Pike’s Tower Kiosk Is Lamar Rotary’s Centennial Project

(October 12, 2022) When the Lamar Rotary Club celebrated its centennial in 2021, the members chose to create a long-lasting project that would be both a benefit to the community and observe the milestone.  Fourth-generation Lamar Rotary member David Northrup remembered that a fellow member had suggested that the club sponsor an information kiosk to explain the importance of Pike’s Tower at Willow Creek Park. While delays abounded, the club worked with Lamar Parks & Rec Department and Rick Akers to create and place the kiosk just north of the tower.

Lamar Rotary will hold a dedication ceremony on Thursday, October 20th at 11:30 to recognize the importance of Pike’s passage through what would become Lamar and Southeast Colorado.

It is generally believed that the group first saw the peak now named after Zebulon Pike in the area now known as Las Animas.

More than a mountain’s namesake, General Zebulon Montgomery Pike was an American patriot and hero. He died at the age of 34 for his country in the Battle of York (Toronto) in April 1813 after leading a successful engagement in the War of 1812. He led two expeditions to explore portions of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase under the authority of President Thomas Jefferson. His first was to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in 1805-1806. The second was to the American Southwest (SW) in 1806-1807.

The SW Expedition passed through the area now known as Lamar area on November 13, 1806, while following the Arkansas River from Great Bend, Kansas to Leadville/Canon City, Colorado. The expedition covered over 3,800 miles from near St. Louis to Natchitoches, Louisiana in 7 of today’s state and three Mexican providences.

“It is special that the Lamar Rotary has created and dedicate this kiosk for Pike’s Tower in Lamar’s Willow Creek Park. It recalls Pike’s part in American history and explains the reason for the WPA-era tower.  For 15 years the reason for its existence seemed lacking to me and the Pike National Historic Trail Association. The public will be informed now about the General Zebulon Montgomery Pike,” commented Harv Hisgen, Pike National Historic Trail Association president, “we welcome Lamar’s contribution to spreading Pike history.”

Lamar Rotary’s timing is perfect, as later in this Congressional session, two bills will be presented to U.S. Congress for the designation of the Pike National Historic Trail. Hisgen urged all to show support for the designation by showing support and e-signing a petition at www.zebulonpike.org/designation-support/ or contacting your US Senator or Representative.



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