COBWEB CORNERS: The Log Cabin anniversary
By Mel McFarland
It was a hundred years ago when the first residents thought about saving the log cabin that had been the Sam Wah Laundry building. The Ladies Improvement Society planned to move the building - reputedly the first state capitol building - to the freshly developing Bancroft Park. It was then sitting on the northeast comer of present-day 26th and Colorado. It would be moved to a better site, on one of the sites suggested for the new Colorado City Library. The new library was, as we know, built across the street on Pikes Peak Avenue. The log cabin was intended for use by the Colorado City Chamber of Commerce.
The history of the building is often given, but even back in 1905 there were differences of opinion as to the truth of some of the tales. In the 1890s, a dynamite blast nearly destroyed it. It was used as the El Paso County Courthouse in the first years of the county. Irving Howbert had an office in it following its courthouse days. One of its more notorious uses was vigilantes planning lynchings in the building!
According to Anthony Bott, one of the city's founders, there were no lynchings in Colorado City, but one incident came close. When there was an Indian raid in 1865, the Everharts were living in the cabin and young Charlie was killed in the raid.
Bott said that the capitol had actually been in another building, located where the Colorado City Creamery is now. He also said that when the Rio Grande line was built to Manitou in 1890, it was a ticket and telegraph office.
Indeed there were strong opinions 100 years ago that the building should be saved and fixed up as a landmark for the future. Some of the local citizens wanted to see it near the corner of the schoolhouse block, flag pole behind it and a mounted cannon in front, surrounded by green lawn and flowers. There, when people stopped to have a look, it could be something the town could take pride in.
But it eventually sat empty and derelict again (at least until being restored at Bancroft Park in recent years). It is a fact that the cabin is one of the oldest buildings in the area. It is also one of the most traveled buildings I've ever heard of. It sat for years on the golf course at the Broadmoor, and near the capitol building in Denver in 1959.