COBWEB CORNERS: The mystery mine
By Mel McFarland
I have talked about quarries in the past, but when I read a 1912 newspaper I went, “What!” It was about a copper mine near Old Colorado City! Not only that, but it was near Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie! So far I have not found much about how long it lasted nor just how big the deposit was, but what I have found is quite peculiar.
Driving 30th Street every day between Garden of the Gods and Colorado Avenue, I can only guess where this mine could have been. There are just a few clues in the newspaper articles. They make you expect some huge operation, but in this area that would stand out! The stories talk about several large shipments being moved by wagon down to the railroad. They would have had to be taken to a smelter, possibly in Utah. In one story, there is even the possibility of the railroad putting in a line to the mine. I know for sure, no railroad was ever built up 30th, or even west from Pikeview anywhere near present-day Garden of the Gods Road.
The Garden of the Gods area was well protected, as was Glen Eyrie, even though General Palmer had passed on four years earlier. Perhaps the mine was near where the big gravel quarry was located in the 1950s. That would have erased an earlier mine. The idea of mineable quantities and quality ore is quite amazing, but not unheard of. There are measurable quantities of copper in some of the rocks found around Manitou. A rock called Manitou Greenstone has copper in it. This rock was quite popular for building. It is harder and lasts longer than the varieties of sandstone found in the area.
It's hard to imagine big freight wagons rumbling up from Colorado City to a mine near the Garden of the Gods. The area then was mainly farming. As late as the 1940s, much of Colorado City's best vegetables came from what we know as Pleasant Valley. If anyone knows more about this mine, let me know.
I have one other attraction to mention. I've written about Cupps Cottages at 31st Street, but there was another spot, between 30th and where 31st is now, north of Pikes Peak Avenue, that was used by campers traveling in the days before motels. A grove of trees provided basic shelter for campers there until about 1950.