Nikola Tesla and Memorial Park
A fun fact regarding the area around Memorial Park has to do with Nikola Tesla and his experiments on electricity. Around the same time as Memorial Park and Prospect Lake were becoming popular to the locals, Tesla erected an experimental lab (in 1899) that is believed to be located near East Kiowa Street and North Foote Avenue. Seeking larger accommodations than what his New York lab could give, Tesla moved to Colorado Springs to begin work on his high-voltage and high-frequency experiments, with the main goal of sending wireless signals from the Pikes Peak region all the way to Paris! His new lab here in Colorado Springs hosted the largest Tesla Coil to have ever been built. It conducted so much electricity that sparks could be seen jumping between the feet of people walking the streets, light bulbs glowed along the streets even when they were turned off, horses were shocked through their metal shoes, and butterflies glowed a blue halo around their wings as they fluttered through the air. Unfortunately, Tesla’s lab was short-lived as he was sued in 1904 by the city of Colorado Springs for his unpaid bills. It wasn’t long thereafter that his lab was torn down and its contents were auctioned off to help pay his debts to the city.
While Tesla’s lab was torn down, nearby Memorial Park was beginning to buzz with the excitement of dreams and ideas of what the park would turn into today. Located in central Colorado Springs lies our beautiful Memorial Park and Prospect Lake. The land was donated by General William Jackson Palmer back in 1887. Originally, the lake was intended to provide drinking water as well as keep the lawns, shrubs, and trees watered at the nearby Evergreen Cemetery. But by the late 1890s, residents and visitors were using the lake recreationally. Later, in the early 1900s, Winfield Scott Stratton had a vision of a lake resort, thus resulting in the Prospect Lake Bathhouse opening in 1937, allowing patrons to swim, water-ski, camp and fish. A few years later in 1940, the park became an official city park for all to enjoy and in 1948, the name changed to Memorial Park as we currently know it. As of today, visitors can still enjoy indoor and outdoor swimming, ice-skating, fishing, boating, a large children’s play area, a large skate park, picnicking and more. Overall, the parks boast 194 acres of land, with 35 of those acres as Prospect Lake. The trail around the lake measures to be 1.25 miles, but you will also find a 2.2 mile perimeter trail as well if you’re looking for something a little bit longer. Memorial Park is ADA accessible and it’s recommended you access the park from South Union Boulevard. The park’s address is 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue. We definitely recommend you check out this beautiful area of town and enjoy a little part of Colorado Springs’ history.