Friday, March 16, 2018

Auntie Stone and comfort on the Cache La Poudre

We have come a long way, baby

By Rob Carrigan,

To steal a line from a Loretta Lynn album and old cigarette commercials, "We have come a long way, baby." I wonder what Auntie Stone would have to say?
The average price of homes sold in the Fort Collins, Timnath, Wellington area of Northern Colorado in 2017 was $397,067, according to local real estate experts.
In the early days at Camp Collins, Elizabeth "Anntie" Stone was one of the most beloved figures in the community's history, and a celebrated cook, hostess, and social center of the military camp's life.
The log house, originally built in 1864 near what became Linden and Jefferson Streets, is still in tact in the Heritage Courtyard at 215 Mason Street, where it was finally moved in 1959.
Stone was variously described as the "Belle of the Ball" and attended parties and danced until she was eighty-six.
"Sometimes, she outlasted much younger folks. Widowed at fifty-one, with eight children to support, she married Lewis Stone a few years later and came West, first to Minnesota, then to Denver. She was sixty-three when she came with her husband to Fort Collins to run the boardinghouse for officers at the fort," writes local historian Barbara Allbrandt Flemming in the 1980s.
"Lewis Stone died in 1866, but Elizabeth, undaunted, took part in several successful business ventures while campaigning vigorously against liquor, enjoying parties, and even going camping and fishing at Chambers Lake at the age of seventy-five. In her nineties and in a wheelchair, she cast her first vote," said Flemming.
Edith Bair recalled in oral histories, that when Auntie Stone died in 1895, the firehouse bell tolled 94 times.
After the Camp was closed in 1867, Stone's cabin was moved around in the area several times, and served various purposes.
But Elizabeth "Auntie" Stone will forever be known for the comfort and society she brought to her home and the early outpost.
As relayed in her niece Elizabeth Keay's 1866 diary entry:
"Arrived in Collins last night, found Auntie Stone well, she had a very comfortable home in this country ...  my private room has an ingrain carpet, nice bed, window with sunset view, with hills and the pretty Cache La Poudre."


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mad Bomber of Cripple Creek, considers beer keg bombs, poison in Telluride

Orchard confessed to playing a violent, and ultimately, decisive, role in the Colorado Labor Wars

By Rob Carrigan,
Relating the twisting story of union boss “Big Bill” Haywood recently, it was made clear to me that I mustn’t forget the tale of Harry Orchard, the “Mad bomber of Cripple Creek.” 
But according to Orchard's own "Confessions and Autobiography of Harry Orchard," it all started in Telluride.
It was Harry Orchard’s confession to Pinkerton detective James McParland in February 1906 that tied "Big Bill" Haywood and other union officials to the bombing of Independence rail platform, the bombing deaths of two miners in the Vindicator, and the murder of former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg.
“I awoke, as it were, from a dream, and realized that I’d been made a tool of, aided and assisted by members of the Executive Board of Western Federation Miners. I resolved, as far as in my power, to break up this murderous organization and to protect the community from further assassinations and outrages from this gang,” his confession said.
Orchard’s real name was Albert Horsley and he grew up on an Ontario farm with seven brothers. He was also known to use the alias Thomas Hogan. He left Canada, after several years working in a cheese factory, when he was about 30 years old.
Working eventually in a silver mine in Burke, Idaho, Orchard joined the WFM and was among the thousand or so miners that hijacked a Northern Pacific train and then blew up the Bunker Hill concentrator, killing two men. According to his own admission, he was one of two who placed the dynamite and then lit the fuse.
“Orchard’s career as a paid union terrorist began in 1903 when he blew up the Vindicator mine in Colorado, again killing two men, for a fee of $500,” according a biography by faculty of the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law. “Six months later a bomb planted by Orchard at Independence train depot exploded, killing 13 non-union miners.”
In the same testimony, he also told of unsuccessful efforts to kill the Governor Peabody of Colorado, and two Colorado Supreme Court Justices. Also he admitted additional murders including deputy Lyle Gregory, of Denver, and the attempted poisoning and then successful bombing of Bunker Hill mining manager Fred Bradley in San Francisco.
Oscar King Davis of the New York Times described Orchard’s testimony in the Haywood trial as follows:
“Orchard spoke in a soft, purring voice, marked by a slight Canadian accent, and except for the first few minutes that he was on the stand, he went through his awful story as undisturbed as if he were giving and account of a May Day festival. When he said, ‘and then I shot him,’ his manner and tone were as matter-of-fact as if the words had been ‘and then I bought a drink.”
Orchard was tried and convicted in March 1908 for the murder of former Gov. Frank Steunenberg. He received a death sentence but it was commuted to life in prison by Judge Fremont Wood and the Board of Pardons and he served out his life sentence, raising chickens and growing strawberries, in Idaho State Penitentiary until his death in 1954 at age 87.

