Sunday, December 14, 2014

Miners' Union Hall somewhat disfigured, but still in the ring









In July, after a being struck by lightning, the historic Miners' Union Hall in Victor was nearly destroyed in a fire that started around 2 p.m. July 26. Fire crews from Victor, Cripple Creek, Four Mile, Divide and Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District helped battle the blaze this summer.
Barbara McMillan owns the building and began restoring it once again in October. Built in 1899, after the devastating fire that destroyed much of the town of Victor, the union hall is a critical piece of the town’s history.
On Monday, June 6, 1904, the Union Hall first found it's place in history when two men were killed, three others were gravely wounded, in the lot below the Gold Coin shaft house across from the Union Hall.
A fight broke out that afternoon as Clarence Hamlin, of the Mine Owner's Association called for chasing "these W.F.M scoundrels out of the district," after the bombing of the Independence train platform killing 13 non-union miners that morning, and injuring at least a dozen more. What began as fist fight, escalated into gunfire and some of the fire seemed to have come from the windows of the Union Hall.
"The militiamen surrounded the Union Hall. Sheriff Ed Bell and Postmaster Danny Sullivan entered the club and told the W.F.M. members to come out," wrote Marshall Sprague, in "Money Mountain."
They refused, he reported and "The militiamen aimed their rifles and poured volley after volley into the rooms, wounding four men. The rest surrendered and were led off by the militia. Berserk civilians rushed into Union Hall, wrecked the walls, smashed furniture, ripped curtains, and destroyed membership ledgers. Afterwards, this gang and other gangs roamed the gold camp for W.FM. members and wrecked every union hall and union store. About two hundred men were imprisoned."
Altogether 225 union members were loaded on trains and deported under guard to Kansas and New Mexico locations.
Because of the dynamiting of the Independence, the W.F.M. became extremely unpopular, and mine owners were able to force them out of the district, according to Sprague.
Years later, the Union Hall served a different, yet noteworthy, purpose.
Margaret Whitehill Geddes, in her book Gold Camp Indian Summer, recalls her husband Kenneth being named the new high school principal of Victor in the late1920s. Kenneth and Margaret later became publishers of the Cripple Creek Times-Record, a merger of the Cripple Creek Times and the Victor Record newspapers and an ancestor of the Pikes Peak Courier.
"He was not only the new principal, but we were to have the apartment in Miners' Union building which had been recently remodeled (roughly) to be used as a gymnasium," wrote Geddes.
"Oh that apartment! The second floor of the building was reached by a long staircase with swinging doors halfway up. On the right at the top were tow doors, one leading to the kitchen, one to the dining room. In front of these were the bedroom and living room. Glass partitions divided the dining room and living room, and the kitchen and the bedroom. Each room was square and there were full length windows in the two front rooms. The windows had been replaced but the marks of the bullets of the miners' strike in 1904 were still showing in the bricks and plaster around them," Geddes wrote.
"Outside the apartment a hall led to the big auditorium, sometimes gym, with a stage at one end. The auditorium was heated two stoves at the far end. Two boys came after school to make the fires. Soon after I'd hear the clump clump of feet on those steep stairs as the basketball boys came up for practice. (Not until later was there a football team, and basketball went on for most of the school year)," Geddes said.
"Besides the games, at least twice a year there were plays staged in the auditorium," she noted.
"The plays produced were not the cheap no-royalty shows, but productions that had been successes on the Broadway stage, probably some time before, but legitimate hits, and they were popular and drew good crowds. The Victor Opera house sadly had been torn down about two years before and people said they appreciated having something to take its place, even if it was only a high school play with local young people taking the parts."
After the lightning strike and the fire this year, McMillan expressed dismay and sorrow, citing not only the potential loss but the lack of funds. “I’m out of money,” she said in July.
In October, however, McMillan submitted a plan to the city to start the cleanup and remodel.
The plan includes repairing holes in the wall, removing the flashing as well as the unstable and damaged bricks. “They’re going to monitor that to make sure the walls aren’t moving,” said Deb Downs, Victor’s city manager.
Soon after McMillan submitted the plan, the contractor, Daniel Halbrook Masonry, pulled permits from the city and started work Oct 3. 

Photos: #1 Front, after fire on July 26, 2014. #2 This photo of the Western Federation Miners Union Hall in Victor was taken just a few months before fire nearly destroyed the building in July. #3 Historic photo of the Union Hall early in the 20th Century. #Historic photo taken shortly after it was built. #4 Back of the building after the recent fire. #5 Front window after July fire. Bullet holes are still visible from the 1904 strike violence.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lessons learned, and same as it ever was





