COBWEB CORNERS: Landmarks near the Colonelís place
By Mel McFarland
Now that the Colonel's old place at 31st and Colorado is coming down, how about remembering a few landmarks from that area? Perhaps you followed Howard Smith's Barbeque epic. He covered the blocks from 30th to 32nd pretty well, but who remembers his first sit-down place in Red Rock Shopping Center?
Where the KFC was (and where the new one will be) sat a fine big old house. Around it were a variety of cottages known as Cupp's Cottages. It was one of the first "motels" in Colorado City. This lot was used by travelers way back to the opening of roads for automobiles, but many of the area's citizens had more unkind words for them. There was a fine restaurant, about where Longs Drug sits, called the Fireside Lounge. A fire ruined it, but it sat as a hulk for a long time until the shopping center idea came along.
The local Safeway has had an interesting history. The one it replaced sat where the parking lot is, and an earlier one is now a church up off Fontmore. But the best old Safeway is the current Goodwill store at 23rd and Colorado. Hundreds of Safeway stores were built in this design all over the West, including where the county judicial building is located on Vermijo.
At 31st and Colorado is the little white house where Earl James lived 50 years ago. There was another house next to it, between it and Wendy's. Where Wendy's sits was a large cottage motel run by the Hartley family for many years. I once lived about six months in a cottage where the dumpsters now sit. It is fun pointing out the landmark! Anyway, Earl James had a little gas station right across the street, where 31st now goes through, and he built the campground right behind it.
The route of Highway 24 from Eighth Street to the bridge in Manitou follows the tracks and yards of the Colorado Midland from 1887 to 1918. It was the Midland Terminal from that date until 1949. Many of the employees lived along Colorado, Cucharras and Vermijo. In a note to their wives, the engineers often added a special toot or two as they headed for Cripple Creek each afternoon. Since the trains stopped running, Colorado Avenue has not gotten any quieter - now there are car horns!