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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  November 2, 2014 2:01pm-2:13pm EST

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second most populous city in the state is where the great plains meet the rocky mountains. in the next hour, here about how the natural beauty of the area inspired the city's founder, william jackson palmer. >> palmer saw possibilities. and i want to think it was the mountains that he fell in love with. colorado springs is nestled right up against pike's peak. he saw the possibilities in terms of capitalizing, if you will. >> later, find out what drew tesla to colorado springs. his is phrase when he gave first talk your was to send a message from pikes peak to paris. he tested out this -- what we know as the tesla cloud. basically, it was having lightening go off in the room. by we will begin the hour traveling 14,110 feet to the
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summit of pike street. the mountain that inspired the song, america the beautiful. for as long as people have lived in this area, pike's peak has been a marketing tool. we have used it to identify this location. pike's peak protrudes out onto the eastern plains. it is the first 14,000 foot mountain that you reach one coming west across the plains. so it is a beacon in many ways people who are traveling towards the mountains. i remember many times growing in the mid west and knowing that you're almost there with you start to see pike's peak in the distance.
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you can see it from 100 or more it is east of here and so this thing that just pulls you in as you are coming west. right now, we are at crystal reservoir on the pikes peak highway. we are about 9500 feet in perhaps one of the best views in the world. in 1779, when thomas jefferson and others were declaring independence, this area was spanish and in 1779, spanish colonial forces came within a few miles of where we are now exploring the and searching for hostile american indian peoples. in 1806, he was sent into the american southwest to explore the region.
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very similar to lewis and clark, who were sent to the northwestern part of the newly acquired louisiana territory. to the southwest part of the territory and, from he came pective, when out here, he really walked off the map. be the mission was to first american official to carry word of american ownership of this region to the american indian people were out here. to create a map of the region. to identify resources that were here in the american west. and to determine boundaries jefferson bought louisiana the boundaries were disputed, and the spanish would not have agreed with what thomas jefferson thought he had acquired. even if -- even if that dispute had happened. it was still not quite clear
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and e one country ended another country began because defined by river drainages and no one really knew where all the rivers went. coming lon pike was across the plain, he entered present-day colorado in november 1806. shortly after, in what we now think of as colorado, he could begin to see the mountain. what he called, grand peak.
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he identified the mountain as a location where he could get high enough and begin to understand how the rivers flow. if you look down onto the plains of the surrounding area, it would help them to map the region. when pike first sees the grand speak, he thinks he will reach the top of it in just a few days. it really takes weeks to approach. partly because in the east, where pike grew up in knew, you do not have vistas like you do in the american west. you can see for many, many miles. pike was confused by how far the distances are out here. so he tried for weeks to reach the top of the mountain. they reached, what we believe,
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is a lower mountain on the flanks of pikes peak called mount rosa. from there, they could see that they had three or four days more march to the top -- proper clothing and equipment and with limited food. so they turned around, and at that point, pike wrote in his given the hat conditions -- given the equipment they had at the time summoned could have to the peak -- summitted the peak. is pike as hink saying that no one would ever get to the top, in any condition. of course, we are standing on a road where you can, of course, top of the e mountain, but bike was living in very different conditions and circumstances. and under those conditions, he the best he could. never reach the summit and risk s determined that the outweighed the reward, given the tough wintertime conditions that they faced. zebulon pike never called it pikes peak. as the grand o it peak, but because his journals initially published in
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1910 and he was the first this area in cribe detail, his name permanently attached to the mountain, and ultimately to the entire region. there has been people -- have been people in the region for a millennia. there is not sure who reached of pikes peak first, but we do know the first was done in mit 1820 by edwin james. a botanist for the -- for another expedition that followed after pike. because he summitted in the a nice summer day -- the mountain was briefly named for him. so for a while, it was called james peak. pike's effort, pike's
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journals were better known. so it remains pike's peak today. pike is a little-known figure today. we are trying to change that. those historian to have studied him. has not had the benefit of lewis and clark -- of a lot of scholarship. were not itions directly offered by thomas jefferson, the way lewis and clark was, but we think that he in a very important figure expedition western and exploration because he is the first to really create a visual image of the american southwest. a visual image to the words journals rote, the
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that he compiled, and the fact that he published those before lewis and clark did. they were translated into many languages. people were eager to understand what the west offers. -- journals encouraged what would become the santa fe trail. the ade route that linked united states with mexico. his journals created a mental eric of the west as an and e -- arid place
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furthered the idea tthat the american west was a great desert. see in age that we still reality today, in terms of how the and arid as part of country can be and the issues that come with trying to farm in this part of the country. today there are many ways to get to pikes peak. the pikes peak highway, which we are standing very near right now. so easy for people to get in the car and drive to the top along this tollroad. also the cog railroad, which is a cog style train that takes people knew the top. then there is a trail that allows people to hike to the top.
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in fact, pike's peak is mountain -- it is the way we think of it. pike's peak inspired the poem became "america the came here to who teach in 1893. during her stay, she took a wagon ride south of the and the view down to of the nes from the top mountain inspired the poetry, that inspired -- tthe images that are captured in that of the united states. peak not nk of pikes only symbolizing this one the tion, but in many ways, beauty of it, it's majesty, symbolizes the entire country.


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