When the first editions of USA Today hit the streets in the fall of 1982, I was taking my first college journalism classes. Many of my professors in J-school made fun of it — initially.
Al Neuharth, chairman of Gannett at the time, and the father of "Nations's paper," recalled a less-than-warm reception.
"Most media critics brushed us off quickly. Linda Ellerbee, then a popular late-night news commentator on NBC, paraphrased our "non-smudge" ink promotion with this sarcastic comment: "USA TODAY doesn't rub off on your hands or your mind." Many critics compared us to McDonald's, as the "fast food of journalism."
Neuharth, however was vindicated and the paper, by its 30th birthday, had the largest print circulation in the country and second largest total circulation at 1,817,446 (1,701,777 print and 115,669 digital). It trailed "The Wall Street Journal's"  2,118,315 (1,566,027 print and 552,288 digital) at the time.
As Neuharth noted in 2012, "The fact is more people across the USA and around the world want more news and information today than ever before. They also want it in different ways — in print, on the air, on the Web. As long as news providers give it to them when they want it, where they want it and how they want it, they not only will survive but also thrive. That includes newspapers, if they also adapt to new ways of distributing the news, which they generally gather more professionally than any other media."
Always, there is the struggle for relevance. In the San Juans of Colorado (where I grew up) the arrival of a newspaper meant the town had also arrived. Creede, for example, in the 1890s started out with four newspapers. Telluride had as many six papers operating in the heyday. And locally, there was as many as seven different papers practicing the craft in Cripple Creek District, at least two of them as daily publications. But, just as today, nothing is guaranteed. 
"Rico, for instance, during the first twenty years of its life had ten different newspapers, only one lasting longer than six years, " notes John L. Ninneman and Duane Smith in their recent book "San Juan Bonanza."
Mining areas, though desperate for service provided by a newspaper, often struggled for the technology to catch up. Boomtown Fairbanks in Alaska, with about 1,000 people, and only 387 houses either finished or in the process of construction, six saloons, and no churches in 1903, had one of the most expensive newspapers in the world at the time, at $5 per copy for "The Fairbanks Miner."
The editorial policy of The Fairbanks Miner was straightforward, wrote Terrance Cole in his book "E.T. Barnnette" about the founder of Fairbanks.
"Published occasionally at Fairbanks, Alaska, by a stampeder who is waiting for the snow to melt and the ice to go out in the rivers... If you don't like our style, fly your kite and produce your 30-30,"  wrote Judge James Wickersham, who started the "Miner" to raise cash to finance a trip to climb Mt. McKinley. Wickersham and a public stenographer named G. Carlton Woodward, who had brought a small Empire green-ribboned typewriter with him from Dawson in Yukon territory, typed the entire issue. They made seven copies, and three were put in the saloons and one was mailed to Senator Charles Fairbanks. Only one issue of "The Fairbanks Miner" was published because the ice went out, just as they were going to press. 
The landscape for newspaper survival outside the mining districts was not much better.
The first newspaper in Monument was established by A.T. Blachly in 1878, and called the "Mentor." It only lasted until 1880, but the Monument Journal picked up the torch  briefly. By 1885, another paper, called the El Paso County Register was going and survived until 1889. In 1890, another publication, the "Monument Recorder" lasted less than a year, but about the same time, the "Monument Messenger" arrived and lasted until 1911.  A replacement didn't hit the scene again until "Preacher Sam," who lived near Monument Lake created the "Lake View Press" in the 1950s. The "Columbine Herald" appeared on the scene about the same time. Then in the 1960s, our forerunner, the Monument Palmer Lake News, which later included the Woodmoor News, was first published by George Kobolt of Castle Rock. This year, we will celebrate our 50th year.
Critics of print in general, and our paper specifically, brush us off as relic of some not-to-distant past. They talk of a bygone era where the country editor might lead varied life, with useful knowledge in every subject,  good debater, good listener, and instructive talker; generous to the limit of his ability.
"He had been from devil up to pressman in a printing office," wrote M.V. Atwood in "The Country Newspaper" describing this individual. 
"He could sweep floors; clean cuspidors, set type; make up forms; run job press, cylinder, stitcher, binder, or engine; could repair them all if they got out of order; could write news, or editorial; correct proof; and sell papers on the street. He learned all he knew in the office. The modern efficiency and 'specializing' methods have eliminated this relic of olden times, but there is just as much to be learned in the printing office, as there was then," wrote Atwood in 1923.
Don't count us out in the innovation arena, and be careful of, and perhaps show respect for, the idea that there is just as much to be learned in the local paper today— as there ever has been.
###

Saturday, November 29, 2014

W. H. Jackson and Dolores go way back


For me, it is almost a personal relationship with William Henry Jackson photos.
Starting the day after Thanksgiving in 1978,  I worked for Taylor Hardware in Dolores, Colo. for more than seven years with Merton Taylor and his family. Merton's father, George, had owned the store and had been around almost as long as the building, I think.
The old J.J. Harris & Co. building was built with the first structures in town when the little village was relocated upriver about two miles from Big Bend, on the Dolores River, when the Rio Grande Southern arrived in 1891. The hardware store still had elements of a bank, and beautiful hardwood floors that we mopped every day as long as it stood.
I speculate the iconic "Stage to the San Juan" Jackson photo must have been taken between 1891, and the fall of 1893, when the Silver Panic that year slowed activity of  the second San Juan rush and boosterism of that period. Merton had several copies of the photo (some displayed in the store) and Jackson must have spent the greater part of a day or two in Dolores, as he had had multiple frames. I have never been able to precisely date it but other photos appearing in Jackson albums indicate that he was likely shooting for railroad company, and created at least several week's worth of work in the area.
The day after Christmas, in 1984, a terrible fire, that began in the T. H. Akin Merc. building next door (old building, but had not yet built at the time of Jackson's photo) destroyed the building.
I would guess the other photos included here, one from Rico by Jackson, and Cowboys of the Dolores were produced about the same time, perhaps in the same trip. But that is just speculation, as Jackson easily could have visited my hometown, Dolores, on several occasions.









