A Look Back At Our Top 5 Most Popular Stories Of 2017

Jan 4, 2018

Before we shut the book on 2017 once and for all, we'd like to take one last opportunity to reflect on the year that was. What better way than to revisit the stories from this past year that made the biggest impression on you, our loyal readers and listeners. 

Below are the local and regional stories that drew the most traffic to our website in the year 2017. 

5. Lessons From Ludlow: A Rockefeller Visits Southern Colorado

A postcard image of the Ludlow tent colony.
Credit Courtesy Jodene Parlapiano

More than a century after the Ludlow Massacre -- a notorious event in which Colorado Fuel and Iron coal miners and their families were killed during a strike over wages and working conditions near Trinidad -- a Rockefeller returned to Southern Colorado. Speaking at a Steelworks Museum fundraiser in Pueblo last February, David Rockefeller Jr. reflected on the mistakes of his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Jr., who ran Colorado Fuel and Iron before, during and after the Massacre. 

In his remarks, Rockefeller stopped short of personally apologizing for the actions of his forbears, but said the purpose of his visit was to learn from what had happened at Ludlow. 

Listen to the story here.

4. Large Blue Frame At Garden Of The Gods Sparks Outcry 

The "blue frame" which sat at the High Point Overlook parking lot at Garden of the Gods for less than a week.
Credit Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

For just under a week at the end of December, this blue frame may have been the most controversial piece of public art in America. Installed without fanfare at the High Point Overlook parking lot in the Garden of the Gods, the frame was designed to be a fun tourist attraction meant to entice visitors to take a photo of Pikes Peak from this iconic spot. However, the structure quickly drew the ire of locals who called it "ugly" and "tacky" and expressed concern about the lack of public input on the project.

Within a matter of days, more than 20,000 people signed a petition to remove the frame, a local artist created a parody version of the structure, and even our friends at NPR national picked up the story. 

Six days after it was installed, the frame was taken down, marking the end of a saga that captivated Colorado Springs. 

3. Southwest Chief Commission Sets Sights On Front Range Rail

Credit Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

We have been following the story of the Southwest Chief for several years now. It's a story about rural transportation, aging infrastructure, and the promise of future regional interconnection all in one.

A committee established by the state in 2014 to explore ways of preserving the long-distance Amtrak line running through southern Colorado was set to sunset in the summer of 2017. Instead, it was expanded to continue its work and to explore the possibility of a rail line aimed at connecting cities along the state's Front Range.

In December, the commission delivered a preliminary report indicating the steps needed for further progress, including engaging the public, identifying target markets, and drilling down on service, operations, and costs.

Read the original story here.

2. Templeton Gap Road: Who Was Templeton? What's With The Gap?

AJ Templeton - the namesake of Templeton Gap Road.
Credit Courtesy of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

This piece came to us from our series, Peak Curiosity, in which we report stories based on questions submitted by our listeners. Here, we set out to answer a question from Ed Storey, who wanted to learn about the history behind Templeton Gap Road.

AJ Templeton, the namesake of the road, was a rancher, deputy U.S. Marshal, and cowboy who arrived in the Pikes Peak region in 1859. Though he was a relatively minor character in the history of Colorado Springs, he managed to secure a lasting legacy through his early claim to an area near what is now Palmer Park.

Our reporting for this story led us to the early days of Colorado Springs, Ute trails in the region, and even the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.

Listen to the story here.

1. Why Is The 'N' In The Colorado Springs Welcome Sign Upside Down?

The entryway sign on the north side Colorado Springs, as seen from I-25.
Credit Partnership for Community Design

Our #1 most viewed story from 2017 also came to us from our Peak Curiosity project. In fact, it was our first installment in the series. 

Listener Mark Medrano tipped us off to an odd fact about the Colorado Springs welcome sign located on I-25, on the north end of town. If you look closely, you can see that the 'N' in 'Springs' is upside down -- the serif extending from the bottom right corner of the letter should be at the top left. 

In an effort to figure out how a typo made its way into such a prominent local landmark, we spoke with those who planned and oversaw the installation of the sign back in 1993. As it turns out, it was a simple mistake, and was deemed too insignificant to justify the cost of fixing it by the volunteer-led group that designed, raised funds for, and installed the sign. 

Listen to the story here

Thank you for listening to 91.5 KRCC and visiting our website in 2017. Stay tuned for more stories about Colorado Springs and Southern Colorado in the year ahead!