TODAY IN HISTORY: In 1858, Julia Holmes becomes first woman recorded to reach top of Pikes Peak

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Courtesy of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, original at The Western History Collection at the Denver Public Library

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Today is the anniversary of the first woman on record who reached the summit of Pikes Peak.

Julia Archibald Holmes took three days to make the journey to the very top, reaching the summit on Aug. 5, 1858.

She wrote the following upon reaching the top of America’s mountain:

““I have accomplished the task which I marked out for myself, and now I feel amply repaid for all my toil and fatigue. Nearly every one tried to discourage me from attempting it, but I believed that I should succeed; and now, here I am, and I feel that I would not have missed this glorious sight for anything at all…How I sigh for the poet’s power of description, so that I might give you some faint idea of the grandeur and beauty of this scene…”

Julia archibald holmes

(Quote shared from Leah Davis Witherow’s essay “The Bloomer Girl” on the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum website)

Holmes and her family were also staunch abolitionists. Their family home in Kansas was a stop on the Underground Railroad, a network of homes, churches and businesses that harbored escaped slaves as they ran toward freedom during the 1800s.

She also was an avid suffragette, poet and journalist for the New York Tribune, among other roles in which she served the U.S.

To learn more about Holmes and the history of the Pikes Peak region, Colorado Springs and more, visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum website.

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