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– Lady Bird Johnson  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 4 April 2021  

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    Earlier pandemics resulted in a “new normal”
    More on the history of Banning Lewis Ranch
    Owl Place property for sale
    It’s not a new subdivision
    Building and real estate update
 
  Earlier pandemics resulted in a “new normal”
  By Pete Gawda

   There is some speculation these days about how the practices brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic will result in a “new normal.” However, arguably the best known pandemic, Bubonic Plague or the Black Death, resulted in a drastic new normal that changed the course of history.
   
   According to the website, Historic UK, William I created feudalism in 1066 to consolidate his power. The system soon became prevalent all over Europe. The king owned all the land. He shared it with his lords, who had serfs to work the land. The serfs were slaves tied to the land, working for the lords, in return for a house and a plot of land to farm. They had to ask permission from their lord to leave the village, to grind their own corn in the lord's mill or even for their daughter to marry.
   
   Then, the Black Death struck Italy in 1344 and soon spread throughout Europe. It is estimated that one-third to one-half of the population of Europe died as a result of the disease, which was spread by fleas carried on rats.
   
   An article by Adam McBride in “Salon,” dated April 26, claims the Black Death resulted in the Renaissance and set the stage for the Industrial Age and the modern era. Before the plague, McBride said the medieval lord was the primary unit of legal, civic and military power. As a result of the high fatality rate because of the Black Death, there were not enough peasants to work the land and labor was in short supply. Peasants could then negotiate for better working conditions. The lords were in no position to refuse. Wages increased and rents decreased.
   Commoners could obtain large tracts of land and sell produce for a profit. It was the beginning of capitalism. Craftsmen were also able to receive better wages. The standard of living for the common man vastly improved.
   
   Literature and scientific thought began to thrive after the pandemic. Men like John Wycliffe began to question the authority of church and state, believing that ultimate authority resulted in the people rather than kings. Scientific thinkers began to consider such things as the rotation of Earth and gravity.
   
   The new normal after the Bubonic Plague shaped the current world.
  
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  More on the history of Banning Lewis Ranch
  By Pete Gawda

   What was once the largest Hereford ranch in the U. S. is now a large subdivision on the eastern side of Colorado Springs. Raymond Lewis and Ruth Banning, both from ranching families, were married in 1921; in 1924, they entered into a partnership, which became known as “Banning-Lewis Ranches.”
   
   On the ranch, which grew to more than 30,000 acres, they raised championship Hereford cattle. Their most famous bull was Prince Domino 101. He won the 1932 American Royal and 1933 National Western championships.
   
   Mark Bissell's parents were friends of Raymond Lewis. Bissell, who lives in Colorado Springs, said Lewis acquired his nickname, “Pinky,” because he played football for Colorado College, where he graduated in 1914. Whenever he was playing a game or practicing, his face was always red. In 1911, with Lewis's help, Colorado College won the conference championship.
   
   Bissell recalled that Lewis could often be seen driving along Highway 24 in his Cadillac to check the fence line. He also said the cattlemen's association held barbecues on a bluff east of Highway 24, where they had an old train car set up as a party house. Bissell said Lewis often played poker with prominent businessmen Phil Long and Thayer Tutt.
   
   Ruth Banning died in 1962 following an extensive illness. In 1967, Lewis married Carla Dines after her first husband, Tom, a banker and rancher, had been killed in 1955 in an auto accident. In 1963, Lewis sold off a large portion of the ranch to a real estate developer. The remaining ranch property was sold after his death in 1979.
   
   Walter Dennis grew up on the ranch where his father, Clyde, was the ranch manager. “We all started working as soon as we could walk,” quoted Dennis in the January 2009 issue of “Hereford World.” He was referring to himself, his brother, Clyde Jr., and his sister, Sandra.
   
   After the ranch was sold, Dennis worked with the developer to preserve the history of the ranch and honor the memory of Raymond Lewis and Ruth Banning. “We are educating people about the Hereford industry that Ray and Ruth were in and developing the feel of the ranch and its history,” Dennis said.
   
   While the original ranch was called “Banning-Lewis Ranches,” the subsequent subdivision was called ”Banning Lewis Ranch, singular and without the hyphen.
   
   Today, a centrally located “ranch house” at the subdivision serves as an information/community/recreation center and posts displays on the history of the ranch. The ranch name is memorialized in a K-8 charter school in the subdivision, Banning Lewis Academy.
   
   Tom Dine's ranch is also remembered in a subdivision. The Dines property was known as Pound Sterling Ranch. Today, that property is Sterling Ranch subdivision.
   
   Editor's Note: Information for this article is, in part, from Banning-Lewis Ranches, Records, Special Collections in the 1905 Carnegie Library, Pike's Peak Library District, general description of the records. Information was also garnered from an article in the February 2011 issue of “The New Falcon Herald” by Kathleen Wallace titled “Banning Lewis Ranch – the development years,” along with an article in the January 2009 issue of “Hereford World” by Sara Gugelmeyer titled, “Dealing with Urban Sprawl,” and the recollections of Mark Bissell.
   
   
   
  
This photograph from 1935 shows Ruth Banning Lewis with two of her prize winning Herefords. Photos courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District.
 
