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Colorado Springs is the most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. It is located just east of the geographic center of the state and 61 miles (98 km) south of the Denver. At 6,035 feet (1839 meters), the city sits over one mile above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher. Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains.
With an estimated population of 431,834 (2012), it is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado and the 48th most populous city in the United States, while the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 668,353 (2012). The city covers 186.1 square miles. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and placed number one in Outside Magazine's 2009 list of America's Best Cities. View other awards Colorado Springs has received.
Colorado Springs was founded on July 31, 1871 by General William Palmer, with the intention of creating a high-quality resort community, and was soon nicknamed "Little London" because of the many English tourists who came. Nearby Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods made the city's location a natural choice.
Within two years his flagship resort the Antlers Hotel opened, welcoming U.S. and international travelers as well as health-savvy individuals seeking the high altitude and dry climate, and Palmer's visions of a thriving, quality resort town were coming true. Soon after, he founded the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, a critical regional railroad. He maintained his presence in the city's early days by making many grants or sales of land to civic institutions. Palmer and his wife saw Colorado Springs develop into one of the most popular travel destinations in the late 1800s United States.
The town of Palmer Lake and a geographic feature called the Palmer Divide (and other more minor features) are named after him, and a bronze sculpture of Palmer on a horse is prominently displayed downtown in front of Palmer High School, at the center of the intersection of Nevada Avenue and Platte Avenue.
Colorado Springs receives 17.4 inches of annual precipitation. Average snowfall for the area (included in the previous annual precipitation calculation) is 44.6" total. Average January low and high temperatures are 14°F/ 42°F (-10°C/ 5.5°C) and average July low and high temperatures are 55°F/ 85°F (12.7°C/ 29.4°C).
Colorado Springs has relatively mild winters, with large snow accumulations in the downtown area relatively rare, a strong warming sun due to the altitude, and only occasional episodic periods of sub-zero cold snaps and blizzards from October to March/April. Although the coldest average monthly high temperature of the year in Colorado Springs has historically been January, in recent years December has had a colder average monthly high temperature.
With the city located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and its many trails and parks, Colorado Springs is a popular destination for tourists seeking scenery, rock formations and other unique geological features, like Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods Park, Seven Falls, and Cave Of The Winds.
Colorado Springs is also home to a variety of cultural, educational, and historical attractions including the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Center, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, Peterson Air and Space Museum, and the United States Air Force Academy.
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee. In addition, a number of United States national federations for individual Olympic sports have their headquarters in Colorado Springs.