Photo above: George Pettibone, Bill Haywood, and Charles Moyer

In Orchard's own autobiography:
"About this time a mob and the militia ran some more of the union men out of Telluride, Col., in the night, and forbade them to return on pain of death. Mover sent for me to come to Denver, so I got ready and went. I met Moyer, Haywood, and Pettibone at Federation headquarters, and they wanted me to go down to the San Juan district with Moyer. They had two pump shot-guns, sawed off so they would go in our grips when they were taken down, and plenty of shells loaded with buck-shot. The reason for this was some one had told Moyer or sent him word if they caught him they would use him as they had the United Mine Workers' officers. Some of the latter had been taken off a train and beaten up and nearly killed. They laid this to the deputies the mine operators had employed," he said.
"The next night Moyer and I started for Montrose, where they had sent John Murphy, the Federation attorney, to get an injunction from Judge Stevens against the militia and citizens of Telluride to compel them to let the union miners return to their homes peaceably and not to interfere with them. We had three six-shooters, and two shot-guns in our grips, which we left unfastened in the seats in front of us, and we sat near the middle of the car; but no one troubled us. We arrived at Montrose and met Mr. Murphy, and he had the injunction all ready. We went on to Ouray, where most of the men were that had been deported, and the next day Moyer sent a telegram to Governor Peabody informing him of the injunction, and wanted to know if these men would have the protection of the militia if they returned peaceably to their homes, and he got an answer that all law-abiding citizens would be protected."
According to Orchard, Moyer said when he sent his telegram to the governor, that he had promised himself that he would never ask him for anything again, and he hated to do it, but this would be the last time. Moyer sent a few men back on the train the next morning, but they were met at a station some distance from Telluride, and forced off the train by militia and armed men, and threatened with death if they attempted to come into town. Sherman Bell, the adjutant-general, had arrived in Telluride, and martial law was declared, and Bell disregarded the order of the court in regard to the injunction.
"After these men were sent back from Telluride, Mr. Moyer was angrier than ever, and he began to advise the men that they could not expect any protection from the State, and the only way was to take the law in their own hands, and go back to Telluride in a body and clean out the town. There were some methods discussed as to the best way to proceed. The first thing that we thought necessary was to get concentrated at the most convenient place, and get what arms and ammunition and other material we would need. We also spoke of filling beer-kegs with dynamite, and attaching a time-fuse, and rolling them down the mountainside into Telluride, as the town was in a caƱon with high mountains on either side. Another plan spoken of by Moyer was to poison the reservoir where they got their water for Telluride with cyanide of potassium. This is easy to get around the mills where they use the cyanide process, and of course it is deadly poison and kills any one taking the least particle of it instantly. But Moyer only started to carry out the first of these plans when he was arrested."
Bell disregarded the injunction. Moyer sent word to Silverton, for Frank Schmelzer, the president of the San Juan district union. He wanted to confer with him about what to do with these men who were deported, Orchard said, as there were about a hundred of them stopping at the hotel at Ouray, and paying about $1 a day there, and he said the Federation could not afford that.
More of these deported men were at Silverton. They decided to lease one or more of the idle mines up at Red Mountain. This is about half-way between Ouray and Silverton on the divide, and not far from Telluride, Another man came down from Red Mountain with Schmelzer; his name was Tom Taylor. He had a partner at Red Mountain, and he said there were some large boarding and lodging-houses there, and he thought there would be no trouble in renting them, as almost everything was silver mines around there and they were closed down on account of the low price of silver.
"The object of getting this out-of-the-way place was to have some place to concentrate the men and keep them together, and this place was just where they wanted them, and the lease was all a bluff. The real object was to send these men up there and arm them all, get a car or two of provisions, and send all the outlaws they could get hold of up there, too," Orchard wrote.
He said they also wanted to get Telluride union leader Vincent St. John to go up there and drill these men. "These men were mostly all foreigners—Austrians, Finns, and Italians. They thought if they could get enough men up here in this out-of-the-way place, and have them well armed, and keep them there until the snow got settled in the spring so they could walk on it, some night they could march them over the hill to Telluride and clean out the town. This was the plan, but it was not told except to a very few, and they were well satisfied with it."
"But the morning that we might have finished up and left later in the day, before we got up, the sheriff rapped at the door and wanted to see Moyer. I was sleeping with Moyer, and we got up and dressed, and when we went out the sheriff arrested him. He said they had wired him from Telluride to hold Moyer, and that the sheriff from San Miguel County was on his way with a warrant. Moyer wired his attorneys at Denver and wanted to know if the sheriff at Ouray had any right to hold him without a warrant. I think they told him he had; anyway, he did hold him, and about noon the sheriff and two deputies arrived and took him to Telluride. Moyer had given me some papers and his six-shooter before the sheriff from Telluride arrived, and the Ouray sheriff did not search him or lock him up, but let him stay in his office. The charge they arrested him on was desecration of the American flag. The Federation had sent out by the thousands posters imitating the American flag, with advertising on them. They only arrested Moyer on this as an excuse. They took him to Telluride, and he was released on bail, but the militia re-arrested him right away," according to Orchard.
"I left Ouray that night and went to Silverton with Schmelzer to escape arrest, and Moyer telephoned me from Telluride in a day or so, and wanted me to fetch his things and meet him at Durango, but before we got through talking they cut us off. He was telephoning me just after he was let out on bonds, and while he was talking they cut off the connection, and the militia arrested him right afterward and held him for over three months. That was the last I saw of him for nearly a year.
I stayed at Silverton a few days, and then went back to Denver and reported to Haywood. The lawyers from Denver had gone to Telluride in the mean time, but they could not get Moyer out, as the militia held him under military necessity. A few days after he was arrested, Sheriff Rutan of Telluride came to Denver to arrest Haywood on the same charge, but Haywood blocked his plans by getting a friend in Denver to swear out a warrant on the same charge, and a justice in Denver that was friendly to him put him in the custody of the deputy sheriff, who stayed with him all the time; and he had his case continued from time to time.

