I was browsing through the Pikes Peak Library District’s Digital Archives when I encountered a series of photographs that beckoned my attention – perhaps it was the timeless subject matter of a young family or maybe the fact that I recognized the location of these photographs as a house on the corner of Uintah and Weber that I drive past everyday on my way to work – whatever the reason, I thought it’d be fun to endeavor upon a course of action whereupon I could try to share that feeling of wonder, recognition and amusement at noticing not necessarily how much has changed in Colorado Springs over the last 100 years, but how much has stayed the same.

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.


5 Responses to The Ghosts of a Photographic Past: The Finn Family

  1. Jeremy says:

    That was cool. Thanks for sharing!

  2. b. Casados says:

    Very nicely done–research, photography AND storytelling–thanks for starting my day with a smile!

  3. Barbara Hegarty says:

    What a brilliant piece!

  4. Liz says:

    That piece was VERY nice! Eerie and amazing to see the same house with the old photos superimposed! Thanks so much! Loved the music too.

  5. Paul Richardson says:

    this is great, really creative overlaying the old pics on the new video.


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