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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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26 January 2015

John "Prairie Dog" O'Byrne


On Saturday, at a loss for something to photograph for the blog, I decided to make a quick run to this cute little forgotten park on Bijou and Corona, in the neighborhood called Middle Shooks Run. We have a lot of hidden "pocket parks", as I like to call them, sprinkled around the older parts of our city. I've known about this one for years but I never paid attention to the sign bearing its name. Who is this John "Prairie Dog" O'Byrne? It wasn't until I sat at my desk and downloaded these pictures that I bothered to read the description on the sign, and what a treat it was to learn that the park's namesake was one of those Wild West characters from right out of the movies, the sort of larger than life eccentric that every city has in its history. Mr. O'Byrne's claim to fame was his livery service, powered by a team of elk! Here's a fun fact: the elk were named Thunder and Buttons. If you've lived here a while you're probably aware of a popular bar and restaurant in Old Colorado City, O'Byrne's old stomping ground, called Thunder and Buttons. In all these years, I had no idea that's how the bar got its name! And I had no clue that this wonderfully colorful character, John "Prairie Dog" O'Byrne, lived here over 100 years ago, bopping back and forth between Old Colorado City and Colorado Springs in his elk-powered carriage. But Mr. O'Byrne's story doesn't surprise me a bit, given the short but lively history of our city. The things I've learned about Colorado Springs while writing for this blog! It's always fun when I uncover an unexpected gem like this.

To read more about Mr. O'Byrne and his exploits, HERE is a great article about him written by Dave Hughes in 2006. Interesting stuff!


2 comments:

William Kendall said...

Elk for a carriage! What a character!

Randy said...

Nice looking park.