Albert E. Horsley, Alias "Harry Orchard"
Albert Edward Horsley, who throughout his life he used many aliases,  including Harry Orchard, Thomas Hogan, Demsey and Goglan, was a one-time mine owner.
In 1897, Harry Orchard, along with August Paulsen, Harry Day, May Arkwright, butcher F.M. Rothrock, lawyer Henry F. Samuels and C.H. Reeves, invested in the Hercules silver mine in Idaho.  A decade later, Orchard's ownership of a share in the mine would be used in an effort to impeach his testimony in a murder trial. 
By 1899, Orchard was among the thousand miners who hijacked a Northern Pacific train on April 29, 1899 and then blew up the Bunker Hill concentrator, killing two men.  Orchard was one of the miners who planted the dynamite and lit a fuse.  Six months later a bomb planted by Orchard at an Independence, Colorado train depot exploded, killing 13 non-union miners. 
In his testimony, Orchard also told of other planned killings that for one reason or another did not succeed, all ordered, he claimed by Haywood and Pettibone.  Among the unsuccessful efforts were the assassination of the Governor and two Supreme Court justices of Colorado and the president of the Bunker Hill Mining Company.  The reason for Orchard's life of union terrorism is not entirely clear, but was most likely the result of a combination of factors--anger at mine operators and scabs, union loyalty and greed.
According to "The Third Millenium Online," and other sources, Harry Orchard was a complex individual who apparently had sought opportunity working for both sides in labor disputes.  
"Orchard confessed to playing a violent, and ultimately, decisive, role in the Colorado Labor Wars.  During the Haywood trial Orchard confessed to serving as a paid informant for the Mine Owners Association.  He reportedly told a companion G.L. Brokaw, that he had been a Pinkerton employee for some time.  He was also a bigamist, and admitted to abandoning wives in Canada and Cripple Creek.  He had burned businesses for the insurance money in Cripple Creek and Canada.  Orchard had burglarized a railroad depot, rifled a cash register, stole sheep, and had made plans to kidnap children over a debt.  He also sold fraudulent insurance policies.  Orchard's confession to McParland took responsibility for seventeen or more murders," it was reported.
Orchard also tried to help McParland build a case by implicating one of his fellow miners from the WFM, Steve Adams, as an accomplice.  The effort failed, but it revealed interesting details about the methods McParland used to induce defendants to turn state's evidence."

 James P. McParland

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Saw marks on the area's lumber

