Resource Number: 56Historic Building Name: William Jackson Palmer Equestrian StatueCurrent Building Name: William Jackson Palmer Equestrian StatueAddress: E. Platte and N. Nevada Ave. (center of intersection)Architectural Style: N/AYear Built: 1929
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Occupying the intersection of North Nevada and East Platte Avenues, this bronze equestrian statue portrays General William Jackson Palmer, the city's founder, astride his favorite horse, Diablo. The initial proposal to erect a monument to honor the General was suggested by the Chamber of Commerce following Palmer's death in 1909, but it was not until April 1923 that city voters approved the site by a vote of 3,151 to 871. At that time, Nevada and Platte Avenues were the major north-south and east-west highways through the city. The selection of the site sparked a controversy regarding automobile safety and inconvenience that continues to prompt periodic calls for the statue's relocation. Designed by sculptor Nathan Potter, with his prominent associate Chester French, it was formally dedicated on September 2, 1929.
General Palmer (1836-1909) was a Delaware native and member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who fought for the Union in the Civil War and subsequently organized the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. In addition to founding the City of Colorado Springs in 1871, he was active in creating and funding improvements to the park system and numerous other enterprises to develop the city.
The bronze statue, atop a red granite base, reportedly weighs 5,500 pounds and is fourteen feet high. The General, in civilian attire, faces southwest towards Pikes Peak. Critics have noticed the saddle lacks a cinch; regardless, the General has remained in his saddle since 1929. The cost of the $32,000 statue was raised privately. National Register eligible.