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COBWEB CORNERS: The annexation of Colorado City

By Mel McFarland

       This is the 100th anniversary of Colorado City being annexed into Colorado Springs. The vote took place in April 1917.
       It was an interesting time. Not everyone was happy with the deal, but overall it was a fairly well-accepted solution to a few big problems that Colorado City was dealing with.
       The idea had been proposed for a number of years.
       Colorado Springs at the time had at least four newspapers, some of which barely mentioned Colorado City unless they had to! One of these was the Telegraph. On the other hand, the largest paper, the Gazette, had an office in Colorado City.
       The Colorado City paper had started in 1889 as the Iris. It changed its name to the Colorado City Independent, then to the Independent and then (after the annexation, which it supported editorially) to the Colorado Springs Independent. Do not confuse it with the present paper of that name.
       The annexation brought visible changes to both cities, including the redoing of street numbers and the elimination of certain duplicated names. The joining of the libraries and school districts went fairly well. The utility services were not what they are today, so that was not a problem.
       The Colorado City government was happy to turn over its problems to the bigger town. That was the source of the greatest friction. Colorado Springs officials felt that it was they who were getting the worst part of the bargain! Most of the "social" differences between the two towns had been settled years before, including when Colorado City closed its saloons! In 1920, Prohibition would take in the whole country.
       People on the Westside were trying to deal with a new name, West Colorado Springs, but a few held onto Colorado City. Even the Midland changed the name on its yard from “Colorado City” to “West Colorado Springs” (although the railroad property was actually outside the city limits).
       The name, "Old Colorado City," would not be introduced for almost 50 more years. The original name could not be used because by then a town south of Pueblo was calling itself Colorado City.
       At the time of the annexation, one of the biggest questions was what would happen to the Midland, which was scheduled to close. An auction was held at the depot, but instead of a junk company buying it, the new owner was Albert E. Carlton, who wanted to keep it running. In August 1918, the Colorado Midland did shut down its line west of Divide. The Midland Terminal picked up the service to the Cripple Creek gold fields. That ended in 1949.

(Posted 3/31/17; 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.

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