Mills cut a swath through local industry narrative

By Rob Carrigan,

Railroad building and general development in the Denver and Colorado Springs area has made logging in this area at least a century-old tradition. Early mills in the Forest and at Husted, Perry Park, and on Cherry Creek, date back to days of Pikes Peak Gold Rush in the early 1860s.
General William Jackson Palmer's construction and planning of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad accelerated the process. Interestingly, if you look at early 1900-era photos, you will notice the level of logging operations along the Palmer Divide.
Palmer established the Colorado Pinery Trust in 1870. Logging in the Black Forest, or Pinery, reached its height in the summer of 1870 and eventually more than one billion feet of lumber was removed to provide ties for the Kansas Pacific, Denver and Rio Grande and New Orleans Railroads, and lumber for projects along the tracks.
Black Forest, a very prosperous land, thick with trees in the mid-1800s; and railroads, with a need for lumber to supply growing towns along the tracks, were soon dotted by sawmills on the landscape.
Those who owned saw mills prospered, especially General William Jackson Palmer, who once owned most of Black Forest known at that time as the Pinery.
“General Palmer bought a huge amount of land out there. He bought it for $2 an acre,” Judy von Ahlefeldt, author of “Thunder, Sun and Snow: The History of Colorado’s Black Forest,” said.
In 1860, Robert Finley came to Black Forest and brought in the first sawmill operation. The sawmill industry lasted well into the 1960s. The sawmills also operated in outlying areas of Black Forest, including Spring Creek, Husted, Table Rock, Eastonville and Monument. In 1970 von Ahlefeldt moved to Black Forest and remembers a sawmill that was still up and running.
In her book von Ahlefeldt talks about the different sawmills. Jerome Weir and business partner Judd bought the Finley mill in 1863. According to an article in the Douglas County News dated June 23, 1966 the very first post office in Eastonville was located in the Weir sawmill. In 1865 Calvin Husted started his mill on Monument Creek near Husted while Philip P. Gomer established Gomer’s Mill northeast of Eastonville on Kiowa Creek.
Gomer’s Mill was a major supplier of timber to the Kansas Pacific Railroad which was located north east of Black Forest according to von Ahlefeldt’s book. She goes on to say that Palmer was director of construction for the railroad but had plans to start his own railroad and would need timber for that. In 1869 he formed the Colorado Pinery Trust Company and purchased more than 43,000 acres of land in Elbert and El Paso Counties.
Another big mill operation came in 1917 and that was the Edgar Lumber and Box Company. A majority of the saw mills according to von Ahlefeldt’s book were located in Black Forest.
H.C. Blakely owned a saw mill north of Monument, possibly in Palmer Lake, in 1875. Someone by the name of Huddle owned a mill in Monument in the early 1900s, according to von Ahlefeldt’s book, but no details are given. Rogers Davis, museum director for the Lucretia Vaile Museum in Palmer Lake, said one well known family from Monument owned a saw mill.
“The Schubarth family had one but no one knows specifically where it was,” Davis said, adding that Schubarth most likely had a portable saw mill.
“Schubarth had a portable set-up. He would go where the timber was,” confirmed Jim Sawatzki, local filmmaker.
Sawatzki said a well-known saw mill in the area was owned by D.C. Oakes.
Oakes saw mill was northeast of Larkspur. He was one of the earliest sawmills,” Sawatzki said. “Wood from his mill built some of the early structures in Denver. He was a very early pioneer, an interesting figure.
According to the Larkspur Historical Society Daniel Cheeseman Oakes set-up his saw mill in 1859 in Douglas County in an area called Riley’s Gulch. His saw mill also housed a post office and was washed away in the flood of 1864.
In her book von Ahlefeldt lists a G.W. Higby mill and in “History Colorado, Volume Four” authored by Wilbur Fiske Stone he mentions a J.W. Higby who bought 1,640 acres near Monument and erected a number of sawmills. Wood from his saw mills provided 50,000 railroad ties for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company. It is not known if the two were related or not.
When white men began to settle the region in the late 1850's the Black Forest became an important center of activity, primarily as a source of scarce timber. The first of what would be several dozen sawmills was constructed in 1860. Lumber and mine props were supplied to build Colorado Springs and Denver. Logging in the Pineries reached its height in the summer of 1870 when over 700 teamsters and 1,000 lumberjacks and tie hacks were employed, mostly for railway work. More than one billion board feet of lumber were removed to provide ties for the Kansas Pacific, Denver and Rio Grande and New Orleans Railroads.
"The larger area traditionally known as the Pineries extended from Divide, (in Teller County), through the present planning area and east along the Platte-Arkansas Divide to a point where the Ponderosa Pines thinned out. Altogether the Pineries encompassed a 1,000 square mile area. Although the origin of the name is not clear, that portion of the Pineries north of Colorado Springs became known as the "Black Forest" by around the turn of the century.
"Arrowheads and charcoal pits provide evidence that the planning area was occupied by Native Americans at least 800 years ago. The first known inhabitants were the Ute and Commanche Indians. The dense Ponderosa Pines provided them with protection, fuel, and timber for lodgepoles. These tribes were displaced by the Kiowas around 1800. Almost 40 years later the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes joined forces to drive out the Kiowas and become the last Native Americans to inhabit the area," according to History information from the Black Forest Preservation Plan, a document first developed in 1974 by the El Paso County Planning Commission, and updated several times since. 
"Although lumbering continued sporadically through the 1950's, farming and ranching had become the dominant activities by the 1880's. A wide variety of crops were raised including, cattle, sheep, alfalfa, wheat, corn, hay and beans. Potatoes, however, were the agricultural product for which the Black Forest area became most renown. Agricultural productivity was subject to boom and bust cycles with crops often ruined by drought, floods, hail, blizzards, or grasshoppers. The drought of the 1920's and the Depression of the 1930's combined to eliminate most types of agriculture in the planning area. By the 1920's the area was mostly consolidated into large ranches. Some of these remain today," according to Black Forest Preservation Plan information.
Several towns and settlements dotted the planning area at one time or another during its history. The largest and most long-lived of these was the Town of Eastonville. Eastonville (actually located just to the east of the planning area) was begun in the early 1880's as a stop on the C & S Railroad. Its population peaked at about 400 in 1910 and was already in decline when the railroad ceased operations in 1935. Today only a few remnants of the once thriving townsite remain.
"In the forest itself, modern subdivision had a fitful start in the 1920's when Dreamland and Brentwood Country Clubs were organized. Although these ventures were not particularly successful, they did represent the beginning of what would become a significant summer home market in the planning area. A boom in year-round subdivisions took place in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Most of the planning area was zoned for five acre minimum lot sizes in 1965," the plan notes.
Primarily in response to plans for a major transportation corridor through the eastern portion of the planning area, residents and County staff initiated work on a comprehensive land use plan in the early 1970's. The result of this effort was adoption of the Black Forest Preservation Plan in 1974. While this plan recommended rural-residential uses for most of the planning area, it also delineated several large areas for mixed urban uses. The largest of these was in the southeast where the new "city" of Latigo would later be proposed.
The Black Forest Fire in June of 2013, and related mitigation efforts, re-focused attention on the nearby logging operations.
Bob Olson, who lives in the Black Forest area himself, set up his modern answer on Jim Maguire's property on State Highway 105 in Monument, in the form of his WoodMizer portable sawmill. The mill looks something like a big bandsaw and automates some of the complicated setup with its high-tech operation. Logs from a house lot down on Old Ranch Road, areas in the burn area, and locations in Woodmoor, as well other areas, all contributed to a week's cut and mill process. The Maguire property milling operation was abuzz once again in 2013.
Other sawing operations have been working on Jim Maguire's property since that time.
And continued plans for buildings produced the from lumber are ongoing.
A stage stop log cabin 18 feet by 16 feet, dedicated to recalling the losses suffered by some in the Black Forest Fire, was one of those structures. Some salvageable, but slightly burned logs, originated in the burn area and 44 timbers, seven inches by 10 inches, were milled for the structure.
"This place is part of an old homestead," says Maguire. "And a stage at one time was the only way of getting here before the rails."
Then, of course, the rails were among the main reasons for the lumber operations.

