Westside Pioneer Home Page

COBWEB CORNERS: Early Colorado City yearned for classy Midland station

By Mel McFarland

Feb. 5, 2019
       In the news of today we have serious problems, but the problems faced by residents of early Colorado City provide an interesting perspective. Let's go back to 1890 today.
       It was an interesting time; the city was doing really well. The Colorado Midland railroad was more or less complete, and a lot of changes were just around the corner. In a year, everything would have a new look.
       For one thing, the Denver and Rio Grande railroad had upgraded its Colorado City station. The 10-year-old line only went to Manitou, but there was enough business to rival the Midland. Originally the D&RG had just a little office, and its station in downtown Colorado Springs was not much better. But the competition picked up in 1886, when the Midland and the Santa Fe both became active. In 1890, the D&RG boasted about its Colorado City station getting a new paint job, inside and out.
       It was different with the Midland. According to articles in old newspapers, Colorado City wanted changes. The Midland depot was described in quite interesting terms as something akin to a dump! When would Colorado City's own railroad build a station showing pride in the city?
       In searching through the old building records of the Midland, I have not been able to identify a Colorado City station at all prior to 1890. Many of the station
The Colorado Midland railroad station was located off 25th Street (south of the rail line, which is present-day Highway 24) from 1891 until a fire burned it down in 1931.
Courtesy of Mel McFarland
functions were being handled at the office building by the roundhouse. The passenger trains generally did not stop for Colorado City unless there was a need to.
       Finally a little building was found, one that had been built for another purpose. This structure, referred to as "the old shack," suffered a fire in 1891, and the Midland owners decided to build a real station.
       Observers pointed out that Manitou had not one, but two depots - could the Midland not build something equal to either? It is interesting to see in building inventories a structure listed as "old" when it had been built just a couple of years before.
       A spot was selected at the west end of the yards, where it could serve several purposes and be convenient for passengers to and from Colorado City. It opened later in 1891. That spot today is about where 25th Street ends south of the Midland Expressway (Highway 24). Not a spectacularly attractive structure, it barely satisfied Colorado City leaders. Over the years, it was modified and maintained until a fire destroyed it in 1931.

(Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

       Would you like to respond to this column? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)