Sunday, December 25, 2011

The 1933 Flood

Resulting from the (second) failure of Castlewood Dam; and resulting in the employment of a few thousand destitute individuals, and the building of Kenwood Dam.

[Portsmouth Times, August 4, 1933.]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spring Building has Begun

...right in the middle of the Creek! (That didn't work out so well.)

[RMN, February 8, 1862, p. 3.]

Saturday, December 10, 2011


[Littleton Independent, July 26, 1901, p. 3.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Competing Summer White House

Did Walker steal the idea from somebody else?

[Colorado Transcript, July 20, 1911, p. 1.]

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cycling West

Anybody got a copy?

[Colorado Transcript, June 19, 1898, p. 7.]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"John Brisben Walker..." by Rosemary Fetter

Walker article by Rosemary Fetter, Colorado Gambler, May 19, 2010

Walker Buys Morrison

[Colorado Transcript, November 1, 1906, p. 5.]

Garden of the Titans -- probably refers to Red Rocks in this case.

Walker Locombobile Up Pikes Peak

[Daily Journal (Telluride), August 13, 1901, p. 1.]

"Locomobile" was actually a brand-name for early autos, but in this case probably refers to a Stanley Steamer.

Mt. Falcon Trail is an Old Auto Road

[Colorado Transcript, August 27, 1908, p. 1.]

Walker and W. J. Bryan, 1897

[Aspen Daily Times, June 13, 1897, p. 1.]

Pardon while I skip way ahead for a while. Trying to sort out John Brisbane Walker, the summer White House, the incline railroad, the Stanley Steamers, the roads and railways, Cosmopolitan, Riverside Park, various "castles"...

Digitized Papers From Ol' England

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Barney Ford Restaurant Acknowledged by Rocky

I mentioned that the RMN never gave a shout-out to Barney Ford. Well, here it is.

[RMN, June 22, 1865.]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Captain Robbins Returns

Just keeping tabs on this fellow. If he had a twitter account I could follow it.
[RMN, June 30, 1865.]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Angry George

[RMN, June 26, 1865.]


[RMN, June 21, 1865, p. 2.]

This was nicely phrased. The latest salvo in the Browne-was-loaded-when-he-rejoiced-about-Evans'-ouster thing. But is the information correct?

The brewery in the first bit -- Zang's? Zing!

No Chinese Allowed

A lot of Chinese would die violently in Colorado coal mines, later on. Also that whole "Hop Alley" thing...

[RMN, June 20, 1865, p.3.]

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bayard Taylor Hated Central City

Travel writer Bayard Taylor visited Colorado in 1866 and the NYT published a series of letters about his trip (which have been compiled in book form). At one point Taylor spent a day or two in Central City, and was appalled by the experience.

Before leaving Central City, I must say that it is the most outrageously expensive place in Colorado. You pay more and get less for the money than in any other part of the world. I am already tired of these bald, clumsy shaped, pock-marked mountains; this one long, windy, dusty street, with its perpetual menace of fire; and this never-ending production of "specimens" and offer of "feet," and shall joyfully say good-by to-morrow morning.

Maybe that's why Taylor's book of letters remains so obscure in Colorado history circles. I wonder, if he were to visit Central today, would he feel that it somehow offers even less for the buck than it did back then.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hunt Denied Possession of Squires

[RMN, June 19, 1865, p. 3.]

Chiv Rides Coach

The June 19, 1865 Rocky is a real good one. It continues with the Browne fued -- the AG denies he was drunk while crying out in ecstasy "who's governor NOW!!" upon Evans' removal -- has another great Squires tidbit and this note on the movements of Chivington, maybe headed East for some sort of testimony, not sure. Sure does seem like a fat target crossing the plains in a civilian stage coach.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mr. Arnett Taps In On 'Hoppers

This Arnett fellow seems to have a much more developed sense of how to deal with the grasshoppers. Who does he think he is? Some kind of grasshopper guru?

[RMN, June 15, 1865]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who's Governor Now Beeyotch

This one cracks me up. Evans removed, Browne rejoices in the streets, yelling "Who's governor now!" into the Denver night.

[RMN, June 15, 1865, p.2.]

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Squires Claims Soule Fired First

This bit from Santa Fe Gazette was reprinted in a few local papers. The alleged statement of Squires, suspiciously detailed.

[Daily Mining Journal, June 14, 1865.]

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mr. Green Can NOT Control the Grasshoppers

Scourge of the plains lives another day...

