COBWEB CORNERS: The coming of Alexander Industries
By Mel McFarland
In an earlier article, I mentioned the Alexander Industries business in Colorado City in about 1930. Some of you may not be familiar with their work. The company started in Englewood, Colorado, building airplanes. Later one of the founders branched off into doing film work. In early 1928, their small factory burned to the ground. Rather than rebuild in the Denver area, they decided to move south to a spot with more land available.
Denver newspapers and business leaders were not happy with Alexander's plan to move south. Temporary quarters for the company were found in many of the empty buildings in Colorado City. The old town was thrilled with the possibility of new jobs. In only one day, trucks began to roll into town with sewing machines and equipment to build airplanes. It took 40 trucks to make the move. Tables were ready for the stitching of the cloth coverings for the airplanes. A woodworking shop moved into a building on Colorado Avenue. On the north end of Colorado Springs, land was laid out for large factory buildings. Some of these buildings are still standing north of the K-Mart store on North Nevada Avenue. A crew of 150 worked on the factory, while workers readied parts in buildings all over town.
The factory site has since been used as a rodeo ground and race track for horses as well as automobiles. At one time the El Paso County Fair was even held on the site. One of the interesting sights was seeing the finished airplanes rolled over the Santa Fe railroad tracks to a landing field that was built in the summer of 1928 north of present-day Fillmore Street. North Nevada was extended through the area and became the main road to Denver about the same time. Fortunately, there was not much traffic, but it must have been fun getting an airplane across the highway.
Once the buildings were all finished, the little shops in Colorado City were moved to the main plant. The company built several hundred airplanes before World War II, but only a couple are known to have survived. One is in the aircraft museum at old Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.