Looking west from Highway 24, one can see open pasture on the Banning Lewis Ranch. In the far background below the mountains are new subdivisions. Photo by Pete Gawda
 
Harry L. Standley shot this photograph in 1937 of Raymond Lewis on his polo pony, Friarsdale.
 
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  Owl Place property for sale
  By Pete Gawda

   The property at 11750 Owl Place is for sale. The 4.6-acre lot is located between Owl Place and Falcon Dental Care on Meridian Road, and is currently zoned residential rural 5. This zoning is reserved for 5-acre lots; thus, a variance would be necessary. For commercial development, the property would have to be rezoned.   
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  It’s not a new subdivision
  By Pete Gawda

   The recent laying of sewer pipe on The State Bank owned property on Highway 24 has caused speculation that a new subdivision might be going in. That is not the case, said Luke Smith, vice president of the bank.
   
   The 50-acre property in question is at 12740 Highway 24 east on the south side of Judge Orr Road, and runs between Judge Orr Road and Highway 24; adjacent to Meridian Ranch.
   
   ”It is still for sale, but we are actively pursuing a buyer,” Smith said. The bank has owned the vacant property for about 10 years. He said the work in progress now is being done by Meridian Metropolitan Service District on an existing sewer easement; the work will benefit existing houses in Meridian Ranch, not new construction.
   
   David Pelser, director of the Meridian Metropolitan Service District wastewater treatment plant, verified that the sewer work currently being done on that property is on a sewer easement owned by Meridian and will benefit existing houses. He said the easement runs along the backside of the subdivision, and a sewer overflow line is being constructed on the easement. Pelser said it would tie into existing sewer lines near the shopping center at the intersection of Highway 24 and Woodmen Road.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved acceptance of certain streets within The Vistas Filing No. 1 at Meridian Ranch subdivision into the EPC road maintenance system. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The BOCC also unanimously approved the release of $592,259.56 for subdivision improvements for the Vistas. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The commissioners unanimously approved acceptance of certain streets within Stonebridge Filing No. 4 at Meridian Ranch subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The BOCC also unanimously approved a release of $1,137,627 for subdivision improvements for the Stonebridge Filing No. 4 subdivision. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Meridian Ranch Investments Inc. to rezone 117.21 acres from a conceptual planned unit development to a site specific PUD. The approval included the preliminary plan to create 98 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way, open space and utility tracts on the property, which is located west of Eastonville Road at the end of Rex Road. The parcel is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   Eagle Rising
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by CASAS Limited Partnership No. 4 to extend the expired Eagle Rising preliminary plan, which was approved Sept. 24, 2013. The 70.97-acre parcel consists of 17 single-family residential lots and zoned residential rural-2.5. It is located about 0.5 miles east of Black Forest Road and north of the anticipated eastern extension of Briargate Parkway and is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Settlers Ranch
   The commissioners unanimously approved acceptance of certain streets within the Settlers Ranch Filing No. 2C subdivision into the EPC road maintenance system. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Falcon Park-n-Ride
   The BOCC unanimously approved a contract amendment to the intergovernmental agreement between the county and the Colorado Department of Transportation for construction of the Park-n-Ride facility at Highway 24 and Meridian Road, the New Meridian Road extension, the intersection improvements at Highway 24 and New Meridian Road and the intersection improvements at Highway 24 and Old Meridian Road. The amendment adds funds to the project and expands the scope of work to include the intersection improvements and construction of all improvements.
   
   Rolling Thunder business park
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Brewing Ground Investments to rezone 12.36 acres from one PUD to another PUD, amending the permitted uses within the industrial portion of the original PUD. The property is located at the southeast corner of the Woodmen Road and Golden Sage Road intersection and is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   11955 Falcon Highway Event Center
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by David and Cynthia Smallidge for a variance of use for a business center on 41.92 acres, located at the southeast corner of the Meridian Road and Falcon Highway intersection. The property is zoned RR-5 and is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   NFH note: A complaint was filed against this property variance by Brent Neiser, owner and partner of Inhabit That LLC, which owns duplexes in the Falcon Vista subdivision, in early December. The complaint included the following: "Three duplexes are within the direct visual and audible range of the Property in question seeking a Variance. … The property is downstream from the runoff at Falcon Vista and has two watershed wetlands going through it. Where on the property is this event center planned and where will parking be placed? The land appears to be sub-optimal for this proposed development and purpose.”
   
   The variance will allow a 2,400 square-foot building to be used as an event center for private events up to 75 people.
   
   Winsome subdivision
   The EPC planning commission unanimously approved a request by Winsome LLC for the final plat of 164.4 acres to create 47 single-family residential lots, three tracts of open space, drainage and utility purposes and rights-of-way. The parcel is zoned RR-2.5 and is located at the northwest corner of the Hodgen Road and Meridian Road intersection. It is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Haddock Metal Roof
   The planning commission approved a request by Black Forest LLC to rezone 4.77 acres from agricultural-5 to commercial community zoning in a 9-1 vote, with Eric Moraes opposed. The property is located on the west side of Black Forest Road, north of the Shoup Road and Black Forest Road intersection and is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
  
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