COBWEB CORNERS: My dadís first car
By Mel McFarland
In Old Colorado City in the 1940s, you really did not need a car. There were enough neighborhood grocery stores to take care of that need. Downtown Colorado Springs was an easy walk, plus you could easily catch a bus to go farther. My mother worked downtown and rode the bus to and from work. My dad worked at the mill and either walked or rode with neighbors who worked there and had cars. On the weekends if we went out, it was with an uncle who had a car.
In late 1948, all that changed when my dad was laid off at the mill. Actually the crunch did not come until 1949. He was lucky and went to work on Colorado Avenue at the Golden Flake Potato Chip plant, but he was looking for a better job. After going to school to be a butcher, he was hired at Camp Carson, but he needed transportation. A small used car lot was on Colorado Avenue next to Clark's Gas Station near 27th Street. There was a car he liked, and could afford, so he bought it. The lot owner gave him a ride home in it (we just lived a few blocks away) because my dad had no driver's license! My uncle, who had been driving for years and actually worked as a driver, gave Dad a few hours training. He had driven before World War II, but it was mainly trucks.
The car was an old Chevy that had been traded in on a newer car by the Cripple Creek Police Department. It was geared to do mountains and was great in Ute Pass. It needed a bit of mechanical work, and except for big things my dad did the work. We even took a cross-country trip in it, all the way to Washington, D.C.! This included driving across Kansas when they were suffering through flooding of the Republican River. He drove the car a couple of years, then traded it for a newer car, but we still saw the old one around town. It had a cheap coat of paint on it and you could still see the Cripple Creek badge on the doors. Ten years later it was still around town, but we lost track of it in the 1960s.
I mentioned this car in my book on the Midland Terminal. An artist friend even did a painting of an MT locomotive, with it in the background. Two cars later, Dad owned an ex-CSPD patrol car that even came with a bullet hole in a door!