While doing some research around Colorado Springs’ Sesquicentennial celebration last year, it struck me. Our city is 150 years old, and we still don’t have a good name to call the people who live in COS.
I know. We’re Olympic City USA. And the brand has been great to recognize and promote our growing metropolis’ forward-facing identity. It’s a great nickname for a city, but it doesn’t quite work for a people. Sure there’s a lot of those uber-athletes living among us, but we can’t all be Olympians. You’ve got to earn that distinction on the world stage, and despite the fact that we’re a pretty fit bunch in general, we’re not all that good.
Think about it. Many great cities have a name for their residents that just rolls off the tongue. New Yorkers. Londoners. Atlantans. Parisians. Angelenos. Here in Colorado, Denver has Denverites. Boulder has Boulderites. Heck, even Manitou has its Manitoids. But, admittedly, they’ve always been just a little funkier, cooler and proudly weirder than the rest of us around Pikes Peak.
Of course, we do get to claim The Springs. Call it a perk of being the second largest city in the state—and the biggest Springs in the Centennial State. All the others except Idaho Springs just abbreviate to their first name: Pagosa, Steamboat, Glenwood and, yes, Manitou. Of course, shortening to our first name wouldn’t quite cut it.
I came across a reference to Springsites in an article about the Springs’ Centennial celebration. It was from an Empire Magazine in 1972. A bit of Googling uncovered some archived Gazette articles slinging the Springsite phrase in the ’60s and ’70s. Fortunately, the moniker went the same way as Empire Magazine.
But it still leaves us collectively nameless, and it’s time to do something to change that. Who are we, Colorado Springs? As our culture, economy and people continue to diversify and ascend as one of America’s great cities, it’s time we had a name that’s more than “residents of Colorado Springs.” Sure, we have some syllabic challenges. But it’s time we had our own demonym (as in demographics, not the ghosts of our past).
Should we pick up Springsites once again? No, we’ve been there, done that, and there’s no need to copy our northern neighbors. This is us, COS. It’s our time. Our name.
How about Springians? Springsitans? Springsyllvanians? Meh. Too martian. Too Puritanical. Too much of a mouthful. Let’s not make this any harder.
Springers? Springsines? Or Springish? Nah. Too bouncy (or kinky). Too Old Testament. Too -ish (only the Irish can pull that one off).
719ers? Come on. It’s not the ’90s.
I’m taking a hard pass on Sprinsgsans and Springsens too. They just fall flat.
What about Springsteens? There are a lot of mullet-wearing classic rockers among us. Or young hipster bros trying hard to stage a mullet revival. No, nobody needs that.
But maybe they’re on to something. Less Springsteen, more Springster. Forget the mullet but keep the swagger. Shrug off the outside perceptions. Claim a name and own it. Choose the confidence to know who we are and where we are heading with the largesse of that Peak that defines our geography. I’m going with Springsters. It’s a little bit retro and a little bit progressive. Join me if you like (no mullet required, please). Or vote for your favorite below. We’ll see what sticks.