COBWEB CORNERS: A mountain lion chase in 1885

By Mel McFarland

       This story came out of an 1885 newspaper. It all started up in Bear Creek Canyon, near present-day Skyway. Several Colorado City men were up in the canyon hunting when they came across a mountain lion. The animal, like our hunters, was probably looking for a deer.
       The fellows circled around it. The men had dogs with them and these animals were trained in hunting. The lion was aware of its situation, and if not for the dogs, might have been able to return into the mountains. The dogs drove the lion down a valley, and I would think this is now where Lower Gold Camp runs. In 1885 there was nothing in this area. The animal was chased east toward Fountain Creek, and what would now be Eighth Street and into where the power plant is located. In the time of this chase that would be open land, followed by the Denver and Rio Grande railroad yards. The first touches of the city were just across the railroad yards!
       The hunters and dogs followed the mountain lion through the yards, right toward the city center! They had already come about three miles! All were showing signs of getting tired, but the chase went on. They ran through the railroad yards and lumber yards and then past the city's shops. A pedestrian stepping onto the streets might have gotten an unpleasant brush with something wild.
       The mountain lion then led its pursuers north to the Denver and New Orleans railroad's yards on present day Sahwatch Street and almost to Colorado Avenue before heading south along Cascade Avenue toward the county jail (about where the Pikes Peak Center stands now).
       Near the jail, the cat was roped like a calf, and it was finished running. As you might expect, this attracted quite a crowd, being so close to downtown! Eventually the dogs and the other riders caught up with the scene. The story does not go into just what happened next, but I would assume it was not "catch and release!"
       It is still not unusual for residents up in Skyway to have a mountain lion come visit, but now it might get chased by a motorcycle!