COBWEB CORNERS: On the west end of the yards

By Mel McFarland

       The Colorado Midland yards and shops extended to 25th Street. When the railroad was built, there was great optimism about the project. Businessmen and everyday people in Colorado City hoped for great prosperity and a new train station. The railroad only built a little office at 25th, and it served as the depot. At that, you had to walk all the way down to the big office building to buy a ticket. The newspapers carried regular stories about how this, the home of the Midland, ought to have a decent station.
       About a hundred years ago, a fine station was finally built near Fountain Creek at 25th Street. A few years later there were thoughts of an even better building when the Short Line, which only came as close as Bear Creek Canyon to Colorado City, announced a plan to build here. It would use the Midland to Colorado City, and swing around the Colorado/Philadelphia and Standard mills to Bear Creek. The plan never happened.
       In the 1890s, across the tracks from the depot was a factory where paint was made using area minerals. It provided paint for many projects for several years. A shop on Colorado Avenue was its main sales office. During a cold January night the paint works went up in flames. A few years later, the site was used as an ice warehouse. The Midland brought ice down from Lake George, and it was stored in two big barn-like buildings. Up until about 1910, most of the ice used in the area came from mountain lakes. Refrigeration equipment made this obsolete during World War I. Most of Colorado City's ice came from Divide and Lake George in special railroad cars. Ice wagons delivered the ice to homes. You could order home delivery of blocks of ice well into the 1950s, but it came from a couple of big plants in Colorado Springs. Many of us still call a refrigerator an "ice box" because that is what was used at one time!
       Across the creek at 25th, in the 1880s and '90s, was the Hassell iron works. It made lots of iron equipment and decorations used in homes and stores. Hassell is best remembered for its iron fences. Some of them can still be found. My favorite is at 27th and Kiowa. A plain-looking one, it was made from old boiler tubes from Midland locomotives. The boiler-maker lived in this house!