COBWEB CORNERS: Just a cottage
By Mel McFarland
When I was growing up in Colorado City in the 1940s, there were many tourist cottages along Colorado Avenue. Motels were still pretty rare, except closer to Manitou. The cottages dated back to the 1920s, for the most part. Some are still with us. After World War II, many people, my parents included, lived in these cottages in the winter, when rates were low. In the summer they might move, or just pay the higher rates. It was the 1950s before my parents could afford to rent a full house, three rooms that it was.
The normal cottage had maybe two rooms, living room and bedroom, like you might find in a motel today. In some cases, a cottage was where you might expect a garage to be. Some of these were later remodeled into garages; few had been before. Kitchen areas were rare, my folks cooked on a "hot plate" and did the dishes in the bathroom sink. You can still find some cottages along Colorado between 8th and 30th, but 50 years ago there were many more. There were a few on Pikes Peak Avenue, not many on the streets south of Colorado. Prior to being tourist cabins, some had been rooms for single men who worked in the mills.
When the first motels came in, many used similar cottages and were called "cottage courts." There were several on the west end of Colorado Avenue. Today you might recognize the old Bungalow Court and the Amarillo Hotel. In the spot where Red Rocks Center stands there were two or three - Cupps Cottages being the one I remember as lasting the longest. Some of the older motels in Manitou still have these style buildings.
Many people, such as my parents, did not have cars and used the city buses to get around. Most of that time my dad worked at the Golden Cycle Mill and walked to work. A few fellow workers had cars, but still most of them walked to the mill. When I look at the pictures of the mill, and the railroad yards, I do not see parking lots for employee vehicles. In addition to that, the wives would walk to one of the many neighborhood grocery stores I have talked about.
I have fun pointing out the spot in the Wendy's parking lot where I used to live. I have photos of my sister and me in front of some of these cottages we lived in. Years ago we spent some time considering making modern versions for her children. When we found the spots, they would not have believed someone had a house there! So we abandoned the idea.