Photo Information:
1. The D.C. Oakes Sawmill in Huntsville, near Larkspur (Douglas County), was one of the earliest sawmill operations.

2. D.C. Oakes was one of the founders of Denver, and may have been of the most hated men of his time by the gold prospectors who failed to become rich taking his advice from his “Pike’s Peak Guide and Journal.”
3. Charlie Shubarth's  steam-driven tractor was probably used to also power a portable sawmill in the Monument and Palmer Lake areas.
4. Higby's Store in 1900, was owned by Gene Higby, and he also owned a sawmill at this time. Higbys owned several mills in the area in early days of Monument, Larkspur and Greenland.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Just water over the dam

Along a river's banks, streams change course

 I struggle sometimes, putting things back together in my head, but enjoy the exercise so much, I tend to travel there. Maybe it is a bad habit, or a good one. Maybe it is just water over the dam. But it certainly enchants the murky, mental, muddy water in a morning's wanderings. We become what we do over and over again — try to remember stuff and tell a story about it.  L.M. Montgomery wrote in The Story Girl that “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”


Over on Eighth Street in Dolores, one block over from where I grew up, at the corner of Central (or Main Street at time) the Highway 145 Drive-In had pink naugahyde thrones around a aluminum edged formica counter up front in the kitchen area. That generally was not what you remembered, but the soft-serve cones, and the French fries, and even the burgers, somehow made a lasting impression on a kid eight, nine, ten... years old at the time.
Seems like there also was knotty-pine paneled walls in adjoining room, slightly larger, with rickety tables, and marginal western art on the wall. Two entrances on the white-sided exterior, one on the corner and a side entrance opening into the paneled 'dining area,' defined what kind of customer you were, I guess.
It has been a long time, but even a kid that age could sometimes scrounge enough pocket change from selling coke bottles, or digging in sofa cushions, to afford the soft serve. Maybe you had wait for a cub scout special meeting, or some other trouble, to eat burgers and fries in the dinning room served by a harried high school waitress, between coffee top-offs at the counter.
The place was later a print shop, and maybe other things, but for me, memories gravitate to that restaurant of yesteryear. Other locations fade in and out — lap at banks on the water's edge.


Water, especially river water, is an odd, driving force and difficult to explain. It keeps moving and changing, defying a written representation, or account of a person. Along its banks, structures, life and times all change with it.
The whole town moved. Big Bend to Dolores. Picked up its buildings, and life and times and relocated a couple miles up river. Harris Bros. Mercantile, (later to become Taylor Hardware) migrated to meet the railroad. Memories relocated. Dreams re-evaluated. Streams changed course.


"Members of the Montezuma Valley Irrigation District were discouraged by the continued bankruptcy of the district and the poor service and maintenance but surprisingly their spirits lifted with the beginning of the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company in 1920. Charlie Porter, a director of the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company, summed up the situation, says Maureen Gerhold, in The River of Sorrows: The History of the Lower Dolores River Valley.
"It wasn't set up to make enough money to pay the toll, so up 'till 1920 it was a history of little companies going broke, farmers not doing well enough to pay their ditch companies and they needed water everywhere. They formed more companies and borrowed more money and went into default, and it was in the 1920's before our ditch companies got on a decent basis at all," Gerhold quotes Porter.
"Settlement of the Montezuma Valley in southwestern Colorado was made possible in the 1880's by the construction of the Montezuma Valley irrigation system. Organized by James W. Hanna, the system consisting of a tunnel (5,400 feet long), "Great Cut," siphons and wooden flumes channeled water from the Dolores River through a steep divide. The system constitutes one of the earliest large scale, privately funded and continuously operating irrigation projects in the Southwest, Gerhold writes.
Though diversion of the river began long before.
Dry as we were, for centuries, folks tried to get water to a place where it could be used effectively.
"The crude stone terraces or check dams of the Anasazi cliff dwellers, the first to practice irrigation in this area, can still be seen in Mesa Verde National Park. The Navajos also used a primitive form of irrigation to adapt to the climate and geography.  In 1852 the Mexican American settlers in the San Luis Valley began the oldest continuously operating irrigation system in Colorado," notes Gerhold.


