In the late 19th and early 20th century, a few names dominate the history of Colorado Springs, especially with regard to the gold mines of Cripple Creek. The spectacular wealth of Spencer Penrose, Winfield Scott Stratton and Jumpin’ Jimmy Burns tends to overshadow the stories of the men who worked one or two levels beneath the tycoons and were essential to the day to day operations of the mines. One such man was Oliver B. Finn, an engineer whose innovative processes and practices were widely published in the mining trade journals of the day. The video above is a composite of images from the Margaret Adams Collection at the Pikes Peak Library District’s photograph archives and video taken from the same vantage point as many of the original photographs taken by the Finn Family while residing in Colorado Springs.

You can find the original images used in this presentation and much more by visiting the Pikes Peak Library’s Digital Archive by clicking HERE. The music contained in the above video is “Mocking Bird” by Frank Haffort, 1911.

The summary that follows is a brief snapshot of the history of the Finn Family compiled from the PPLD digital archives and University of Pennsylvania alumni records.

Oliver Blackburn Finn, an 1891 Civil Engineering graduate of the University of Pennsylvania relocated to Colorado Springs to apply his trade in the gold fields of Cripple Creek. Oliver and his wife, Margaret, settled at 229 E Uintah Street and began raising their family. Esther, Barbara, Letitia and Phyllis. At some point between 1908 and 1913, the family moved from their Uintah street home to 1620 N Neavada Avenue. In 1913 or shortly thereafter, Oliver moved his family to Silt, Colorado, coinciding with the dwindling production of Cripple Creek gold. Oliver continued working in the mining industry as a mine superindendant in Colorado and throughout the Western United States. Barbara Finn moved back to Colorado Springs for high school, living with her aunt, Anne W. Bennett at 1520 Wood Avenue. Following her high school graduation, Barbara entered Seton School of Nursing and, upon completion, worked at Glockner Hospital, the precursor to Penrose Hospital. Upon the death of Oliver’s wife, Margaret, in 1928, he returned to Colorado Springs and the house on Nevada Avenue.


10 Responses to The Finn Family Photo Album: Then and Now

  1. Rose Enyeart says:

    I loved how you used the old photos with the new video images. The effect was clever and quite interesting. Thank you for your talents and the things we were able to learn.

  2. Sarah says:

    What a lovely photo essay! Especially enjoyed the soundtrack.

  3. Bob says:

    Wow! Great photo essay! The image superpositions are haunting. It also grabbed me for another reason – the music. My father, who was a struggling actor in the late 20’s and 30’s, got by during one brief period by doing a whistling act in vaudeville.

  4. Mary Ellen says:


  5. Vicky says:

    Noel and Craig – So proud to be working with such talented, intelligent and creative minds as yours. Beautifully presented; can’t wait to show my daughters.

  6. Amanda says:

    Really beautiful and moving work.

  7. Mary H says:

    I so agree! That photo trick with overlaying the old on the new is amazing and wonderful.

  8. Cathy Mundy says:

    I really loved this piece. I can think of no better argument to rid Nevada of its speeding traffic than your eloquent presentation of then and now! The Big Something is a great addition to KRCC– I really appreciate the research into Colorado Springs history.

  9. Amber says:

    This is so lovely and magical. Thank you for creating such a wonderful tribute to our local history.


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