El Paso Canal

Cascade Avenue - Old North End

Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Library District Special Collections

Residents of Colorado Springs’ Old North End neighborhood owe a debt of gratitude to the city’s founder for their treed streets and lush, parked medians. In its early years, the Fountain Colony town site was arid and treeless.  Once he had platted his dusty lots near Colorado College, General Palmer realized that he needed an irrigation system  to “green up” his new development. The wealthy Easterners  he hoped to attract were accustomed more verdant surroundings. In 1871, Palmer dug an 11 1/2 mile ditch starting at Fountain Creek in Old Colorado City and ending at Evergreen Cemetery. Known as the El Paso Canal, the ditch distributed water via small, lateral canals to the North End neighborhood. The ditch, seen here to the left of the sidewalk, brought life to the city for over 80 years.

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