COBWEB CORNERS: The coming of the Midland
By Mel McFarland
In the summer of 1887, this little community was changing. It was the liveliest spot on the Front Range! Store buildings and residences were being erected as fast as possible, limited only by available materials and crews to do the work. Not a businessman in town could report poor results over the spring months. Even the post office was reporting four times as much mail handled as in the previous four years!
There were twelve new saloons in Colorado City, all of which were reporting profitable business. P.H. Hupenpole was constructing a two-story building on the avenue with a large store space on the first floor. The few hotels in town were full, and men with tents could be seen in vacant lots every evening. The local builders had jobs for every man available. New stores on Colorado Avenue were going up, and older ones were being cleaned up. Lots were selling, and new streets were being cut in. There was talk of construction of new three- and four-story buildings along the avenue.
So what was this boom? More than 200 men were employed at the new Colorado Midland yards along Fountain Creek. Many of the workers were stone masons and carpenters, who would be replaced by the actual railroad workers once the railroad actually started running. At its peak, the Colorado Midland would have almost 600 employees in Colorado City. Many of them bought lots south of the yards in Anthony Bott's addition, also known as Midland Heights or South Colorado City. Main Street, which we now know as Bott Avenue, even saw stores and shops being built.
To the south, the glass works was still in the future, but there was a Colorado City bottling company putting beer in bottles shipped in by the keg. Above Midland Heights someday would be Glass Town. Anthony Bott was also working on another modern step for Colorado City. The proceeds from his addition were financing construction of a water system. The homes in town would have reliable water, piped to everyone who wanted it. Colorado Springs already had such a system, and a reservoir in Bear Creek was in the works. All of this fired by the construction of the Colorado Midland.