On the south side of our most popular new park, America the Beautiful, is Chadbourn Community Church, recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. I first noticed this charming little mission style church (originally a grocery store) when Pat pointed it out to me about three years ago -- but it's been there since the 1870's.
Pat and I ran into a Colorado Springs old timer the other night who had a kind of stream-of-consciousness way of talking. His conversational topics wandered all over the place and he was a little hard to follow, but my ears perked up when he mentioned that the area just west of the railroad tracks, what we know as the Conejos District, was once called Martinez Town. I am a sucker for any kind of Colorado Springs history lesson, but unfortunately the conversation veered off into another direction immediately, so the topic was lost. I will have to find another old timer's brain to pick.
If I dig way, deep back in my memory (and by that I mean college), I recall my boyfriend Drew, who worked at the Red Cross, driving me through that small neighborhood and showing me how the poor of our city lived. I remember being shocked at the tiny, ramshackle houses and obvious poverty -- I had no idea at the time that their was any true poverty in Colorado Springs. It was very sobering. According to this article, it was the original Hispanic area of town, peopled with railroad workers and their families, most of whom came from Mexico to help build the railroad in the 1870s.
The tiny, ramshackle houses are now long gone; that area is now loosely known as the Arts District, and America the Beautiful Park takes up most of the real estate there. All that remains of Martinez Town is Chadbourn Community Church.
Some interesting articles about the Chadbourn Gospel Mission: