COBWEB CORNERS: Farmers Highway and other names
By Mel McFarland
I was a bit stumped recently when I mentioned Farmers Highway, and the person asked, “Where is that?” Long before the roads around here had numbers they had names.
Farmers Highway is now known as Highway 94 or the road to Schriever Air Force Base. It was an important link between the farms and ranches of eastern Colorado and Colorado Springs. From up on Pikes Peak you can see how it goes straight east, while it is harder to find US 24! All year, in the past, you would see traffic on this road in and out of town. Farmers would herd horses, cows and sheep along the road into Colorado Springs or out depending if they bought or sold. There was a big sale, mainly on Thursday or Friday for these animals, and it was done only about a block from the Antlers Hotel up into the late '40s. Many of the city folk never knew, unless they saw a herd move! Later the sale lot became a parking lot, and a big sale barn was built near Platte and Circle. There was even a big feed mill there, and off and on a slaughter house. Some may remember the area because of Blondie's, a remnant of the early gas stations. By the time this area was used, the farmers were mainly trucking their stock in for sale. Eventually the main sales moved out to Calhan.
Part of the problem resulted when they started delivering mail outside of town. It was important to have a distinctive name for each road; then numbers started being assigned. First they were just in numerical order, starting with one, but as more people moved in, that became a headache! Manitou had another problem. No not the hilly streets! Up on those hills were hundreds of tents. Well not just tents; most were seasonal houses with wooden floors. Over the years most of these would become cabins, and even today have full-time residents. The problem was that all these tents were in big open areas. The answer was to give them names. Commonly found were state names, flower names, and a few rustic animal names. I read the old newspapers continually, and read of returning people staying year after year in the same cottage. I have no idea where it was, but I know the name. Maybe someday someone up in Manitou can share with me which one was which. The mailman knew!