COBWEB CORNERS: More on the Hot Iron Club

By Mel McFarland

       I ran across another item from the Hot Iron Club in Manitou. In 1912, after plans to join Colorado City and Manitou and to add "Springs" to Manitou's name did not work, the club found a new concern: the dark road connecting the two towns.
       The club put together a plan to install street lights along what is now Colorado Avenue. The lighting would go from about 31st Street all the way to Adams Crossing, and then through Manitou to Ruxton Avenue. The biggest question was, "Where will the power come from to light theses lights?" Manitou's power company offered to power the lines inside Manitou, but there was a better offer. The Colorado Springs Light, Heat and Power Company offered to power the entire project using the electricity being generated at its hydroelectric plant on Ruxton. At this time there had been several attempts at power companies. Most had failed, but one had won out in Manitou, and Colorado Springs was also down to one. Colorado City was getting its power from Colorado Springs, but was looking at starting its own power company. It would be 20 years before the Colorado Springs power company would come under the ownership of the city. The hydroelectric plant on Ruxton, opened in 1905, had already gone through a couple of owners when the Colorado Springs company bought it.
       The Hot Iron Club set about getting agreements from all the parties involved - Colorado Springs, Colorado City and Manitou. Now, I have not confirmed that all this went through, but I do know that this strip of road did get a set of streetlights. "This is one of many improvements that the Hot Iron club is working for, said R.E.L. Giles secretary of the Hot Iron Club. "We want to improve the streets, add several new parks, open up more springs - they are always a drawing card - build an auditorium and construct more pavilions where the tourists can rest and enjoy themselves. We are just getting started, but by summer I think we will have a great deal accomplished."
       Well, I think they sure bit off a mouthful. The City of Colorado Springs was just getting started in the construction of its city auditorium. Colorado City even wanted to build one, but never managed. In the end, Manitou used the auditorium in its old high school, up behind the library.