Art & History
For more than half a century, the Lowry Air Force Base served our country by preparing military warriors from all branches of the U.S. and Allied Forces. During its 57-year span, military veterans acquired technical skills to sustain Air Force operations through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and Vietnam.
Lowry sustained aerial operations from 1938 to 1966. At the time, the main focus for the Lowry Air Force Base was technical training, including aerial photography. By the 1950’s, air and space technology came to the forefront, with missile specialists being trained at Lowry at a rate of 1,000 per year. During World War II, Lowry became so critical in providing trained personnel to the U.S. military that the base population reached 20,000 and operated in three shifts, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The Lowry Air Force Base motto, Sustineo Alas (I Sustain the Wings), may be seen on many of the historical buildings that remain in Lowry today.
It was during the 1950’s that Lowry became the Summer White House of President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower. The First Lady’s family lived in Denver. The Eisenhowers would travel to Lowry on the presidential plane, named The Columbine, just like the Colorado State Flower. The first couple would attend services at Chapel No. 1. The United States Air Force Academy was established and located at Lowry from 1955 to 1958 while the permanent campus was being constructed in Colorado Springs.
More interesting Lowry history:
- As many as 1,500 Arapahoe Indians set up camp along Westerly Creek in what is now Lowry in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
- In 1888, Lowry’s northwest neighborhood was home to Jarvis Hall, a Christian military school, which burned to the ground in 1901 from a chemistry project gone wrong and was never rebuilt.
- From 1904-1932, Lowry was the Agnes C. Phipps Memorial Sanatorium, a 150-bed facility boasting the curative properties of Colorado’s climate. The oldest structure still standing in Lowry, built in 1904, was a part of the original Sanatorium campus and is now a private residence at 7400 E. 6th Ave.
- Lowry is named for Lt. Francis B. Lowry who was killed during aerial combat while serving as an aerial photographer in the U.S. Army Air Service in France in 1918 and who was laid to rest in Fairmount Cemetery just south of Lowry at Alameda and Quebec. His grave is marked by a large monument that maybe seen today, nearly 100 years later.
- Charles Lindbergh landed at Lowry Field on August 31, 1927 on a publicity tour after his historic cross-Atlantic flight.
The Lowry Air Force Based closed in 1994 after graduating more than 1.1 million Armed Forces. The base has since been redeveloped into the lovely, master-planned community we call home today. Several of the original Lowry Air Force Base structures, including some of the aircraft hangars, were creatively repurposed and are still in use, contributing to the rich sense of history we enjoy here in Lowry today.
If you would like to read more about Lowry’s history, we highly recommend this page’s source material. You may also want to peruse the Historic Buildings Photo Album for a look at Lowry’s past and the Historic Buildings Repurposed to see the modern rendition. To view a map of all the historic buildings and to learn more about each of them please visit our Neighborhood Directory by clicking here.
Lowry has more then eighteen pieces of public art, created by artists from across Colorado contributing to the beauty, the history and the culture of Lowry. The Lowry Foundation are the curators of all of the public art in Lowry. Learn more about Lowry’s public art and see photos on the Public Art page.
Lowry Air Force Base: Images of America by Jack Stokes Ballard, John Bond and George Paxton
may be purchased online at Amazon.com, purchased locally at Wings Over the Rockies Museum in Lowry or may be checked-out at Lowry’s Schlessman Public Library.
Lowry: Military Base to New Urban Community by Thomas J. Noel and Chuck Woodward
may be purchased through the Lowry Foundation.
Strategic Air Command – Lowry Air Force Base