America's most famous mountain, Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) is generally visible from many places on the Front Range of the Rockies and the eastern plains. The peak, which juts out into the plains, served as a point of orientation for indigenous peoples long before Zebulon Pike saw in 1806 what the Spanish already had named El Capitan. Dr. Edwin James, of the Stephen Long expedition, led the first successful recorded climb in 1820. The Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway reached the summit in 1891, and Spencer Penrose built a highway to the top in 1915 that is today's auto toll road. At Glen Cove is the Half-way House (c. 1890), a rustic two-story, hewn log way station that served a stage line and then the auto road. Despite new Swiss gingerbread and a chalet balcony, the old building, with foundation, walls, and chimneys of Pikes Peak granite, is intact. Atop the peak, a new Summit House (1964), built to replace more elaborate ancestors, sits above the retaining wall of the original cog railway depot.
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