Compared to its impressive neighbors, Signature Rock, which stands on the south end of North Gateway, is rather scrawny. What it lacks in size, though, it makes up for in history. Or it did at one time.
As you can see, there is not much left of the signatures that gave this rock its name and set it apart. Nature (and uninformed humans) have nearly obscured over 600 names that once covered this rock. It wasn’t more than a year or two ago, that I could still point out the historic signatures. Now, it’s nearly impossible.
One can still make out the A.C. of Andrew C. Wright, who was a member of the Lawrence Party who came through the area in 1858. Above A.C.’s imprint was once visible that of a young newspaperman, Ernest Gard - 1880. He established several area newspapers, including the Cripple Creek Crusher. Legend has it that the first issue of the Crusher was printed in gold ink.
Not long ago, this rock was also used by climbers for bouldering. They unknowingly rubbed against the rock enough to further erase the famous inscriptions. There are now signs forbidding bouldering on this rock. Engraving of new names is also forbidden.
While you’re here struggling to make out the ghosts of signatures, note the large tree behind signature rock. It is an apricot tree! And it’s totally out of place. Closest guess is that someone - maybe A.C. Wright or one of his friends - was eating an apricot and threw the seed over his shoulder. It does bear fruit and the bears love it!
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