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COBWEB CORNERS: Unsolved 1946 fire destroyed Glen Eyrie School

By Mel McFarland

July 27, 2018
       I have received several comments in the past about Glen Eyrie School. I recently found a newspaper story about when it burned down that I will share today.
       The building was outside the grounds of General William Palmer's well-known Glen Eyrie Castle, near a small community just below (west of) 30th Street. At one time the street went through the town, but it was moved due to "congestion." The school sat about where the city in recent years has dug out a flood-control pond.
       According to Harriet Seibel in her 1975 book, A History of the Colorado Springs School District 11, the school was started in 1888 to serve the people who lived in or near Glen Eyrie, including the children of Palmer's employees.
       The one-room school educated grades 1 to 8. Originally, it was its own district (covering just six square miles), but in later years it became part of District 11.
       The school closed in 1930, Seibel writes. After that, the building was mostly unused except in the summer. The community had
From 1888 until it was destroyed by fire in 1946, the one-room Glen Eyrie School building stood west of 30th Street.
Luther McKnight photo; from "A History of the Colorado Springs School District 11"
largely gone away, as people moved down into Colorado City.
       The fire happened in May 1946, in the middle of the night. The news article states that the incident began when Mr. & Mrs. Parvin, both members of the school board, saw lights in the closed building as they drove by. On investigating, they found that old books had been put inside the piano and set ablaze. They pushed the piano out the door and put out the fire.
       The sheriff was called and came out to check the building. All was quiet then, but after midnight a deputy on patrol reported that the building was burning and called for the fire trucks. By 3 in the morning, the old school had burned to the ground.
       Who set the fire? The case was unsolved.
       Surviving the blaze was a small brick structure that can still be found along the present-day Foothills Trail. According to Seibel, the structure was an ashpit that had stood by the school building.
       There is a log cabin on the Glen Eyrie grounds that was also once used for teaching children. It was a private school for Palmer's daughters when they lived in the Glen in the late 1800s.

(Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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