Saturday, September 5, 2015

Riverwalk of Pueblo, 9/04/2015

Our first day in Pueblo, we drove into town and stopped at the Visitor Center to pick some information and maps about the town. The woman at the center was very helpful and provided us with maps and brochures. There were several outside exhibits next to the Visitor Center as well. 

Since we arrived in the afternoon, the vendors of the Farmers Market that had been set up in the parking lot area at the Visitor Center were packing up their wares. I loved these colorful peppers hanging in the back of a pickup truck. 

We remained parked at the Visitor Center (free) and walked two blocks to the Riverwalk. It is a 32-acre urban waterfront area in the middle of Pueblo. 

The Arkansas River has been returned to its original course through Pueblo as part of the Riverwalk project to revitalize the downtown area. The river had been diverted in the 1920s after a devastating flood destroyed much of the city. The Arkansas has been the lifeblood of the region for hundreds of years as Native Americans trapped and hunted along it and settlers took advantage of it for agricultural endeavors first and then for manufacturing in later years.

Here is a map of the Riverwalk that appears on a mural. Panels can also be seen that describe the initiation and funding of the project. It is a one-mile walk around the channel.

We started our walking tour at Lake Elizabeth where pedal boats can be rented. The Lake Elizabeth Pavilion is also located here and overlooks the water. 

Here is the view of the Riverwalk from the Victoria Avenue bridge. Also shown are the Kelley Falls below Lake Elizabeth. 

We loved these playful bronze statues along the east side. 

Angelos Pizza is one of many restaurants along the Riverwalk.

There are various creatively-designed fountains that we saw along the way. The first is located above the Farley-Riley Falls; and, the second is a splash pad located at the Grand Staircase.

Music performances are held here. The annual 4th of July event features fireworks, food, and music. 

Veterans Bridge was designed by West Point graduate (1961) and architect Thomas F. Carroll. It is a walkway across the river on the Riverwalk. The seals of the four branches of the military can be seen and memorials to veterans are located on the top part of the structure. The engraving of the name of a veteran (any branch, any time, honorably discharged) can be purchased ($150 donation) and added to the memorials. 

Dave McGary's, Walks Among the Stars, bronze sculpture (2004) is located in a plaza next to the Veterans Bridge. When buffalo became scarce, Native American women of the Lakota began making quilts. The sunburst pattern shown here was a common theme in their artwork on buffalo hides as well.

More playful bronze sculptures of children at play are located near a pedestrian bridge. 

Murray Island is named for Mel Murray, the first executive director of the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Project. Check out the bronze animal sculptures of animals indigenous to the area. 

Many other bronze animal sculptures are scattered along the Riverwalk.

In 1908, Army Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike and 92 men traveled to the western border of the recently-purchased Louisiana Territory. His entourage made base camp at this location in Pueblo with the intent to further explore the area. From here they could see "the Grand Peak" in the distance (aka Pikes Peak) and set out to climb it. After encountering waist-deep snow, they abandoned the climb but are still credited as the first "white men" to attempt it. Pike Plaza documents his visit and travels in the area.

Below Pike's Plaza is the Boettcher Pavilion, fishing area, and Nature Area Waterfall.

This unique memorial honors Marine Corporal Chris Weaver who lost his life in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. We, too, rang the bells in his memory. There is also a World Trade Center Steel Memorial that includes a piece of one of the towers.

Loved this view of the Riverwalk and pedestrian walkway to access the opposite side.

The entrance to The Center for American Values is located along the Riverwalk. It is a museum that honors  Medal of Honor recipients since World War II. It is the only site dedicated to this outside of the Pentagon in Washington, DC. We did not go in, but may visit in the future. 

We very much enjoyed strolling around the Riverwalk. There is no question that is has brought beauty to the downtown area of Pueblo. It's a great venue for events and a fun place for lunch, dinner, or some nightlife...or just to go for a walk.

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