The City of Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in the east central portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At the city stands over one mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, rising over 8,000 feet above the city on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs.
The city had an estimated population of 439,886 in 2013, ranking as the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 41st most populous city in the United States. The Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 678,319 in 2013. The city covers , making it the most extensive municipality in Colorado. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and placed number one in Outside's 2009 list of America's Best Cities.
Ute, Arapahoe and Cheyenne peoples were the first to use the area which would become Colorado Springs. Part of the territory included in the United States' 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the current city area was designated part of the 1854 Kansas Territory. In 1859 after the first local settlement was established, it became part of the Jefferson Territory on October 24 and of El Paso County on November 28. Colorado City at the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks was "formally organized on August 13, 1859" during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. It served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from November 5, 1861, until August 14, 1862 when it was moved to the Denver City.
The 2nd period of annexations was during 1889-90, and included Seavey's Addition, West Colorado Springs, East End, and another North End addition. In 1891 the Broadmoor Land Company built the Broadmoor suburb, which included the Broadmoor Casino, and by December 12, 1895, the city had "four Mining Exchanges and 275 mining brokers." By 1898, the city was designated into quadrants by the north-south Cascade Avenue and the east-west Washington/Pike's Peak avenues.
From 1899 to 1901 Tesla Experimental Station operated on Knob Hill, and aircraft flights to the Broadmoor's neighboring fields began in 1919. The Alexander Airport north of the city opened in 1925 and in 1927, the Original Colorado Springs Municipal Airport land was purchased east of the city.
In November 1950, Ent Air Force Base, was selected as the Cold War headquarters for Air Defense Command (ADC). The former WWII Army Air Base, Peterson Field, which had been inactivated at the end of the war, was re-opened in 1951 as a USAF base. The 1950s through 1970s saw a continued expansion of the military presence in the area with the establishment of NORAD’s headquarters in the city, as well as the ADCOM Headquarters.
Between 1965 and 1968 the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College and the Colorado Technical University were established in or near the city In 1977, most of the former Ent AFB became a US Olympic Training Center.
On October 1, 1981, "the Broadmoor Addition", Cheyenne Canon, Ivywild, Skyway, and Stratton Meadows were annexed after the Colorado Supreme Court "overturned a district court decision that voided the annexation". Further annexations expanding the city include the "Nielson Addition" and "Vineyard Commerce Park Annexation" in September 2008.