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(“Demolition of the Alta Vista Hotel on 118 North Cascade Avenue”, 1963. Photograph by by Helen and James McCaffery. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District. Image number 266-10006.)
If you follow The Big Something, then you know that we like to practice a form of process journalism that involves lots of digging around in forgotten corners of our regional history, posting what we find, then taking your thoughts and feedback and digging some more.
Today we bring you an interview with Matt Mayberry, local historian and Director of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, that arose from the overwhelming response to a variety of posts we’ve done about urban renewal and the many beautiful downtown buildings that were demolished in the 1960s and ’70s.
As you’ll learn in this 17 minute interview, urban renewal was not unique to Colorado Springs by any means, nor was it necessarily more devastating here than in other cities our size. Many people at the time were more than happy to say goodbye to old buildings and make way for the new as the city reinvented itself after WWII. Here Matt Mayberry describes the local and national circumstances that led the community to reinvent itself in ways that many now mourn. (Right-click/option-click to download, or just click on the green play button to stream)
Look at the urban renewal slide shows we’ve posted while you listen.
(All photos in this slideshow are by Helen and James McCaffery, courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District. Best viewed in full screen mode by clicking on arrows in lower-right corner of slide show)
(Click HERE to see the original post, “Then and Now: Portraits of Urban Renewal”).
Watch “Time to Live” (original post HERE), the 1964 promotional video to which we refer in the interview, and which captures the zeitgeist of the urban renewal period in our history: