Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hotel business thrives as thousands take cure

The 'Camp Cure' and 'West Cure,' as well as other various takes on outdoor cures were popular in Colorado in the late 1800s, which in turn, led to a Hotel boom locally — the likes of which might have made hospitality developer Donald Trump happy 100 years later.
Monument benefited from the popular practice of hospitality building with at least three hotels of its own the early days.
Anxious and tired male intellectuals (including Theodore Roosevelt) were sent West to rough ride, rope steer, and bond with other men.
"Physician Silas Weir Mitchell is perhaps best remembered for his 'Rest Cure' for nervous women, depicted by his onetime patient Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' (1892). In the harrowing tale, the narrator slowly goes mad while enduring Mitchell’s regimen of enforced bed rest, seclusion and overfeeding. This oppressive 'cure' involved electrotherapy and massage, in addition to a meat-rich diet and weeks or months of bed rest. Historians now view Mitchell’s “Rest Cure” as a striking example of 19th century medical misogyny," said Anne Stiles in a 2012 American Psychological Association publication titled Go rest, young man.
"Less well known is Mitchell’s method of treating nervous men. While Mitchell put worried women to bed, he sent anxious men out West to engage in prolonged periods of cattle roping, hunting, rough-riding and male bonding. Among the men treated with the so-called “West Cure” were poet Walt Whitman, painter Thomas Eakins, novelist Owen Wister and future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt," wrote Stiles.
"The Monument Hotel was considered one of the finest for complete rest and relaxation when it was built in 1870. It was owned and operated Col. J. Ford and his wife. It had 19 sleeping rooms all furnished and carpeted in the early style. It had an elegant parlor, office and adjoining reading room. Col. and Mrs. Ford came to Monument from Maine," according to local historian Lucille Lavelett in Through the Years as Monument, Colorado.
"The dining room was supervised by Mrs. Ford and her meals were the finest, The windows and the veranda to the West afforded a beautiful view of the mountains and invalids desiring a quiet, comfortable home found the hotel a lovely place to stay. The charges were $2 per day with generous reductions by the week. Others who operated the hotel were Dr. and Mrs. Ballou, Dr. and Mrs. Rupp, and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Petrie. Other hotels in town were Park Hotel, Ironside, and Grand Arm.
"The climate of Colorado is consider the finest of North America," said British explorer Isabella Bird, who in her letters extolled the curative effect of the Colorado climate.
"Consumptives, asthmatics, dyspeptics, and sufferers from nervous diseases, are here in the hundreds and thousands, ether trying the 'camp cure' for three or four months, or settling here permanently. In traveling extensively through the Territory, I found that nine out every ten settlers were cured invalids."
The current location is now where the building for the proposed methadone clinic was being considered and served as the former post office from 1975 to 2000 on Front Street Monument.
The Fords resided themselves, at  175 Second St., about 1875.
A Civil War veteran, Colonel and Mrs. Ford were founding members of the Monument Presbyterian Church in 1874. Their home had the first water system as evidenced by their tank and windmill.
But the hotel boom was somewhat short-lived, as the large wooden frame structures were susceptible to the ravages of fire.
On Feb. 27, 1904, the Park Hotel, and the Post Office at the time, burned. Francis Bell was postmaster, and Clerk of the Presbyterian church.  All church records up to that point were burned. These buildings were on Front Street, south of Second Street.
"I not sure about the the date, but this is the same time, Iron Side Hotel burned. This was near the (Limbach) park," writes Lavelett.
On March 24, 1922, the Monument Hotel burned. Roy Petrie and his wife were operating the hotel at that time, but it was an end of an era for the hospitality business in Monument.





Photo information:
1. Monument Hotel, built in 1870.
2. The South end of Front Street, also known as Five Points to early settlers. The Monument Hotel is the larger building to left of center.
3. Monument Hotel, under Dr. Rupps ownership.
4. Col. J. Ford and his wife.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Coin he gave me has heft, and weight, and size, and art


Not really worth anything to anyone but me


Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan@yourpeaknews.com

It was about Christmas time, five years ago I think, when he pressed the big round steel coin in my hand at the nursing home as I was leaving.
The coin was bigger than a dollar, with a Big Horn Sheep on it. But Dad knew I always liked coins and this one appealed to me, for its heft and size, its weight, and art. I think it appealed to him for similar reasons.
Not really worth anything to anyone but me.
I had a hard time figuring out what had happened to him. He had always been solid as a rock, and still was in most, important ways. Except he really did not know what was going on.
It was like the the record-player was skipping. He talked about the way "they" had changed the maps on him. Moved all the streets around. I think he felt the county was responsible, or the state. Maybe even the army.
My dad was in the army, in the '50s, and knew that they required respect, but you have to keep an eye on them.
He would tell you he was making good money at "Cornbinder" in Detroit when when the army needed diesel mechanics for International Harvester powered tanks. He thought it was just cheaper for the army to draft him and pay him corporal wages, instead of contracting IH, in the buzzing '50s.
Oh well, they could have sent him to Korea,  but instead, tank school in Japan.
His two older brothers had been at war with Japan in WWII, he was teased, but he went over there to educate them. How to fix tanks.
He was a monkey under a hood... Popeye arms and a sense of how the gear turned, where the cog fit, sound of the click... part of the machine.
I never understood that sense. I liked cars, respected them, sometimes even knew how they worked. Never felt them, like he did. He could just drive any of my beat-up old rigs for a few days and the vehicle would run better for a time.
I think it was different in later years. The sensors, computers, putting it on the monitor to read the chip, he tried to keep pace, but by the time he retired, he had enough, I think.  And after that, it was even more confusing.
He still kept pretty busy after retirement, helped on wrecker calls for years.
My friends in the Dolores all marveled at his dedication to walking Amos, my brothers part Great Dane that he reverse-inherited and the damn dog dragged him around the river city.
When the dog was gone, he still liked to walk. Dogs are good for that. I like to walk, especially with my dogs. Up early, no need for an alarm, get going, we are burning daylight.
My dad always, always, always understood that he was to take care of us, and my mom.
Part of the job was, he knew, to get us to the point where we could take care of ourselves.
He did that, I think. And take care of Mom.
The challenges can creep up on you in a lifetime.
Cars and engines change from a thing you sense and smell, and feel, and know by their click. To something you need a $200,000 monitor to figure out.
That monkey muscle gets tired, and your joints twist,  and your cogs slip, and your gears don't mesh.
Reality becomes someone else's.
When you are used to taking care of things, it is really hard when you can't. But you try with all your heart, and soul, and memory, of what once was.
In the end, it is almost impossible... painful ... frustrating...
But the coin he gave me has heft, and weight, and size, and art.
It is not really worth anything to anyone but me.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In 1938, the tree farms history was just starting to break ground




Photo 1:
Early plantings, about 1940, by Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) crews in Monument.


Photo 2
The tree nursery near Monument Rock was well-established by 1945.

Tree farming idea sprouted in the shadow of Monument Rock

If you wander the hills out near Monument Rock, you are just about guaranteed to to run into evidence of this area’s involvement of treeing the West. Either odd rows of trees, or small stone structures and walls, and maybe a foundation or a still-existing structure.
When looking for information about the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp in Monument a few years ago, I ran into Mike Smith’s extremely valuable work about the CCC titled “Forest Army.”
Not only did Smith know about the Monument camp, but his grandfather had spent time there.
“In a 1970s newspaper interview, my grandfather William Rutherford stated he went into USFS service with the third CCC camp in Colorado and left the service while at the last CCC camp in Colorado - the last of his USFS letters are from the Monument camp, so I presume that was the last camp. It may have been the last USFS CCC camp in Colorado. Smith wrote to me in an email.
“My Monument file is rather thin, but it does include excerpts from a 1938 district annual. The excerpt covers the Woodland Park, Colorado Springs and Monument Camps.”
Some of the information in the district annual is as follows.
In May 1938, 1st Lieut. Alvin C. Jenkins, then commanding Company 3810, CCC, Monument, Colorado, was advised that his Company was to be disbanded, and that the camp was to be reoccupied by a new company from the First Corps Area. Meanwhile, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, many CCC enrollees were gathering. On July 18, 1938, Company 2124 was organized.
“The trip west was begun on July 20, 1938. Of course, all the members were eager to start for the new location because it meant travel, new sights, and perhaps a little adventure. Their enthusiasm dimmed somewhat, however, as the train rolled forward, and the monotonous scenery failed to fulfill expectations. Once their destination was reached, a different feeling took place – a feeling hard to describe. The lasting beauty of the mountains, the magnificence of the vari-colored rocks, and gorgeous panorama of far-reaching plains studded with tableland made an impression that was to last a lifetime. Yes, their new home at the foot of rugged Mt. Herman was indeed a welcome sight,” according to the CCC annual.
“The New Englanders found a well-maintained camp – one that had been built from the ground floor by Company 3810. This Company was formed in July 1935 and established in Dublin, Texas, as a soil conservation project. When the work in that vicinity was fulfilled, the company moved to Monument, Colorado.”
“The site for the now well developed camp was overgrown with brush and covered with rocks. As the only permanent building completed at this time was the mess hall, tents were set up until more permanent buildings could be established. Within three months, the portable barracks had arrived, and their erection gave the camp an appearance of permanency. The buildings were arranged circularly so as to allow convenience in passing from one barrack to another,” said the CCC annual.
“They were told that the primary function of the Camp’s work program was to furnish the necessary labor for raising and shipping of seedlings from the Monument Nursery to the various United State Forests throughout this region. It was pointed out that this process of raising trees consisted of a series of operations that varied with the seasons. Cone collecting, seed extracting, seeding, weeding, cultivating, watering, shading, protecting, transplanting, and stock distributing were given the major divisions for each year’s work. In addition to these regular Nursery operations incidental to the raising of trees, considerable construction work was completed by Company 3810. The blacksmith shop, seed extractory, implement shed, seed storage building, tree packing shed, garage, barn and two pump houses will long remain as a tribute to the superior workmanship of these enrollees. Interest in the project ran high for the members realized that they had an excellent opportunity to learn the nursery business as a career.
Sports were extremely popular with the Texans, and their teams were consistently among the best in the District. The baseball team proved its worth by winning by winning all but one of its games in a difficult schedule. An enthusiastic basketball team, not to be outdone, ran up a score of victories with only two defeats. Swimming, boxing, and tumbling teams also created records of which the Company was justly proud.
Classes of study were organized, and the educational program was functioning smoothly. Mr. Vern C. Howard was sent to take his place as teacher with the disbandment of Camp SP-12-C which was located in Colorado Springs. He brought with him radio equipment, woodworking tools, and wide assortment of books to strengthen the educational set-up. Recognizing the fact that more adequate teaching space was necessary, Mr. Howard constructed a schoolhouse entirely built from scrap lumber.
Assistant Educational Adviser James Leasure, who had learned radio while a member of the Civilian Conservation Corp, established his own station using the call letters W9ZCX. He sent and received messages to and from every part of the world.
“At the present time well-balanced educational program is being maintained. Planned courses in academic, vocational and job training subjects are conducted regularly, with determining factors being the needs and desires of members. Unusual interest has been taken in the informal groups of photography, woodwork, dancing, and the various arts and crafts. Week-end trips to the Royal Gorge, the State Penitentiary, the coal mines, the Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak have already been taken with other scenic spots remaining on the “must see list.”
Dr. Samuel Lilienthol, one of the first Camp Surgeons to go on duty in the district, was assigned to Company 2124 in August,1938. Since his arrival, many significant improvements have been made in the Mess Hall and the Infirmary,” the annual said.
“The work of the 2124th Company is far from complete. Its actual history still lies in the future. Mr. Donald J. Hodges, present Project Superintendent, has intensive plans for the present and the future. Several new buildings will be erected, a large amount of fence will be installed, roads will be built, and new areas will be developed to further expand the Nursery. Two side camps are in operation this summer. One to locate at Devil’s Head is developing a new camp ground, and the other situated at Indian Creek is constructing a road which will make it possible to thin a large area of the forest land to market Christmas trees,” said the forward-thinking crew, about their upcoming work.

Koi is known for its strength, individuality, character, and perseverance

An ancient tale tells of a huge school of golden koi swimming upstream in the Yellow River in China. Gaining strength by fighting against the current, the school glimmered as they swam together through the river. When they reached a waterfall at the end of the river, many of the koi turned back, letting the flow of the river carry them away. The remaining koi refused to give up. Leaping from the depths of the river, they attempted to reach the top of the waterfall to no avail. Their efforts caught the attention of local demons, who mocked their efforts and heightened the waterfall out of malice. After a hundred years of jumping, one koi finally reached the top of the waterfall. The gods recognized the koi for its perseverance and determination and turned it into a golden dragon, the image of power and strength.  Koi fish are associated with positive imagery. Because of the dragon legend, they are known as symbols of strength and perseverance, as seen in their determinative struggle upstream. And because of the lone koi that made it to the top of the waterfall, they are also known as symbols of a destiny fulfilled. Resulting from its bravery in swimming upstream.  The koi is known for its strength, individuality, character, and perseverance. 


Koi Fish symbolizes resilient nature of campus coming together

 By Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan@yourpeaknews.com

The size and scope of the Discovery Canyon Campus Koi Fish Art installation is the amazing thing.  It meanders upstream in the blue paper, from the elementary school, up stairs and through hallways of the middle school, always swimming, ever upward, over the doorways, around and through the halls and common areas of the 84-acre campus, finally reaching the highest points in high school.
“We are about 290 employees strong here and there will be an installation up throughout our entire campus running through Nov. 26. The artwork is being made by all staff members and our students. The artwork is Koi fish swimming up 31 degrees in elevation from the bottom of our campus to the top. The fish swim together and collaboratively. The fish are symbolic of working together, being together and swimming together. The Fish swim upstream against the flow of water. The fish swim up and forward always moving together as one school of fish,” says middle school art teacher Shell Acker, who began working the project in July.
"The students all have different papers and colors and textures for their fish to represent all of us are different. We all want to share our gifts like the book 'Rainbow Fish,'” she said.
By the numbers, more than 4,500 fish swim the stream. At least $160 worth of blue paper makes up that continuous stream. As many as 2,400 students and 290 staff members have worked on it.  Then there is the parents and volunteers.
"We have had parent and community groups in here 12 at time," says Acker.
At its longest point, it is probably close to 800 meters long.
In fact it is going for a world record, with Guinness World Records. Two seventh-grade DCC boys made that suggestion and then followed up. Ryan Swint and Kirby Gillman began the research on that in September and Guinness is expected reviewed at end of the month."The Koi was chosen because of its strength and resiliency. We are strong and koi are stronger and more beautiful each day. The environment we create as teachers help our students/fish become all that they can be and more valuable as well. The legend of the koi fish is read to each student so they can see why we chose this fish to create as a staff/school/student body. Students and Staff will create a moving fish.”
 “We are doing a campus-wide art installation of koi fish. The installation is a reminder that we are all a community – we swim together, and everyone is an important member of the DCC community. We all bring different colors and styles – our own uniqueness and gifts to the campus, and that makes DCC strong and whole. In addition to representing the unity of the campus, we want the Koi to serve as a visual reminder of some really important character traits.”
The middle level created fish together in Bridges time frame…parents invited to come and make a fish with your student... And the high schoolers created fish with their Thunder time classes/teachers. Elementary students were creating in the art classroom and elementary art teacher Pam Quarles is having a contest for the teachers. "If teachers create the most creative/ the best fish… they win a Starbucks gift card," Quarles said.
"I think it is really creative," said third-grader Issaac Housley. "Everyone knows where their fish is at."
Teachers and staff are all involved with the project. Even security guards have made fish. At High School level, art teachers Aubry Daman, Marilee Mason, Diane Anderson are key. From Middle School, Shell Acker and Jen Filbert, and elementary, Pam Quarles.
 "A story… a positive one about how our staff is working together each and every day with the kids our parents entrust to us each day. I am not na├»ve to know that this simple metaphorical art installation will save all our kids contemplating taking their own lives… but if it saves just one… it is worth it," said Acker.
"Our kids (students) don’t have enough tricks in their handbags to know that tomorrow will be a better day. The installation will show them to keep swimming and that we are swimming right along with them. The arts do help us heal and the arts are scientifically good for our body, mind and soul," she said.
"Visual Arts is one more way to let the kids know we are swimming behind them and in front of them… but we are swimming with them."
And create a campus wide art installation that visually represents the resilient nature of our campus and to create a community feeling of togetherness and comradery.




'Longest chain (length)' records for Guinness Book of Records






Please make sure you follow ALL these rules:

•    The record may be attempted by an individual or a team of unlimited size.
•    The record is measured in metres and centimetres, with the equivalent imperial measurement also given in feet and inches.
•    The event must take place in a public place or in a venue open to public inspection.
•    There must be no gaps in the chain and each item must be connected with the next.
•    No other instrument or technique to connect them may be used.
•    Although the record is based on the length of the chain must, the total number of items making up the chain must also be counted.
•    The chain must be continuous but does not have to be straight.
•    The event must be overseen by two independent witnesses.
•    The length of the chain must be measured by a qualified surveyor using an accurate measuring tool in the presence of two independent witnesses.

EVIDENCE FOR VERIFICATION

In order to approve this record Guinness World Records requires that the following documentation is submitted as evidence. Please read the Guide to Your Evidence for specific information on specific pieces of evidence.

•    One cover letter explaining the context of the record attempt. Please indicate date, time and location of the record attempt. Also please provide full details of the person(s)/organisation attempting the record including details on the preparation for the attempt. You can use the template in the Guide to Your Evidence or prepare a different Cover Letter.
•    One surveyor’s report must be provided confirming the exact length of the chain and details of the tool used to make the measurement. Proof of the surveyor’s qualification must also be provided.
•    Two independent witness statements must be provided confirming that the rules above have been adhered to and must explicitly state the total number of items used to create the chain as well as the length of the chain and any other relevant information. You can use the templates in the Guide to Your Evidence or prepare different Witness Statements as long as they follow GWR directives.
•    Photographic evidence is compulsory evidence for all record attempts. Please provide photographs showing evidence of the preparation and compilation of the chain as well as the measurement. High quality pictures will be considered for publication online and in the Guinness World Records book or related products.
•    Video evidence The attempt must be captured on video, in particular the measuring process.
•    Media articles is not a compulsory evidence requirement. If you have media coverage (newspaper, online, TV or radio) GWR please submit them as part of the evidence requirements.
•    Schedule 2 should be signed by you when you are sending in evidence which you either own or have permission to allow Guinness World Records to use.
•    If you include any photographs or video in your evidence which you do not own or have permission to allow Guinness World Records to use, then you must include Schedule 3.
•    Media articles (newspaper, online, TV or radio) should be submitted as part of the evidence requirements. This is not compulsory evidence.

Please read the Guide to Your Evidence document, where you will find further information about the evidence requirements and evidence templates. It is paramount this document is read before you submit your evidence.





Photo information:

koi 1
Pam Quarles and Issaac Housley point out his primary fish.

koi 2
Shell Acker, and Aubry Daman,  along the upstream flow.

koi 3
Volunteer Bill Beeson is responsible for much of blue stream.

koi 4
Even pregnant fish swim along, helping koi and swimming together.

koi 5
Science teacher Cindy Beggs all to "Keep swimming."

koi 6
Even Braille material might be used to make one of the more than 4,500 plus fish.

koi 10
Each fish reflects individual character.

koi 11
A librarian fish accompanies the swimming koi.
 





Friday, November 18, 2016

Gambling proceeds built much of Woodland Park


To hear many folks tell it, illegal gambling built much of Woodland Park.
The Ouray Casino building was constructed in 1948 by Robert Rex Beach and Homer Cooley and was used as a casino that was part of the Brazenhead located to the east on U.S Highway 24 on a different piece of property. The two buildings were called "Ouray Inn and Casino, " according to research done by True West Properties.
Legend has it that an underground tunnel connects the two buildings, and a bordello was also part of the mix. The building was owned by LeRoy and Mickey McManaman, from Texas, and licensed by the state of Colorado, as a private club.
The building, a rustic structure, originally had plush wall-to-wall carpets on the first floor and five bedrooms on the second floor.
Gambling became popular in Woodland Park in the 1940 and many locals were members of the club., according to True West Properties research.
"It was known at the time, that Woodland Park was the place to go for a good time and many visited to gamble, but many citizens of Woodland Park did not approve of gambling and it was against the law," according to an oral interview of Mert Cummins, conducted in 1990.
"As early as 1948, raids of these casinos began. Most times, the casinos were forewarned, and the gambling equipment had been removed. It wasn't until the early 1950s that the gambling issue came to a head with the citizens of Woodland Park taking sides and open fighting began," according the interview of Mert Cummins.
On Christmas Day, 1951, the Ouray Casino was raided and police found gambling paraphernalia. According to a later article by Jan Pettit, in the Ute Pass Courier, dice found during that raid would only produce even numbers, and cards that could be read from the obverse side were encountered. Also, it was determined that employees would pose as customers, to make the place seem busy.
The owner, Leroy McManaman, was also out on $40,000 bond in Wichita, Kan., in connection with three robbery charges.
By 1953, Leo A. Hoegh, who would later become the Governor of Iowa, purchased the building at federal sale to clear back taxes, paying $1,150 for the property and $55,000 in liens and mortgages against it. It sold again in the summer of 1957, this time for only $7,000.
It went through several owners, eventually becoming the one-time home of the Woodland Park branch library of the Rampart Library District in 1982. Upon good authority, there was still remnants of Casino days evident, until the library district's renovation was completed. The library occupied the building until the late 1990s, when the new Rampart Range Library was built.
Gabe Brock also verified gambling in Woodland Park in the late 1940s and the early 1950s.
Brock, longtime owner of the Crystola Inn, was quoted at the time of "Big Bert" Bergstrom's death on March 12, 1986, in the Ute Pass Courier,  as reported by Liza Marron.
Berstrom had owned and operated the Thunderhead Inn and Ute Inn, among other places.
"He had 75 slot machines and I had 75 slot machines. We pooled them and put them out all over the county. We had sanction from Teller County Sheriff. We went along there for about four years without any trouble. We would rake a little off each week, and with that we built the Woodland Park Community Church. The VFW was in trouble,  and Bert bought them a building behind the Ute Inn," remembered Brock.
The Eldorado Club, which later became Preschool in the Pines, was also one of Bert's gambling clubs, Brock told the paper.
"The proceeds from gambling built a lot of Woodland Park," he said, but it all ended in 1952 when a new mayor closed things down, according to Brock.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bankrupt more than the English language




Fame is a magnifying glass that can, over time, wither something away to nothing. Or depending on a tender substance’s stability, ignite and eliminate it in a puff of smoke.
Almost literally at the turn of the century, Jan. 4, 1900, Irving Howbert turned the first shovelful of dirt on Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway Company. By April 8, 1901, the railroad commonly known as ‘The Short Line’ began operations on the brief but ‘storied’ line.
Some of the stories are true; but many are as spurious as some hard-luck miner’s explanation of what happened to his fortune and the related could-have-beens.
A rail jaunt along the these tracks became known as “The Trip which bankrupts the English Language.,” a phrase that is often attributed to Teddy Roosevelt who visited Victor and the Cripple Creek District on at least two different occasions via this rail route.
Despite its scenic excellence, the ‘Short Line’ had a very limited life span. By 1922, declining gold ore shipments forced abandonment of the rails.
W.D. Corely, Sr., of Colorado Springs, bought the railroad in 1922 and junked the rails and equipment to convert the roadbed into a scenic highway. Corely operated it as a toll road under permit with the U.S. Forest Service until 1939, when it reverted to the public as a free road, by terms of his permit.
A 1946 article in Highway Magazine by Ray Colwell, noted the difficulties involved in building the original road.
“There were few places where locating engineers could not avoid the necessity of tunneling through the Pikes Peak granite. Tunnels were decided upon only as a last resort, for the Short Line was built entirely with hand labor, churn drills, black powder and horse drawn dump carts. Tunnel construction was slow and costly, but nine of them, ranging up to 550 feet in length, were finally completed,” wrote Colwell.
All of the high trestles, which carried the railroad, have since been filled or bypassed and the road has been rerouted around the various tunnels over the decades.
“Designed for the standard gauge railway, they (the tunnels) were large bores and required a great many 12 x 12-inch timbers of coast fir to hold the badly cracked rock, especially close to the portals. Although the good circulation of dry air 8,700 feet above sea level minimized rot, the crushing weight eventually had its effect. Some of the 12-inch timbers were compressed to 6 inches or less in thickness and three of the tunnels gradually became unsafe for public use. Two of them were bypassed by rerouting the traffic over existing roads but “Tunnel Six” could not be replaced so easily,” recalled Colwell in the 1946 article.
This meant whittling several hundred feet of shelf road out of almost vertical cliff.
“Three men and a foreman, using modern equipment and high explosives, built 1,000 feet of new road under very difficult conditions in 200-man-days. They moved 4,700 yards of solid rock and 500 yards of loose rock and dirt with the aid of 3,100 pounds of C-3 plastic explosive,” he said of the tunnel rerouting in the late 1940s.
Tunnel Three partially collapsed in 1988 and an eight-mile section of the original road was closed as a result. The Old stage Road began being used as an alternate way of getting around this section.
In 1997, a group wanting to raise money to fix the tunnel and the U.S. Forest Service responded with a multi-use plan in 1999 that supported this effort.
In 1998, a group called the Short Line to Cripple Creek, Inc. successfully nominated the entire road as a National Historic Place.
Because of failure to secure enough funding for the repairs to the tunnel and controversy over what should be done, a new “scoping report” was ordered in late 2000 to look at the social and recreational impacts of repairing the road.
On February 13, 2006, a fire destroyed much of the timber supports in Tunnel Three and though arson was assumed to have caused the fire, the tunnel was then too dangerous to conduct a proper investigation.
Among the fables surrounding the road and the tunnels is a tale of a mythical school bus filled with elementary students on a field trip from a Cripple Creek elementary school that was buried in a tunnel collapse on Tunnel Three. Hauntings, characterized by bleeding walls, fingerprints on cars, giggling and laughing of school children in the first two tunnels and screams from Tunnel Three. No such accident ever occurred.
Additionally, the area has gained a reputation as a ‘body dump’ for homicide victims according to the lore. Recently, in February of last year, hikers found a human jaw bone and later Police investigators, using cadaver dogs, located additional human remains including ribs and long bones in the general area according to reports at the time.
###
Please see the following related posts:
• Monopoly or the Short Line
• Teddy visits Victor

Crying fire in a crowded mining camp


Colorado is not alone in fearing fire. But with the ramshackle, haphazard, tent-city way many of the mining districts sprang into being, coupled with high altitude, windy, dry weather in the state — entire cities could disappear in a puff of smoke.
“Nothing scared the residents more than the dreaded cry of fire.” according to Duane A. Smith in his recent book, San Juan Legacy: Life in the Mining Camps. “Camps and towns all heard it eventually. It was hoped that the fire laddies were up to the challenge.”
The fire could come from anywhere.
“A forest fire which was started from a camp fire last evening had been burning all day north of the mining camp of Gold Hill, a town of 500 inhabitants, fifteen miles from here. The timber was dry as powder, and a fierce wind carried it over five miles of dense timber in a short time,” read the Nov. 16, 1894, dispatch of the New York Times from Boulder.
“Fifty people came into Boulder this afternoon in wagons from Gold Hill. They report that the business men and miners were carrying what goods and property the could into the mining tunnels, and had abandoned hope of saving their stores and their dwellings.”
Early property loss estimates for the first day of that fire was over $1.5 million.
“The residents of Gold Hill, who have not come to Boulder, have assembled at the top of Horsefel Mountain, and are watching the progress of the flames as they consume their former homes. The wind is blowing furiously, and drives the fire before it in larges sheets of flame,” said the Times.
With the threat of fire came the development of various innovative warning systems.
Cripple Creek, for example, after suffering through two devastating fires early in its existence, was particularly jumpy.
“The town itself was visible from almost all of the railroads and mines …” wrote turn-of-the-century-era resident Raymond Colwell in 1962. “Occasionally, we would be awakened by a chorus of short, sharp toots from trains and mines in the dead of night, and we’d roll out to see where the fire was. A fire, even though just starting and very small, almost sure to be seen by some train crew or mine engineer who would start his whistle going, with the chorus taken up by others as they heard the alarm,” according to Colwell.
“Another commonly used fire alarm was five or six pistol shots as fast as the gun could be discharged. The townspeople were naturally fire conscious. Some of them remembered the big fires of 1896, and everyone realized that like all mining camps, another such conflagration could occur at any time.”
But, in addition to whistles and pistol shots, other ‘modern’ alarm methods were beginning to be used as well.
“I have a card listing the locations of the 26 fire alarm boxes in Cripple Creek, about 1903 or 1904,” Colwell said. “It would probably be difficult now to even locate some of the street intersections themselves, and I’m sure most of the buildings near them have been town down. The boxes were numbered from 5 to 45, and when a box was pulled, the number rang in all the stations, and also on a big bell on the Central station which could be heard all over town. Box Number 12, for instance would be one stroke, a pause, two strokes then a longer interval, and repeat. That was great for us kids, because if we were not otherwise engaged we knew just exactly where to head to see the excitement.”
Getting to the fire was also dangerous in the mining camps at times.
“Driving a spirited, excited team to a fire wagon could become quite a trick on some of the streets in Cripple Creek, especially when there was snow on the ground. Going uphill, the men used to hop off and push when the going got rough, but the hardest thing was to hold the outfit back when going downhill. I well remember one bad crackup when No. 2, The Old Town Company, came down Fourth Street and tried to turn on Eaton. The horses, a beautiful team, slid around and into the fire plug there and turned over. I believe the driver was fatally hurt and two other firemen put in the hospital. The wagon was completely wrecked, and I think one of the horses had to be shot,” recalled Colwell.
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