Frame 1: Stages from Dolores
Creator: William Henry Jackson
Sumary: Stages load with men are in the street in front of the J.J. Harris & Co. mercantile store in Dolores (Montezuma County) Colorado. men stand on the sidewalks, and in the street, some with mining equipment and guns. A burro packtrain is in the street.
Date: Photo created between 1882 and 1900?
Attribution to Jackson based on the photo negatives inclusion in the History Colorado William Henry Jackson Collection. Hand-lettered twice on the negative, "3861." Phot negative, glass, 5" x 8."

Frame 2: Rico, Colo. , W.H. Jackson Sample Album, Colorado Book III, No. 169
Creator: William Henry Jackson
Summary: View of the town of Rico with frame buildings and dirt streets.
Date: Photo created between 1882 and 1900?
Attribution to Jackson based on in bound W.H. sample album. "3219" hand-lettered on negative and reproduced in print. Photoprint, 4"x 7" mounted on album page.

Frame 3: Cowboys of the Dolores, E.H. Allen
Creator: William Henry Jackson.
Summary: Cowboys on horseback in front of a sod-roofed log building in Colorado. A dog sits on the ground near probably E.H. Allen. Photographer's stamp printed on verso of card mount. Title, "3631" and "50" inked on original and reproduced in photographic print. Photographic print on card mount: 4 1/2" x 7".
Source: Pueblo Public Library
Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Jackson's images are like an old friend










In Colorado, the images are like a old friend from your hometown that resurface every so often to help remind you of where you came from. They are familiar, inspiring, soulful and bear traces of your past and your future — a careful snapshot of place, and time, and being.

William Henry Jackson roamed the American West (and other places) taking photographs, painting, guiding other artists, documenting progress and promoting the western experience for more than 80 years. In just photographic negatives, an excess of 80,000 images attributed to Jackson, capture the essence of the period and space and time.

Inspiring rich development of the craft and launching thousands of artists along similar quests for beauty, understanding, and spirit — Jackson still impacts us today through the work of John Fielder, Ansel Adams, his own images, and just about everyone who stood out on a high point above their hometown, or river valley, or mountain, and photographed an expansive shot of their favorite places.

Locally, Jackson provides us with some of our earliest images of the places we call home and documented the construction of the railroads, the early Hayden Survey information of land forms before we started building, and peek at our past. Heyday in gold camps, embryonic construction of towns, and familiar landmarks offer us insight and understanding today, and far into any future.

"The trademark style of Jackson's railroad views quickly turned him into one of the most sought-after landscape photographers of the nineteenth century," wrote Eric Paddock, curator of the Photography of the Colorado Historical Society in the forward of John Fielder's popular "Colorado: W. H. Jackson, John Fielder, 1870-2000" coffee table book.

"The technology of the day forced him to develop his glass negatives on the spot, which required him to carry a portable darkroom and bottles of chemicals as he went. That burden also gave him the advantage of seeing his work immediately — he could take the pictures over and over until nightfall if necessary, making any changes that he wanted until satisfied," wrote Paddock.

"His success with the D & RG led to commissions from virtually every major railroad in the western United States and Mexico and most minor ones, too. Each assignment demanded that each railroad be cast in the most heroic light to boost tourist as well as freight traffic. Jackson often spent weeks or even months at a time, photographing the railroads and all of the cities and towns, ranches, factories, and resorts they served. These photographs gave his clients more than they asked for ..."

First learning the trade as a boy early studios of his boyhood homes of Rutland, Vermont and Troy, New York, Jackson's nine months as a soldier in the Union Army, including the battle of Gettysburg, later was noted as he attended the 75th commemoration and reunion of Gettysburg in July of 1938.

Among his long list of accomplishments: More than 10 years work on the Hayden Geographical Survey including some of the earliest and best documentation of Yellowstone area, Mesa Verde, Mancos Canyon, Jackson exhibited photographs and clay models of Anasazi dwellings at Mesa Verde in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, owned portrait studios in Nebraska and on Larimer Street in Denver, served as president and plant manager of postcard maker Detroit Publishing Company which sold over seven million photographs by 1902, produced work with Harper's Weekly and the World Transportation Commission, and later in life, painted murals in the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and served as a technical advisor on the filming of "Gone With the Wind." He died in New York City in 1942 at 99, and recognized as one of the last surviving Civil War veterans, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.








Photo Info:

Portrait of Jackson in 1930s.

Frame 1: Mining town of Cripple Creek shows the National Hotel and Gold Mining Stock Exchange, one and two-story wood frame residences, multi-story masonry commercial buildings, churches, and a school. Mining structure on hillside. A locomotive on trestle bridge and Mount Pisga are in the distance. W.H Jackson, circa 1910.

Frame 2: View of Cripple Creek (Teller County), Colorado. Shows flagpole in the middle of a dirt street, Central Meat Market and wood frame commercial buildings with false fronts, one under construction. A horse and wagon are near the flagpole. W.H. Jackson, circa 1891.

Frame 3: Glen Park and Palmer Lake shows frame houses, Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad grade under construction in the distance. A gazebo is on a hill. W.H. Jackson, 1887.

Frame 4: Casa Blanca near Palmer Lake. W. H. Jackson, circa 1885.

Frame 5: Elephant Rock (Phoebe's Arch) W.H. Jackson, circa 1885.
 
Frame 6: Modern-day Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 7: Elephant Rock today from a different angle. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 8: Overlooking Cripple Creek a few weeks ago. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 9: In the valley overlooking Rampart Range, near Palmer Lake and the Glenn. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 10: Casa Blanca, near Palmer Lake, today. Rob Carrigan photo.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A changed condition: Rampart Range Road offers a hard look at the fire




Several weeks ago, when Rampart Range Road opened Oct. 10, 2014, more than two years after it was closed during the first day of the Waldo Canyon Fire, visitors were able to get a whole new understanding of the scope the devastating wildfire.
“I really wanted to see first-hand – sorry I did, and yet at the same time, glad I know for a fact that in some areas – 10 years, most likely will not be enough of an estimated time for healing from flooding. Great to see beaming, white and good-smelling Aspen trees, a few yellow leaves and five feet away on the side of the road, a ‘war zone~a look alike’ of total devastation.” Said local long-time resident Clara Meury who toured the area in the first few days the road was open.
“Whew! Glad I went and saw and came down off the Ramparts...with hope. Very thankful to see acres, miles, and hillsides of hundreds of dedicated footprints of CUSP (Coalition for the Upper South Platte) volunteers back-breaking work that has been done, and more yet to happen to protect our towns, and cities. Our communities. Our mountains. I love our Mountains,” Meury said.
Rampart Range Road offers an elevated vantage point to view the extent of the damage.
The fire, which was first reported June 23, 2012, had caused the evacuation of over 32,000 residents of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola, Woodland Park and partial evacuation of the United States Air Force Academy. As many as 346 homes were destroyed by the fire. U.S. Highway 24, was closed in both directions for days. The Waldo Canyon Fire resulted in insurance claims totaling more than $453.7 million. Until the Black Forest Fire, it was the most destructive fire in Colorado state history, as measured by the number of homes destroyed, (Black Forest fire destroyed 486 homes and damaged 28 others).
“If you choose to go into the Waldo Canyon area, expect a changed condition. It is not the same forest that many remember prior to the 2012 wildfire. There are many dangers so be very cautious with a plan of escape when the winds increase or it starts to rain. Your safety is our priority,”said Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez, upon the road’s opening.
Visitors should use extreme caution and expect to encounter falling dead trees and limbs, steep slopes, stump holes and the potential for flooding in this burned area.













Saturday, November 8, 2014

Colorado history of thinking, writing about beer




I have a long history of thinking about beer when I write. 
My first official beat as a reporter on a daily newspaper was "breweries and beer." 
It was 1982, and I was a student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Anheuser-Busch was considering building a facility north of the city. Not everyone thought it was a good idea at the time, but it was certainly fun to write about. Affording opportunities like 'up close and personal' with Clydesdales on their first visit, the "short tour" at Coors every Friday, the birth of micros- like New Belgian, and Odells, etc...
I am thinking about beer today, as Tivoli announces moves to re-establish a brew house and tap room in the Tivoli Student Union building at Auraria campus in Denver next year, and we approach Repeal Day next month. Tivoli Brewery and Taproom is expected to roll out the barrel in early 2015, and Metropolitan State University of Denver's Hospitality, Tourism and Events program says they will train students in its beverage-management program and "apply to a wide variety of potential employment opportunities, including brewing sciences, beer industry operations, sales and marketing, and brewpub operations to support the workforce needs of Colorado's growing craft-beer industry."
On Dec. 5, 1933, Utah became the final state in a three quarters majority needed to ratify the 21st Amendment. Legal booze was back! The 21st amendment repealed the18th, which of course, called for prohibition of alcohol in the United States.
Until 2008, here in Colorado, if the date fell on a Sunday, you would not have been able to celebrate by buying booze. In April 2008, Colorado lawmakers passed legislation that eliminated the Sunday ban on liquor sales. The law became effective July 1, 2008.
Colorado, like many states, went dry before the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in 1920.
According to BeerHistory.com, an amazing 2,520 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 1879. New York City at that time supported 75 breweries. The nation's largest brewery, George Ehret's Hell Gate Brewery, sold only180,152 barrels that year and made only 1.5 percent of the country's beer.
Colorado excels in making beer. Today, according to figures for “permitted breweries” licensed by the federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau at the end of 2013, there were 217 breweries (56 new permits in 2013). Some think we are on track this year to hit 300 breweries in the state, by year's end.
Colorado ranks second at 11.7 gallons per year, per 21-year-old adult, for consumption and third for production at 1,413,232 barrels of craft beer, per stats from the Brewers Association, a national association for craft brewers. 
The Beer Institute thinks the total economic impact of beer in this state is $14,787,474,200 and it supplies 58,360 industry-related jobs.
The first brewery in the state, Rocky Mountain in Denver, eventually became the Zang Brewing Company and was the largest brewery in the Rockies until prohibition. Only four survived the long dry spell between 1916 and 1934. Of those four, only Adolph Coors is around today in original form. Tivoli, from Denver, Walters from Pueblo, and Schneider, from Trinidad were all gone by the 1970s.
Tivoli was resurrected recently by a group of investors. "In 2012, a group of native Coloradans formed the Tivoli Distributing Company and Tivoli Beer was reborn. The first batch, a recreation of the historic Tivoli Beer recipe, entered the brew kettle on August 1, 2012. At this time, establishments in the Denver area began selling Tivoli Beer for the first time in over 43 years," says recent company literature.
Locally, here in Teller County, we were a bit of a brewing destination at the turn of the last century. At that time, about 1900, Cripple Creek was the fourth largest town in the state. 32,000 people lived in the district and beer business was booming.
The city directory of 1900 listed 52 stockbrokers, 3 banks, 3 stock exchanges, 10 insurance representatives, 9 jewelers, 49 grocers, 68 saloons and numerous gambling halls and sporting establishments. In this case, you’re talking about the days of Coors as a microbrewer.
In fact, Adolph Coors owned a building in Cripple Creek at the time.
“German born, Coors has been accustomed to the European tradition of breweries owning local pubs to help distribute their product. Coors carried on that tradition in Colorado. As his brewery prospered, he purchased buildings to lease back to prospective saloon owners who, in turn, would sell beer in their establishments,” wrote Brian Levine in Cripple Creek, City of Influence.
The Coors building was at 241-243 E Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek, and he leased the property back to Henry Bunte for his B. B. Saloon.
“Although Adolph Coors did not finance the original construction of this building, Coors purchased it from stock brokers William P. Bonbright and J. Arthur Connell a year after it was built (1896),” according to Levine.

But it seems the most popular brew at the time, among the rising young stockbrokers, mining speculators and bankers, was the stuff served at the Denver Stock Exchange Saloon which is where Bronco Billy’s is today.
E. A. Asmussen, who was also a town trustee, was bartender, owner and when occasion called for it, bouncer. Asmussen contracted with well-known Denver brewers, the Zang Brewing Company and Rocky Mountain Brewery (owned by Zang).
Son of the founder, Phil Zang was the brewery manager for years after the English company Denver United Breweries purchased the company from his father Adolph in 1888. It became one of the largest breweries in the West.
“Adolph became interested in two of the district’s noted gold producers – the Anaconda and the Vindicator – and thus, became financially and politically involved in the Cripple Creek District. After the Anaconda and the Vindicator were absorbed by (A.E.) Carlton interests. Adolph Zang became a shareholder in The Golden Cycle Corporation,” wrote Levine.
Other beers served in the district might have included Tivoli Brewing Company or Union Brewing Company products, which were also two well-known Denver brewers that merged in 1901 (producing where the Auraria Student Union is today, in downtown Denver). In many locations, five-cent (nickel) draws were the going rate, except in the bordellos, where it was markedly more expensive.
If you had a taste for something stronger, of course that was readily available, often labeled affectionately and colorfully, ‘nose paint,’ ‘tonsil varnish,’ ‘tongue oil’ or ‘liquid muscle,’ in the vernacular of the period.
But a fellow didn’t have to drink alcohol exclusively.
The "black cow" or "root beer float" was created on August 19, 1893. Frank J. Wisner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado, served the first root beer float. Inspired by the moonlit view of snow-capped Cow Mountain, Mr. Wisner added a scoop of ice cream to his Myers Avenue Red root beer and began serving it as the "Black Cow Mountain." The name was later shortened to "black cow."
All this writing can make a fellow thirsty. Given my history, how about a local beer?

Photo 1: If it is Friday,  keep 'em coming. Antique beer keg lift conveyor machinery at the old Tivoli (a.k.a. Union) Brewery in downtown Denver.


Photo 2: In the 1950s, the Tivoli brewery produced up to 150,000 barrels a year, sold from Wyoming to Texas, Missouri to California. It closed in 1969, after a downward spiral that began with the Platte River flooding in 1965, labor disputes, poor capitalization, etc... Now, of course, it is the Auroria Campus Student Union.



Photo 3: The Coors Building, as it was once known, was purchased by Adolf Coors to help distribute product in the Cripple Creek District.


Photo 4: Rooftops of the Adolph Coors Company, Coors residence and greenhouse echo the foothills in the distance, Golden, Colorado. sign in the foreground:"The Home of Coors Pure Malted Milk" is constructed of planted flowers. Coors was the world's largest producer of malted milk during the Prohibition era. Mount Zion with the Colorado School of Mines "M" is in the background. Photo taken by Rocky Mountain Photo Company in 1928.

Photo 5: Colorado City before the 18th Amendment. View of two-story businesses, shows a barber pole and lettering on signs: "Hoffman cafe, Baths, N.B. Hawes". Colorado City was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917, but until then was a drinkers alternative to its dry neighbor. Hoffman's was an active bar from 1888 to 1913. Photo by H.W. Poley.

Photo 6:  Men, women, and popular movements all over the country forced repeal by Dec. 5, 1933.




















Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chasin' alias: Now, was that Smith, or Jones?














"Alias Smith and Jones" was a western TV series that originally aired on ABC from January 1971 to January 1973, starring Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Jedediah "Kid" Curry, outlaw cousins who were trying to reform. Duel's character was supposedly the brains of the operation, and Murphy's part provided a fast draw and muscle.
The show was inspired, at least in part, by success of the 1969 blockbuster film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The names "Smith" and "Jones" actually originated from a comment in the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, when, prior to one of their final hold-ups, the characters are outside a bank in Bolivia and Sundance turns to Butch and says: "I'm Smith and you're Jones."
The real "Kid Curry," Harvey Logan, was actually a member of the real 'Wild Bunch' comprised the real Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, and other notable outlaws of the early 1900s.
Logan, contrary to his TV counterpart, was a cold-blooded killer, reportedly killing as many as nine law enforcement officers, and several others.
Unfortunately, actor Pete Duel died of a self-inflicted gun shot on New Years Eve in 1971. The series replaced him with another actor, and continued for another 17 episodes, but it never recovered. Fans, I guess, didn't buy the identity switch.
I've have been thinking about identity, and alias, and outlaws, as it relates to the old West and such, and the real Kid Curry, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, and how hard it was to keep track of people before the internet and search engines.
A few weeks ago, when I visited the Wyoming Territorial Prison, of which Butch Cassidy was a short term guest, I noticed that amazingly enough, criminals such as Cassidy were not always completely honest in what they told prison officials.
From Wyoming Territorial Prison Records, Processing Card: George Cassidy, prisoner No. 187, Alias "Butch" Cassidy, Crime: Grand Larceny, Age: 27, Height: 5'9", Weight: 165 pounds., Build: Well-Built, Hair: Dark Flaxen, Eyes: Blue, Complexion: Light, Born: New York City, Occupation: Cowboy, Received from: Fremont County, Sentenced: July 15, 1894, Remarks: Has no wife or parents, features regular, small deep-set eyes, good conduct, Two cut scars on back of head, has a small red scar under left eye, red mark on left side of back, small brown mole on calf of left leg, a well-built young man.
Basically, on processing card, the convict lied.

Cassidy claims to have been born in New York and his parents are deceased. Cassidy was in fact, born to Anne and Max Parker in Utah and was the eldest of 13 children: and called Robert Leroy Parker. Brother Dan Parker, inmate #164, was held at the Territorial Prison in 1890 for robbing the United States Postal Service.
Nothing really new here, but I had encountered it before.  
Sutton's Law is related to legendary 1930s outlaw Willie Sutton's often quoted (and probably falsely attributed) response to a reporter who asked why he robbed banks.
"Because that's where the money is."
I have wondered out loud before why that law didn't seem to apply for the "Wild Bunch" and the Cripple Creek District.
As a kid growing up in southwestern Colorado, nearly every wide spot in the road down there claimed some connection to the heralded outlaws. With the gang holding up the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, supposedly robbing the train at Stoner, holing up at Dunton Hot Springs, and several associated robberies in the Grand Junction, Delta and Vernal, Utah, areas, in addition to Harry "Sundance" Longabaugh's stint working on his uncle's ranch near Cortez as just some of the historically possible links - the stories were difficult to dispute.
Then there is the haunting photograph of the five dapperly dressed fellows at the turn of the century, three seated, two standing behind. From left to right: Harry A. Longabaugh, a.k.a. "The Sundance Kid," William Carver, Ben Kilpatrick, a.k.a. "The Tall Texan," Harvey Logan, a.k.a. "Kid Curry" and Robert Leroy Parker, a.k.a. "Butch Cassidy." The photo was taken Nov. 21, 1900, at John Swartz's studio in Fort Worth, Texas, near the Hell's Half Acre section of town the gang was known to frequent, and probably has appeared on more "wanted" posters than any photo in the last century.
But the outfit is given credit for robbing trains, mines, banks and other businesses all over the West - Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and Oregon. And their height of operation corresponds perfectly with the Cripple Creek District's heyday. Why didn't the "Wild Bunch" knock over any easy targets in the wild district?
It was where the money was. Once I speculated that maybe the answer was Love.
According to the information submitted to the Colorado Archives by the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society and posted by USGenWeb, "Love was the last community to officially debut in the Cripple Creek District, acquiring a post office in 1894." Research by Jan MacKell indicated that village located at the far east end of the district was made up of ranchers, a few miners, sawmill workers and maybe dairy workers. But, notes the archive project, "Love was remote enough, however, that members of outlaw Butch Cassidy's notorious Wild Bunch also felt secure in procuring a hideout there shortly after the community was founded."
Not only is that possible, I would guess, with the amount of money flowing around these parts at that time, it would be silly for an outlaw not to locate nearby.
Jan MacKell, who served for years as the director of the Cripple Creek District Museum, set me straight.
“You referenced something I had written about it. Well alas, further research revealed that the Bob Lee I found in Love was not the Bob Lee of the Wild Bunch. (Bob was a cousin to Harvey Logan and was implicated in the 1899 robbery at Wilcox, Wyoming - the one where they blew the train car to smithereens). Still, the Wild Bunch did hang around in these parts, particularly after the robbery, and Bob Lee was arrested at the Antlers Saloon (formerly Uncle Sam's Casino) in March of 1900. Just thought you would want to know.”
Of course I would, and I asked about where her information originated.
“Some of it came from Pinkerton files and other came from books about the wild bunch, I had many sources when I researched this. The Pinkerton files are tricky - some have been lost, some are open to the public and some are closed files. I got some information from Wyoming since that is where the Wilcox robbery was. J. Maurice Finn was Bob Lee's lawyer and a newspaper account I read had him huffing and puffing all over the courtroom. Funny to picture.”
Indeed it is.
And while I was in the speculation mode, I have always wondered about whether Etta Place (Harry Longabaugh, a.k.a. Sundance kid's love interest) might really be Ann or Josie Bassett as some historians have postulated. The Bassetts, of the Brown's Hole area in Northern Colorado and Utah and famous for their interaction with Tom Horn, had numerous connections to the gang, but for whatever reason, have never been definitively linked and most discount the possibility. The first photo above is Ann Bassett and the second is image of Longabaugh and Place taken in New York.
Incidentally,  MacKell is the author of several books about rough and tumble times in the mining districts including “Brothels, Bordellos and Bad Girls,” and has a new title scheduled to appear in March called “Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains,” but I guess that is all together a different kind of “love.”
Additional speculation about who Etta Place was, is also intriguing. Others sources suggest that Etta Place may have in fact been Laura Bullion, who was a member of the gang. For several years in the 1890s, she was romantically involved with outlaw Ben Kilpatrick ("The Tall Texan"), a bank and train robber and an acquaintance of her father. In 1901, Bullion was convicted of robbery and sentenced to five years in prison for her participation in the Great Northern train robbery. She was released in 1905 after serving three years and six months of her punishment.
Most experts agree that Butch and Sundance probably met Etta at a bordello around 1900, probably run by Fannie Porter, according to Tony Hays.
"Near unanimous consensus among researchers is that Butch and Sundance met Etta at Fannie Porter’s brothel in San Antonio sometime in 1900," he said.
"The Pinkerton Agency, which had a strong interest in Etta, described her as attractive, speaking with an educated tone.  Estimates of her birth year range from 1878 to 1882 or 1883.  Rumors suggest that she was a cousin of Longabaugh’s since Longabaugh’s mother was a Place.  Speculation is that she and Sundance had met sometime around 1900," Hays says.
"The last recorded appearance by Etta was in summer of 1909 in San Francisco, the year after Butch and Sundance were reportedly killed in a gun battle with Argentinian soldiers.  Indeed, there are those researchers who say that Etta died in South America as well.  But a woman of Etta’s description attempted to secure documents declaring Sundance dead. She was unsuccessful, and  the woman known as Etta Place rode off into the sunset."
