kids encyclopedia robot

Austin Bluffs, Colorado facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Austin Bluffs is a summit in the Pikeview area of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, at 6,673 feet (2,034 m) in elevation. It is also a residential area, that was once a settlement and the site of a tuberculosis sanatorium. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus was moved there in 1965.


The rock in Austin Bluffs is from the Dawson Arkose, Arapahoe Formation, Denver Formation, and Eocene period of the Tertiary. Sedimentary sandstone and arkosic sandstone formations are evident due to a geological uplift in the area about 65 to 70 million years ago. Due to its rock formations, the United States Forest Service has deemed the open space as unique in the National Feature Inventory.


There is archaeological evidence that Native Americans lived in the Austin Bluffs area thousands of years ago, and perhaps as early as 10,000 years ago. There are more than a dozen sites that show that the area was used to quarry for stone for lithic tools. There are 30 sites that show signs of occupation between 100 and 1,400 AD by Plains Indians, including evidence of charcoal fires, on the west side of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. There are also stone enclosures that may have been Ute vision quest sites.

In the 1870s, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway operated a railroad line along Monument Creek and what is now the western edge of the campus. Matt France sold the prairie land and bluffs that he owned northeast of Colorado Springs in 1873 to Henry Austin. Out West reported on November 7, 1872 that Mr. Austin of Chicago had purchased 5,200 acres [2,100 ha] of land on the northeastern boundary of the newly formed Colorado Springs. Austin, for whom Austin Bluffs are named, was a wealthy sheep ranch owner of 3,000 acres (1,200 ha). Austin hired Hispanic shepherds from southern Colorado and New Mexico to tend his sheep in the 1880s. Photographer Laura Gilpin was born in Austin Bluffs, which was more accessible for a doctor than the family ranch on Horse Creek.

Austin Bluffs began to be annexed into the city of Colorado Springs beginning December 1888 and in many sections from 1894 to 2013. In 1890, plans to make Austin Bluffs were underway: the area had its own water system, had laid out the lots for residential housing, and was added to Colorado Springs trolley service. Water was piped to the area from West Monument Creek by the Austin Bluffs Land and Water Company.

Nordach Sanatorium, Austin Bluffs, Colorado 1906
Nordach Sanatorium, Austin Bluffs, Colorado 1906, Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District

In 1901, Dr. John E. White opened the Nordrach Ranch Sanatorium. Located at Austin Bluff, patients lodged in tents, were exposed to fresh air, had limited physical activity, and ate well. The regimen was based upon a German sanatorium that had seen good results with this approach.

The Keystone Fuel Company of Colorado Springs operated the Austin Bluffs Mine, a lignite coal mine in Austin Bluffs, by 1905. By 1910, new tipple and machinery were installed. One mile (1.6 km) east of Highway 85-87 (Nevada Avenue), on the southwest side of the bluffs, was a place where red and brown agate and cherry red carnelian were collected.

The Cragmor Sanatorium, a tuberculosis clinic and nursing home, operated in Austin Bluffs in the early 1900s. Land that was owned by Henry Austin is now part of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus. In 1965, the 80-acre (32 ha) sanatorium was sold by George J. Dwire to the University of Colorado for one dollar to build an extension campus in Colorado Springs. It has since grown into a 532-acre (215 ha) campus.

Open Space

The Austin Bluffs Open Space is a 584-acre (236 ha) park north of Austin Bluffs, east of Nevada Avenue, and west of Union Boulevard. It includes Austin Bluffs, University Park, and Pulpit Rock open space areas. There are two trails through the park.

kids search engine
Austin Bluffs, Colorado Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.