beginning and end of each workday. At 5 p.m. the Army plays “Retreat,” and at 5:30 p.m. the Air Force plays “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The sirens alert everyone on post or base — particularly those downrange or out in the open — to lightning strikes in the vicinity and/or severe weather and the voice explains the alert. The Air Force Academy issues alerts with blinking lights and public-address announcements.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Drive-in restaurants hold fond memories for locals

Readers have had a great time reminiscing about local drive-in restaurants. It all started when Don Castle asked f"Did You Ever Wonder?" readers the name of a longtime-gone drive-in restaurant on the “cruising” circuit on Nevada Avenue in the 1950s and ’60s. The first ones mentioned were Jay’s across from Colorado College, Garth’s in the 400 block of South Nevada Avenue and the Fabulous Scotchman at 1815 S. Nevada Ave. Then Arnie Blair wrote about W&W Food Ranch and Gas Ranch at Fountain Creek and South Nevada Avenue and recalled a Wimpy’s at Mill and Tejon streets in the late 1930’s and early ’40s. His cousin car-hopped at Wimpy’s and took Wimpy burgers home for the family.

We’ve run several columns with drive-in updates and questions and we’re still getting e-mails and blogs from people who fondly remember the local eateries. Our thanks to everyone.

Diane Sigler asked about “a place on the corner of Las Vegas and Nevada and one on the corner of Mill Street and Nevada called McHales.” Al Cordova responded: “The drive-in was called Michaelis and was known as the home of the original 10 cent hamburger.” He continued down memory lane, “other drive-ins which were popular during early and mid-60’s included Howdy Pard on South 8th Street just north of where the Wal-Mart is now, Ivy’s on South Tejon and Las Vegas, and Cy’s drive-in on West Colorado Avenue (now at 19th and Uintah). There was also an A&W on the south side of the city owned by the Gorman family of Harrison School District 2 fame, more or less where the Car Toys near I-25 and Circle Drive is now. Circle Drive did not even exist then and across the street from the A&W were mostly cornfields and farm country.”

J. Michael Riley said the Mill Street Michaelis (a baker’s dozen burgers, 13 for $1 on Fridays and Saturdays when families headed for the drive-in theaters) was the smallest of four in a local chain with others at Platte Avenue and Boulder, on West Colorado Avenue and on the west side of North Nevada Avenue up near the dog track.

Jerry Price knew all about the drive-in near Las Vegas Street and Nevada Avenue: “Growing up in Colorado Springs in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I delivered meat there. It was Jack’s drive-in.” Reader Mary loved Jack's Drive-In, "which was owned by an elder couple named Pop and Mom Levy." She worked there and met her future husband at Jack's.

A reader blogged: “Two blocks west of Nevada on Las Vegas you got to the old Ivy’s Drive In which was in the same parking lot as the old Bowl-Mor bowling alley lanes and the miniature golf park.

Margaret Jackson said in the late ’40s and early ’50s she and her husband liked the hamburgers on a long bun at “Tom Boy’s and Poor Boy’s,” one on the east side of South Nevada and the other at Ramona Street. Another burger fan was partial to White Spot on Eighth Street and remembered the A&W on Manitou Avenue. And others said to not forget “The Drive-In" on North Wahsatch Avenue and “B.J.’s" on Union.

Gloria Stovern Mitchell shared that in 1954 her father, Reuben Stovern, built the Gold Nugget drive-in at the corner of South Nevada Avenue and Mill Street and the family lived in the attached house. Gloria was a car-hop during her high school years. The property near the underpass was sold in 1957 and the building later leveled.

Paula Jenlink Heydman said, "I can't believe that no one has mentioned the Cherry Pit which was located on the north side of Colorado Avenue just west of Cascade Avenue in the early 1950's. I remember it to be the #1 hangout spot in town at that time. I have fond memories of meeting friends there. The local police walked the beat in pairs downtown and always stopped to chat. I believe the population was about 55,000 then, and what a wonderful little city this was."

Monday, May 07, 2007

DV plates need handicap logo to park in spaces

Is there a difference in Disabled Veteran license plates? I see some that have a handicapped logo in the middle and other just say DV. Do the ones that say DV allow you to park in the handicapped spots? My wife’s van has a ramp on the right side and there are never any spots. There are plenty of people with Disabled Veteran plates that I believe are abusing these spots.

ANSWER: The disabled veteran plates with the handicap logo say “Disabled Veteran Handicapped” and allow that vehicle to park in designated handicap spaces. These veterans are more than 50 percent disabled and have verification of physical impairment from physicians. Disabled veteran plates with DV can’t legally park in handicap spaces and drivers can be fined. Some of those with DV plates also have handicap rearview mirror tags and can park in the handicap spots. Both DV and DV-handicapped plates are free to those with service-related injuries, according to Bob Becker, manager of El Paso County’s Motor Vehicle Department.