Listen to a narration about this area:
The area around Pikes Peak was the traditional territory of the Tabeguache Ute Indians. The Tabeguache, or "People of Sun Mountain," was the largest of the ten nomadic bands of the Ute. They followed the herds of wild animals throughout their lands, hunting elk, deer and buffalo at specific places at certain times of the year. They moved their camps every three to four weeks to access fresh hunting grounds. As late as the 1870s Ute encampments in the valley south of Florissant numbering 500 tepees were recorded.
In 1870 Judge James Costello established a trading post at Twin Springs, now Florissant, to trade with the Utes as they roamed the area. Two years later, he requested that a US Post Office be located there and it was named Florissant after his hometown, Florissant, Missouri. This trading post led to the gradual settlement of the valley south of Florissant along the present Teller County Rd. 1. Settlers practiced farming and ranching. Potato farming was especially successful and continued until the 1930s when the local climate became dryer and the water table in the area dropped , making commercial farming impossible.
The Colorado Midland Railroad arrived in 1887 and Florissant became the destination for "Wildflower Excursions" from Colorado Springs. Initially farmers and ranchers shipped their produce from Florissant, but after gold was discovered in Cripple Creek in 1890 agricultural produce was shipped to the mining district to feed the miners and their families . During the gold rush, the route from Florissant to Cripple Creek, now Teller County Rd. 1, was heavily travelled. The Hundly Company established a stage line and eight coaches a day made the 20 mile trip from Florissant to Cripple Creek. Before the railroad reached Cripple Creek, gold wagons from Cripple Creek overnighted at the large Welty barn near the present Evergreen Station, halfway to the rail line in Florissant.
Potato farming is no longer possible in the valley, but many family ranches remain, some owned by the same families that established them in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Several of these ranches have been placed under conservation easements by their owners, so that they will remain available for ranching or preserved as open space into the future.