COBWEB CORNERS: Culture shock if you went back to 1900
By Mel McFarland
If you lived in Colorado City in 1900 there were several things you would notice. There have been so many cultural changes since then it is amazing. You made trips to the store almost every day, if you wanted fresh bread or meat. Hardly anyone had refrigeration. If they did it was an ice box, a wooden box lined with galvanized steel, or zinc with a big block of ice in it. Now I have talked about this before, but....
On Colorado, and other streets were these little neighborhood markets. Wagons delivered ice several times a week. There were several companies that did this. One of the sources was ice cut in the winter off lakes and stored in straw until needed. Some ice was brought in during the summer by the railroad. Colorado Springs had regular ice wagons that served Colorado City and Manitou. Fresh milk was also different. In the country, fresh milk was from the family cow. In town, milk was generally sold out of a three or five gallon can, from which the grocer poured just the amount each purchaser wanted.
Coal was needed for most of the kitchen stoves. Some had wood stoves for heat, but coal gives a better fire for cooking, On Cucharras Street, there were several coal dealers, they would deliver if it was a ton or more. The coal came from as far away as Raton, New Mexico. Local coal came from Franceville, and Pike View, but it was not the best fire. Then there was the job of taking out the ashes. Most everyone had an ash pit in the back.
Also out back, at most places, was the little facility known as an "outhouse." Until the 1900s, only a few had indoor plumbing, which required running water. Indoor plumbing often consisted of a hand pump in the kitchen. Most homes were lighted by coal oil lanterns. Most family homes were dark once the sun went down. Colorado City was unique, we had a gas system even before Colorado Springs! We had a good gas well in the Midland rail yards, and there were a couple of others too. Some of our houses had gas lights before electricity, and the pipes are still in a few old houses.
A family had plenty of work to do, just to handle things we think nothing of. Wash day was a real event. The clothes were hung on a line. Houses near the railroad dreaded the thought of a passing train. A smoky train could ruin a day's work, not to mention stray cinders leaving little holes, or the dirt from the mill piles!