COBWEB CORNERS: 1890: Bridging the tracks

By Mel McFarland

       In the 1880s there was a road from Colorado Springs to Colorado City, but late in that decade a problem developed. The growing numbers of wagons and other types of traffic meant longer waits for the trains on the Denver and Rio Grande railroad.
       Finally in 1890, the city and the railroad started to think about how to handle this. Several ideas were proposed. One was a bridge north of the train station, another south of it, as there were several streets going west from downtown. The idea of two bridges north of the station was even put out. Nearly every business in downtown supported a bridge on Huerfano Street, which we now know as Colorado Avenue.
       Other ideas were for bridges at Bijou or Kiowa. The curious bending of Kiowa and Bijou came from the compromise solution to "share" one bridge.
       The streets and buildings west of Monument Creek were not there at this time, just a few trails. Even in downtown Colorado Springs, Bijou Street was about the north end of the business district!
       If both bridges were built, would one be finished before the other was started? What if both were built at the same time? The street car line used Huerfano, and that seemed the logical point to start. In fact there was some opposition to even building the second bridge, which some saw as frivolous. In the end, both were built. The Huerfano bridge was done first, then the Bijou bridge.
       The area west of Monument Creek got a shot in the arm when the two bridges opened. This area had seen a bit of development, but that was farther north, near the road leading from Colorado College toward the Mesa. The streets between Huerfano and Cache La Poudre were 1aid out and formalized. If you know the area, some of those streets do not line up well because of this stage of development.
       Colorado City west of Limit Street, which was the dividing line between Colorado Springs and Colorado City, was still fairly open land until about 1900. The changes in 1917 were still a long way off!