Years ago, the raft races dropped down near the old dam and rafters struggled down there, I recall. The old headgate mechanism was of interest to a youngster, with gears, and cogs and wheels that would make any steampunk proud. 
Not far from the shadow of ol' Blue Robinson's barn, the canal meandered, and the old steel bridge crossed the the river at the bottom of Ritter Hill. The lizards and a few rattlers sunned themselves on the flat layers of rocks in the pinion and juniper near the top as you descended the hill. Sometimes you could point them out with your chocolate-covered fingers, on the rocks from the road, through the rolled-down windows, of a car freshly stocked with candy bars and Cokes from the Three Cornered Store. 
The pot-bellied stove in the store had been surrounded by loafers in overalls, trying to remember stuff, or make up new stories — if they struggled to put it together correctly in their heads. Perhaps, it was a good habit, or a bad one. Along a river's banks, streams change course. Structures, life and times all change with it.
Maybe it was just water over the dam. We become what we do over and over again. Nothing is lost if we remember it.

 By Rob Carrigan,

Photo info:
1. Big Bend, about 1887.
2. Headgate mechanism controlled intake to tunnel.
3. Cement structure replaced wooden diversion stucture about 1949.
4. The barn at the old Ritter ranch.
5. Andy Pleasant and myself, on a makeshift raft near the river in Dolores.
6. The original wooden headgate in Dolores River valley.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mysterious county park inspires imagination


Tucked away in the northeast corner

By Rob Carrigan,

The Paint Mines, just a short distance (about a mile) from Calhan, in the northeast part of El Paso County, seems like the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery.
The landscape is surreal, windblown, a little desperate, and above all else — mysterious.
I can just imagine one of C.J. Box's characters uttering something like: "Nothing spells trouble like two drunk cowboys with a rocket launcher.”
Or perhaps, something from Tony Hillerman:
"You notice anything about the skeletons?” Leaphorn was squatting now in the shallow trench, examining bones. “Somebody seemed to be interested in the jawbones,” Chee said.
It is the kind of country that inspires. Natural, beautiful, and able to hold its own in a fight — with more than a little bit of its own crazed sort of meanness.
 "The landscape has fascinated people for thousands of years, and continues so to this day. Located on the Colorado eastern plain, the area transitions from wetland, to short-grass prairie, to badland topographies," says History Colorado (the state historical association.)
"Wildlife seem to enjoy the surroundings as much as humans do – mule deer, coyote, falcons, hawks and an adventuresome mountain lion or two have been spotted there. Archaeological investigation, funded through a State Historical Fund grant, has substantiated prehistoric and historic American Indian occupation as evidenced by the finding of stone dart tips, arrow heads, and petrified wood used in tool manufacturing.  The local clay was mined for use in ceremonial paint as well as pottery making.  A homestead site within the boundary confirms the use of the property by Euro-American settlers in the 1800’s.  The significance of the site has led to the designation of the Calhan Paint Mines Archaeological District by the National Park Service.  Used by hikers, birdwatchers and as an outdoor laboratory by geology students, the site has come under the protection of the El Paso County Parks Department.  A recent State Historical Fund grant has gone toward funding a master plan to balance the legitimate public uses and to address threats such as “pot hunting” and vandalism," History Colorado says.
 Over time, the State Historical Fund has awarded $82,000 to the El Paso County Parks Department for archaeological survey and master planning at the Calhan Paint Mines.
"Located in the northeast section of the County near Calhan with approximately 750 acres. The paint mines have evidence of human life as far back as 9,000 years ago. The colorful clays were used by Native Americans. The park features fantastic geological formations including spires and hoodoos that were formed through erosive action that created incised gullies and exposed layers of seienite clay and jasper. The park includes a restroom facility, four miles of trails, interpretive signage, and many natural wonders," says El Paso County. Though, in a cruel nod to the mystery of the place, the restrooms are not always open.  Parking can fill up as well.
"The unique geological formations and colorful clays have been attracting visitors for thousands of years. Early archaeological evidence of Native American use at the site dates back over 9,000 years. Because of these valuable archeological resources within the park,  the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said Justin Henderson, in the a Parks Management Plan for El Paso County in 2010, when the county first acquired the responsibility for managing the park.
"In addition to these cultural resources, the park also features many natural and recreational resources. The Badland geology of the site has led to erosive forces that have cut deep gullies in the surrounding hills, exposing clay while at the same time creating amazing geological formations called hoodoos and spires. The grasslands and prairie provide a natural setting for the Park on the Front Range, which is experiencing tremendous growth and sprawl. Through a partnership with the Palmer Land Trust, sections of the Park are protected under a conservation easement. These natural geological features and open prairie landscapes attract visitors to the Park, and are a valuable scenic as well as recreational resource for the community. Only a thirty-five minute drive from downtown Colorado Springs, Paint Mines provides a uniquely different park experience for residents of El Paso County," noted Henderson, at the time.
To me, it is still a mystery that more people don't know about this place.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Difficulties at the saloon locally

'I'm hanging John Barley Corn'

By Rob Carrigan,

Ernest Hemingway often said he drank to make other people more interesting. A little more than 100 years ago, it became increasing difficult to get a drink here in Colorado.  And here in Monument ...
Well, off and on, between the Whiskey men and temperance — it was interesting.

