The park belongs to the City of Colorado Springs – it was a gift of the children of Charles Elliott Perkins, a railroad owner. A sign in the park tells: “The Garden of the Gods – Given to The City of Colorado Springs in 1909 by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins In fulfillment of his wish that it shall be kept forever free to the public.”
Garden of the Gods was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1972. Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, located within the Park, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The site which is now the ‘Garden of the Gods’ was discovered in the mid 1800’s when surveyors were looking for a townsite because the gold rush brought people and business to the area of South Park / Pikes Peak. Melancthon Sayre Beach, an early pioneer of the Pikes Peak region, when seeing the red sandstone rocks formations, was thinking that would be an ideal place for a beer garden. A friend of him, Rufus Cable, supposingly said “Beer Garden? Why? This is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” That’s how the name was coined.