Meet a Westside Pioneer!
What kind of career have you had?
Upon graduation from Colorado Springs High School in 1942, I went to work for Alexander Film Company. Following my father’s death in June 1942, my mother and I bought the home where I still reside.
I married Steve Muskwinski in 1946, and after the birth of our daughter in 1947 I became a “domestic diva.”
Did you have children?
I have one daughter, Marvie Randall, who still resides in Colorado Springs. She grew up on the Westside, attending Buena Vista and West Junior and graduating from Palmer High.
Can you tell us about your grandparents/parents?
My grandmother, Mamie Nye, was born in 1863, shortly after the family settled in Bear Creek Canyon. She married Jack Gillespie. Her father, John Nichols Nye (my great grandfather), was a veteran of the Civil War and moved here from Ohio to be with his brother, Bill Nye. My father, Arthur Gillespie, was born in Colorado City in 1890 in the house located in the 2700 block of West Colorado Avenue where the Diamond Shamrock Gas Station now stands.
My maternal grandparents came from Wales and settled in Fremont County, living in Coal Creek and Florence. My mother was born in Coal Creek in 1891. Mayme Williams, my mom, moved to Colorado Springs to work. While she was with friends, she met my father on “Busy Corner” in Colorado Springs, and after getting to know each other for one month they married May 20, 1917.
My father was a machinist and his boss, A.E. Carlton, asked him to go to Portland (Colorado) to work. Since I was fast approaching my entrance into the world, he took my mother and older brother with him, and there I was born. My parents moved back to Colorado Springs when I was 2 months old. I attended Midland Elementary, as my father had, as well as Buena Vista Elementary, North Junior High, and I graduated from Colorado Springs High.
George Cross’ Store, with his wonderful candy counter, soda fountain and ice cream. A penny sure bought a lot of candy back then! … The Colorado Midland Railroad making its way up Ute Pass... Chug races, which were held south of Fairview Cemetery… The neighborhood grocery stores that sold penny candy. I especially remember Howard’s Grocery, which was located on the corner of Bott and 25th Street. I remember that was where we bought school supplies. I would be given a nickel to buy pencils. The best ones were 2 for a nickel, but they also had penny pencils with tiny erasers and the pencil sharpener loved them. I would buy two-penny pencils; I then had 3 cents left for candy. That worked well until my mom found out, thanks to my older brother, that I was buying the penny pencils and they didn’t last as long. Soon, I was escorted to Howard’s where Mom purchased my pencils. Yes, I did love candy when I was young and still do… The greatest memory was having a carefree childhood that allowed me to be free to play and grow.
I love to knit, and I knit prayer shawls and baby hats for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. I also knit slippers for my family, friends and neighbors. I love to listen to books on tape/CD discs.
What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed?
The small neighborhood grocery stores, movie theaters and Hershey’s Restaurant.
What has stayed that you wish had gone? Nothing.
How about the way things have changed? I wish we could have a Target on the Westside. Of course the traffic is always a concern, but there is still a calmness here that you do not find in other areas of Colorado Springs.
Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here?
I think the Westside is great. The people who live here are the best. My neighbors are friendly, and I enjoy the easy pace of life here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.