“In 1912, an amendment to prevent the manufacture and sale of liquor was submitted to the electorate,” wrote Carl Ubbelohde, Maxine Benson and Duane A. Smith in A Colorado History.

“The voters defeated the proposal. But that defeat stirred the various groups to common action. Submerging their differences, they sponsored another amendment two years later. This time the voters answered the question of ratification affirmatively, approving an experiment in social engineering, despite a two-to-one rejection of the amendment in Denver. The ‘wet’ forces in the capital city threatened to use the new ‘home rule’ prerogatives of the city to escape the effect o the law, but on Jan 1, 1916, prohibition became the rules in Denver and all of Colorado.”

Colorado was joined by six other states, (Iowa, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arkansas, and South Carolina) at that stroke of midnight as 1500 saloons across the state, 500 hotels, restaurant and drugstores stopped selling, and 12 beer breweries closed.

Locally, here in Monument, liquor and bad characters seemed to go hand in hand.

Lucillle Lavelett documented it this way in "Through the Years at Monument" and "Monument's Faded Neighbor Communities and Its Folk Lore."

"Monument always had its saloons and whiskey men. Two murders were committed in Limbach saloon. A feud between Daniel Davidson and Francis Brown developed over a cattle transaction, each accused the other of stealing cattle, On Oct. 21, 1876, they met in the saloon and exchanged words. Davidson drew his pistol and shot Brown twice. Brown died almost instantly.

"He is buried in the Monument Cemetery, and his stone reads: 'He was killed.' A trial was held in February, 1877. The jury found Davidson guilty. His lawyers obtained a writ of supersedeos and he was released on bond of $5,000. Almost three years of litigation followed. The second trial began on Feb. 13, 1880 and on Feb, 21, Davidson was found not guilty. He was elected to the Town Board in 1881 and Davidson was the promoter of the ordinance passed prohibiting the shooting of firearms in town, and increasing liquor licenses $300 per year," Lavelett wrote.

"The second murder committed in a saloon was a feud between Rube Pribble and a Mr. Neff.  Mr. Pribble accused Neff of stealing a plow from him. Mr. Pribble shot and killed Neff. On Sunday morning when he was shown Neff's body, his only words were, "I have killed my best friend."

Pribble was found guilty and sentenced to life in the penitentiary. On the second trial it was brought out Neff had not stolen the plow but a third party had, and hid it in the barn. Pribble, this time was sentenced to 25 years, but died of pneumonia in a short time," reported Lavelett.

With prohibition, many saloons became lunch counters and soft drink fountains and for the first time, women (other than those working the saloons) were welcomed.

In Monument, however, Limbach's Saloon became a pool hall operated by Bob Burell for a few years, starting in 1916, on the east side of Front Street. Saloons already had periodically faced challenges here in town.

"The license fee to sell liquor in 1897 was $500. The town had a very active Women's Christian Temperance Union (W.C. T.U.) There was always battles going on between Temperance folks and Whiskey men," Lavelett wrote.

"The Whiskey men usually won every town election, except in April 1896. That year Ordinance No. 33 was passed prohibiting selling liquor in town. The W.C.T.U. folks sent a thank you resolution to Board Members to be written in the minutes. Evidently the Whiskey men gave the Temperance a bad time for it. One by one, Temperance resigned, until Whiskey got power again and Ordinance No. 36 repealed Ordinance No. 33, and the saloons were open again. One W.C.T.U. lady would gather up the whiskey bottles and hang them by the neck on her fence and put up a sign saying 'I am hanging John Barley Corn.'"

It had been an ongoing battle, according to Lavelett.

As early as  1881, the Monument Saloon was fined for keeping the window shades down on Sunday.

"Monument did not have a "peeping Tom" but there was a woman that lived in town who was very much opposed to saloons, and she was named 'peeping Sal.' She wanted to know who the men were who spent their evenings at the saloon, so she could give their wives a bad time. Most every night, she would go peek in the windows of the saloon, and several times the men had seen her."

Peeping Sal was known for disappearing down a narrow, one-way passage between the saloon and another nearby building, when spotted and she then remained in hiding. Reportedly, she was cured of the habit by saloon patrons pretending to be oblivious, urinating out of second story window into the hiding place.

"That was the cure for the peeping and the end of the sarcastic remarks to the ladies who husbands went to the saloon," Lavelett reported.

Photo Information:
1. Bob Burrel's Pool Hall, about 1917, man with the hat unknown, man with cap John Pribble.