[RMN, June 12, 1865, p. 2.]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Uncle Sam is Rich Enough to Give Us All A Damn Farm

With people talking so much about 'traditional American values' and associated what-not it's fun to remember this old-fashioned value: Free Land!! I wonder if any of the current crop of govt.-haters can trace the origins of their family fortunes to a 160-acre homestead acquired virtually for free from said govt. in the 1800s. That's one heck of a way to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Additional acreage could be taken for timber claims. Successful homesteaders quickly added vast land holdings to their original parcels. Yee-haw!

[RMN, June 13, 1865]

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mr. Green Can Control the Grasshoppers

Good God. Who knows what stew of victorian poisons Mr. Green is slinging out there.

[RMN, June 9, 1865, p. 3.]

Where is Shoup?

[RMN, June 3, 1865, p. 3.]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crib Poisoned

Dogs had an interesting set of challenges to overcome in early Denver.

[RMN, May 23, 1865.]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where Was Soule When He Was Shot?

The article in the RMN about the assassination of Soule says he was moving along Lawrence and was shot near F Street and Lawrence (15th and Lawrence). It also says he was shot in front of Dr. Cunningham's house, but that was at F and Arapahoe, according to Cunningham's ad (see below).

I guess I would like to know right where Soule was and which direction he was walking when he encountered the shooter.

Both of these intersections, currently, are some pretty dead locations, monuments to the ill-conceived post-modern development boom that reshaped downtown in the 1970s. There's very little going on along that section of 15th. Almost no destinations there for a citizen on foot. The view is dismal. There is the Fed Reserve Bank, taking up an entire city block right in the middle of downtown and fenced to the world. When trucks come and go there guards come out with shotguns and face the meager scattering of bystanders. Very welcoming. Isn't that what the Fed Center is for? Oh, that's right. The Fed is not a part of the govt., but a privately owned corporation. There is a parking lot, and the back of the new Four Seasons, six or eight stories of bare nothing. There is a black high-rise. On one corner, a failed and empty restaurant space. Jane Jacobs could use this section of town as an example of how bad urban planning kills a city for decades.

The Rocky plays up the angle of Soule's enemies from his Provost Marshall duties. Byers is playing games here, as always. Soule told Price and others he expected to be killed for his testimony about Sand Creek. And Chivington very publically endorsed the killing of "Indians and their confederates," reported in the same paper:

[RMN, April 24, 1865.]

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strange Timing

Just a little something I've never really considered before -- The proximity of Soule's assassination to this other event, the marriage of his young bride's mother (Sarah Coberly) to her second husband William Crull. I don't know, it's probably nothing. But it is somewhat weird timing. Then, rather than move back in with her mom in Huntsville, Hersa heads to Kansas to stay with Soule's brother. Perhaps there is an explanation in the letters, I don't know.

Access to Denver

Daily Mining Journal pokes fun at Denver's situation in the high water season. Somewhat cut off at times.

[DMJ, May 12, 1865, p. 3.]

Hunting the Shooter

Squires would have been better off going north.

[DMJ, May 11, 1865, p. 3.]

..Not that he didn't escape in the end anyway.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Coberly-Crull Marriage

Speaking of Sarah Coberly, here's the announcement of her marriage to William Crull in May 1865.

Crull's big red barn was a well-known landmark on the Denver-Colorado City route; a one-room log cabin which may have been built by him is still standing near the Tomah Road exit on I-25, a preserved historical site.

The marriage didn't last. It was Sarah's second of three. For reasons not entirely clear, some in my family are under the impression that William Crull abused his adopted daughter Lizzie Field Crull.

[RMN, May 10, 1865, p. 2.]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

County Tax List 1872

This helpful list of largest taxpayers in the county from 1871-2 has a bunch of familiar names including but not limited to Barney Ford, all the big developers, D.C. Oakes and Sarah Crull, formerly Mrs. Coberly of Coberly's Halfway House. Sarah Coberly was one of the first white women in the Territory and, through mysterious circumstances, the adopted mother of my great great grandmother Lizzie.

[Daily Denver Times, September 7, 1872, p. 4.]

Barney Ford Curiously Absent From Rocky Mountain News

The Commonwealth offered this shout-out to Barney Ford in 1863. There doesn't seem to be any mention at all in the Racist Mountain News.

[Denver Weekly Commonwealth, August 20, 1863, p. 3.]

Saturday, June 11, 2011


[RMN, September 4, 1863, p.3.]

Saw this while looking at Barney Ford Peoples' Restaurant ads. 1863 was pretty quiet. Who is the third person mentioned, the '"best military figure in Colorado"' -- Wynkoop?

The Peoples' Restaurant

Yesterday I happened by 1514 Blake Street, and learned via a plaque there that the very same building was the longtime site of Barney Ford's People's Restaurant (and a barber shop in the basement). Other than seeing the ads in the Racist Mountain News I don't know too much about Ford or his restaurant, but I know he was an escaped slave, and that the restaurant was a popular institution. The modest building has been standing since 1863. The original structure was destroyed in the "great fire."

