COBWEB CORNERS: The big storm of 1913
By Mel McFarland
I mentioned the storm of 1913 last issue. The city got some three feet of snow over night. It pretty well shut everything down. Few cars were around, much less finding one that would start. The streetcars finally had to quit running. One car was stuck in deep snow up on the north end. The Manitou car would have been too, had the Motorman not decided at about 30th street to turn and head back downtown to the car barn. The Midland trains kept running, but the Short Line, whose route the present-day Gold Camp Road follows, had to close because of deep snow.
Once the storm stopped, the effort began to return things to normal. People dug out sidewalks, and the streetcar line sent out its plow. The city had no plows. What roads got cleared resulted from work by the residents along them, or by the street car. Colorado Avenue had drifts up to five feet high. The Midland had two big snow plows. They were sent to clear out Cripple Creek and Victor. Plows from other railroads up in Nebraska and Kansas were borrowed to help clear the Short Line. Once the Midland plows got back to town, they were asked to run on the streetcar tracks. This had never been done before. There was a place down on Moreno Street where the big rotary plow could get onto the streetcar line, but the steam engine that pushed it could not go on most of the tracks because the corners were too sharp.
Could the snow plow get up Colorado Avenue? The line was easy to get to, and had few sharp corners. The snow was deepest between about 8th and 24th streets. Getting to 8th was no problem, and up to about 15th was not too bad either, but then the fun started. The plow normally blew the snow a hundred yards or more off the tracks. Things went pretty well until about 15th, where there were more houses along the street. After about two blocks, they were forced to quit. No, not because of the deep snow, but because the plow had already broken a couple dozen nice windows and blown in several front doors. The power of the rotary was way too much for Colorado Avenue!