COBWEB CORNERS: New schools in Colorado City
By Mel McFarland
In 1888, there was only one school in Colorado City. That was about to change! As many of us have seen over the years, when communities grow, often the schools lag behind. The Colorado City situation was much the same, although the city fathers believed that education was important to the city's future.
Colorado City's School District 1 was already building the new Bancroft School to replace the previous school on the courthouse site (where Bancroft Park is now). The site started being used for schools after Colorado Springs became the county seat in 1873. Before being torn down in 1926, the Bancroft School also offered junior high and high school classes.
In 1889, District 1 built a school south of the railroad to serve railroad families. This was the first Midland School. It proved to be too small, and a much larger second one was built at the same South 25th Street location in 1902. It still remains in use, though not as a school.
I have previously told the story of District 1's first Whittier school, which opened in the 1890s in what had been the original Old Town City Hall at present-day 29th and Colorado.
Two years after Colorado City became part of Colorado Springs in 1917, District 1 merged into District 11.
The churches of Colorado City took a bit longer to establish themselves. Prior to 1888 there were no churches in town. There had been services held in homes, and at least one store, but the ministers came from Colorado Springs. In 1888 the Methodists and Roman Catholics were planning to build in Colorado City. Just 10 years later there would be many churches in town representing most denominations.
The city government was looking to build too! A city hall had been commissioned, as well as a fire station, police station and jail. The first city hall did not work out, as it was too far west. That's what became the first Whittier schoolhouse. The second city hall was on 26th Street, just south of Colorado.
The early fire protection was pretty basic. A paid fire department only came in around the turn of the century. In 1888 there were 30 volunteers. The railroad even had a hose team and volunteers. Thanks to the Colorado Springs water lines running through Colorado City, water was available for homes, businesses and fire hydrants.