The second selection shows that Ford's restaurant passed to Riethmann for a time. Later ads imply it's back in Ford's hands.

I'll post some more about Ford in coming days. In the meantime, go check out 1514 Blake and the surrounding block of old buildings to get a sense what this bustling little business center was like 150 years ago. The India House restaurant is the current occupant, so you can even get some sense of what it was like to eat here. Just imagine hoof-clomping wagons instead of cars, and boots stomping on the boardwalk. And gunfire.

[RMN, September 4, 1863, p. 3.]

[RMN, June 1, 1866, p. 1.]

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Photographic Album

[RMN, May 1, 1865.]

A "certain Photographic Album..."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On General Principles

[RMN, April 7, 1865, p. 2.]

Richmond at Sand Creek: Shooting female prisoners and scalping them.

Why Don't You Marry It Then

[RMN, March 31, 1865.]

This jab at Susan B. Anthony is a weird little twist in the Rocky's irrepressible racism. If she likes negroes so much, maybe she should marry one. Wouldn't that be totally wacky? Racist Mountain News already went off on "miscegenation" in another issue or two.

Another reminder that these Colorado Unionists, represented by Byers, are also racists, overwhelmingly, who would prefer their Union to keep the slavery if possible.

On Dit: Hunt

I like to monitor all the Hunt news, you may have noticed. As did Byers. Makes you wonder if A.C. picked up the paper that morning and spewed his coffee.

Also another bit on oil. The papers were obsessed with oil/petroleum in those days. What it's being used for, how rich people are getting off of it. And not a car in sight.

[RMN, March 29, 1865.]

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bowen and the Box

Notorious alcoholic Leavitt Bowen dead in Denver, then eulogized by Chivington. Lots of people were. Officers dropping like flies. And another story that reminds us how things have changed.

[RMN, March 24, 1865.]

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sea Change

[RMN, March 23, 1865, p. 2.]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Keep on Rockin'

[RMN, March 18, 1865.]

Live it up my friend, not much time left.

Overland Camel Company

From Omaha to the West Coast. This idea has been associated with Jefferson Davis, pre-Civil War; I wrote a little about that in my book Cyclist's Manifesto.

[RMN, March 15, 1865, p. 2.]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Out-Vindicating the Vindicators

[RMN, Oct. 24, 1865.]

E. Scudder on the vindication tip.

Union Party Resolves to Denounce Sand Creek Haters

Here we see an early and particularly frenzied spasm in the campaign to restate and reshape the Sand Creek story, at the Union Party convention in Denver, October 16, 1865. As you can see, nothing less than the moral standing of America in the Christian world is at stake. According to Lamar, The Far Southwest, Stephen Decatur is the point-man behind this campaign.

[RMN, Oct. 17, 1865, p. 1.]

In the same issue, Chivington announces a candidacy for congress by telegram from Omaha. He and Evans had been removed from the Union party scene after Sand Creek came to light.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dunn and Baldwin

Byers was always commenting on the various officers who were in town, hinting at their demeanor and politics.

[RMN, March 11, 1865]

Lt. Clark Dunn was in town to testify before the Commission; he told them that he had had an engagement with some Indians near the Platte in April 1864, testimony meant to establish the hostility of the tribes in Chivington's defense.

The day after Sand Creek, with the bulk of the soldiers camped near the killing zone, Dunn asked Chivington if it would be okay to execute Jack Smith, the halfbreed son of the trader John Smith. Jack Smith had been living with the Indians in their village and was taken captive by the Third. Chivington gave some weasily non-answer, to the effect of, you know what I think about that, and at some point afterward an unidentified soldier cut a hole in the lodge where Smith was being held and shot him through the hole.

Lt. Horace Baldwin (Independent Battery) was named by Soule as one of many soldiers who may have ended up with some of the ponies from Sand Creek. He was also heard to speak ill of Chivington at Ft. Lyon before the massacre, and with several other officers signed a letter of support for Wynkoop on Nov. 24, 1864.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Delay the Pay

Paymaster Crawford delaying payments to 3rd, claiming illness. This after rumors had appeared in RMN to the effect that nobody was getting paid at all, and congressmen spoke of withholding pay. But the companies were all planning on gathering and marching in uniform at various times to get their meager compensation, so potentially a very dicey situation was at hand. Denver was always on the verge of some sort of mob riot in those days.

[RMN, March 4, 1865, p. 3.]

About a week later, the paper reported that Crawford was feeling a bit better.