Hays searched the census information and found Fannie Porter, running a “boarding house.”
"Fannie, herself little more than a girl in 1900, claimed to be of British extraction. The birthdates did not help all that much. Of the five girls in Fannie’s “boarding house,” all were born in or around 1878-80.  One girl in the household intrigued me beyond the others.  Twenty-two year old Madaline Wilson appears in the census immediately beneath Madam Fannie. Like Fannie, she is listed as of English birth, immigrating to the United States in 1884 when she was six. Now here’s where the conjecture has to come in.  It is quite possible that she had changed her name, but does that dictate that she would have changed her date of birth, country of origin, and date of immigration?" Hays asked.
And a British accent, tempered by 16 years in America, might be described as “refined,” he speculated.  
And, Madaline Wilson disappears after the 1900 census, when Etta was in her period of historical significance as the historians would say.
Of course, there was a  bunch of second-guessing on whether Butch and Sundance had actually been killed in Bolivia. Misidentification had happened before, as early as 1898, when the Salt Lake Herald on May 17, 1898, reported "Butch Cassidy is still alive," after first reporting he had been killed in Price, Utah.
 "Sheriff J. H. Ward of Evanston, Wyoming, who was probably the best posted man in the inter mountain states upon criminal matters, reached Price the morning of May 16, 1898, in response to a telegram calling him there to identify the men in jail, and the corpse supposed to be that of Cassidy. Sheriff Ward for 13 years past had been a sheriff in Wyoming, and during that time had Cassidy in his jail for three months and was with him daily," reported the paper.
"On inspecting the body, Sheriff Ward positively asserted that it was not Cassidy, and that while the complain and build of the men were very similar, the body in no other particular resembled Cassidy, and bore none of the battle scars of the famous robber. Sheriff Ward was of the opinion that the body was that of Bob Culp, Alias Red Bob, a notorious cattle thief, from Wyoming. Cassidy was in jail awaiting trial for horse tearing, and a close description was made by Sheriff Ward of all his peculiar marks, and he was absolutely positive that this was not the man," the paper said. But Parker, Longabaugh, Logan and the others, for whom history has had a devil of a time keeping track of anyway, likely were among the neighbors next door.
But we may never know because Butch might have been going by George Cassidy, Tom Gillis, James Ryan, Santiago Ryan, Santiago Maxwell, J.P. Maxwell, James Lowe, Santiago Lowe, George Ingerfield. And Sundance maybe he took up the name Harry Alonzo, Harry Place, Enrique Brown, H.A. Brown, Frank Smith, J.E. Ebaugh, J.E. Thibadoe, Frank Jones, Frank Bozeman, Harry Brown or Frank Boyd.
 Kid Curry also had a reputation of loving and leaving. Reports said he would often return from a train or bank robbery, get drunk and lay up with prostitutes until his share of the take was gone. Numerous prostitutes would name him as the father of various "love childs" that sometimes were referred to as "Curry Kids." Some sources credit Kid Curry with as many as eighty-five children, though the real number was probably closer to five or six.
To complicate things on the Kid Curry front, in addition to the Wild Bunch, the Kid, Harvey Logan, also rode with Sam Ketchum, who was the brother of Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum and Ezra Lay.
Also muddying the water, was the fact that Curry (Logan) liked to hide out in San Antonio, Texas.
While there he met prostitute Della  Moore (also known as Annie Rogers or Maude Williams), with whom he became romantically involved. At the time of their meeting, she was working in Madame Fannie Porter's brothel, which of course, was a regular hideout for the Wild Bunch gang. In October 1901, Della Moore was arrested in Tennessee for passing money tied to an earlier robbery involving Curry. The gunman is credited shortly afterwards with killing two policemen in Knoxville in a shootout and escape on Dec. 13, 1901.
On June 7, 1904, Kid Curry was tracked down by a posse outside of what is now Parachute, Colorado. Curry and two others had robbed a train  and they stole fresh horses owned by Roll Gardner and a neighbor. Gardner and the neighbor set out after them and  joined up with a posse and continued tracking, caught up the outlaws, who then shot Gardner's and his neighbor's horses from under them. Gardner found cover while his neighbor started running. Kid Curry took aim at the neighbor and Gardner shot Curry. The wounded Curry then fatally shot himself in the head to avoid capture. The other two robbers escaped.
But even in death, nothing is for sure. Rumors persist that Curry was not killed in the fire fight, and was misidentified, having actually departed for South America with Butch Cassidy and Sundance. Noted Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo, who had pursued Logan for years, resigned Pinkerton's shortly thereafter, believing they got the wrong man.
Robert Parker's sister (and others in the family as well) swears her brother visited the family in 1925 for a family reunion. Some say he lived in Pacific Northwest for years, after going straight.
Actor Ben Murphy, went on to play many different characters since his stint as "Kid Curry" in the TV show "Alias Smith and Jones."






Photos from top, to bottom:
No. 1:
The Wild Bunch, From left to right: Harry A. Longabaugh, a.k.a. "The Sundance Kid," William Carver, Ben Kilpatrick, a.k.a. "The Tall Texan," Harvey Logan, a.k.a. "Kid Curry" and Robert Leroy Parker, a.k.a. "Butch Cassidy." The photo was taken Nov. 21, 1900, at John Swartz's studio in Fort Worth, Texas.

No. 2:
Comparison of Ann Basset to Etta Place.

No. 3:
Sundance Kid and Etta Place in New York before they headed to South America .

No. 4:
Ben Murphy as Jedediah "Kid" Curry, and Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes in "Alias Smith and Jones."

No. 5
George "Butch" Cassidy, Wyoming Territorial Prison.

No. 6:
Anne and Max Parker, Robert Leroy Parker's (Butch's) parents.

No. 7:
Laura Bullion's Pinkerton mug shot.

No. 8:
Kid Curry (Harvey Logan) and Della Moore.

No. 9:
Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.