2. Limbach Saloon, circa 1885.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Originally Woodland Park CCC Camp builds roads, fights fire, manages floods and more

Work leads to improved physical condition, 

heightened morale, and increased employability

 Saylor Park, described as a beautiful spot fourteen miles north and east of Woodland Park, and approximately eight miles west of Palmer Lake — on what was then the largest national forest in the country, the Pike — was the location of formation. Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Company 1819, later to become Camp F-14-C, was organized here starting June 26, 1933.
"Instead of finding neatly constructed barracks already prepared for them, the men were given tents to erect, and until these were erected the men slept in the open at an altitude of 9,000 feet," reported a 1938 history of the CCC. "The first few weeks, meals were served in the open under an Aspen tree, with no shelter to protect the men from rain or wind, during meal time."
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried, men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments.
The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. At the same time, it implemented a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Over the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month, ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).
"A number of projects were started shortly after the camp had been constructed and organized to some extent. Timber stand improvement was perhaps the major project undertaken the first summer. A side camp was established at the Monument Nursery doing nursery work and a road was constructed from Woodland Park to the camp," according to CCC records.
"Early in November of 1933, due to the high altitude and existing weather conditions, the company moved to Manitou Springs, for the winter months."
During that winter, road work began on an important project.
"A purposed road project from Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs up over Bald Mountain by way of Williams Canyon to connect with Mount Herman Road a few miles North of Woodland Park," was described. "This project has been name and designated as the 'Rampart Range Road.'"
Also, at about the same time, work began on a series of flood control dams on Fountain Creek in Ute Pass above Manitou Springs. In the process, a number o model relief maps were made in the camp, that were used for years later, and even today, in the Pikes Peak region.
"On June 1, 1934, the main camp was moved back to Saylor Park for the summer and construction was started on a road north from Saylor Park to Devils Head. Several other projects as rodent control, timber stand improvement, and fence and trail construction, were carried on during the summer.  A side camp composed of from sixty to eighty men had been left in Manitou Springs to continue to work on Dams "One" and "Four." A side camp was also maintained at the Monument Nursery doing nursery work," records indicate.
But just as Norman Maclean, the great writer of forests and men sent into them, noted, “time was just a hangover from the past with no present meaning.”
"Due to the severe drought during the summer of 1934, a great fire hazard was created. The later part of June the entire company was ordered out on a fire known as the "Tarryall Fire," on the Tarryall range of mountains. At altitudes of ten and and eleven thousand feet, in the most rugged part of the mountains, fire fighting was extremely dangerous. During the fire, men worked from eighteen to twenty hours per shift, with occasionally no meals, and the best bed one could secure consisted of one or two blankets with the nearest tree for shelter," according the CCC history written in 1938.
"On Memorial Day of 1935, one of the worst floods known in the Pikes Peak region took place in Colorado Springs. Immediately the entire company was taken to Colorado Springs to aid the flood victims to safety, and later help guard property and regulate traffic. A good many of the victims were housed and fed in the camp until they could be cared for otherwise."
In the summer of 1935, Camp 1819 headquartered at Manitou Springs, and a new side camp of nearly fifty men at Watson Park worked on Devils Head fire lookout. Another side camp continued work at the Monument Nursery through the summer, and a crew of about 100 men worked from the main camp tasked with flood control in the Ute Pass area.
"In early fall of 1935, the Jackson Creek side camp moved to Manitou Springs, and had by this time broken through with the Devils Head road to the Denver Highway," said CCC records.
"The Monument side camp remained at the Monument Nursery all winter. Work at the nursery consisted of mulching the tree beds and clearing another plot of ground which made the nursery twice as large and necessitated an increase in men at that side camp to take care of additional work. During the winter months another side camp was maintained at Woodland Park doing timber survey work in that area. As the first month of 1936 had slipped by, the series of flood control dams in the Ute Pass has been completed. Dam 'Eight' at Crystola being the last. After the completion of the dams, all men went to work on the 'Rampart Range Road.'"
In the summer of 1936, and on through the year, the camp continued to grow its presence at the Monument Nursery, and another side camp was working at Glen Cove, and others doing timber survey work in the Woodland Park area. During the winter of '36 and '37, men from main camp concentrated on finishing the lower portion of Rampart Range Road.
The side camp work continued during next years, with the establishment of sewer system at Glen Cove, additional participation in work at the Monument Nursery, with the eventual re-establishment of Company 3810 from Texas at Monument. The main camp moved out of Manitou Springs eventually back to its former home of Company F-64-C in Saylor Park and three side camps continued to operate, by 1938.
"Since its inception in June 1933, nearly eleven hundred-fifty men have been enrolled or transferred into the company. Of that number, more than nine hundred men have returned to civilian life in thirteen state. During the more than five years of its life, the company has been station within fifty miles of its birthplace at Saylor Park, Colorado. A great deal of valuable work has been completed which will long stand as a monument to the unstinted efforts of all members of the enrolled and supervisory personnel."
The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. An individual's enrollment in the CCC was said to lead to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.

Photo information:
1. Workers of CCC Company F-64-C canting timber.
2. Building roads was a big part of the local efforts.
3. Replanting trees without modern equipment was labor intensive.
4. August 8, 1934 call to muster, at CCC camp near Monument Rock.