COBWEB CORNERS: Remembrances of the cabin

By Mel McFarland

       I have talked about this relic in the past, but I found an 1892 article that had some interesting information. Originally located at present-day 2508 W. Colorado Ave., the log cabin was one of the first structures in Colorado City and later became the first El Paso County courthouse. It was built in 1859 by Dr. James Garvin and Melancathon Beach.
       One of the colorful stories from that early era told about a certain citizen of good repute who became involved in a dispute with a visitor of shady character, which resulted in the visitor receiving a bullet wound, which Dr. Garvin announced would kill him in five minutes. A court was convened in the cabin. The prisoner was tried and found guilty of justifiable homicide and discharged. The victim survived for three weeks.
       After the county was formed, the building was used by Ben Crowell, county commissioner. He later was county treasurer and had his office in the building. He had an iron safe where he kept the county's funds. The safe was suspect, and could have been opened with a hatchet, so at night he put the cash in a tin box and hid it in the clock!
       In 1869 Irving Howbert was elected county clerk. Finding his first office too cold, he moved into the building with Crowell.
       In 1870 the first telegraph office was also established in the building, with Matt France as the operator.
       A short time later General William Palmer and the railroad arrived. It's reported that he visited the cabin frequently, with his railroad construction men making use of the building and its telegraph services.
       The county's use of the building ended in 1873 when an election gave Colorado Springs the county seat.
       The 1892 story indicates that at that time it was boarded up and not used for anything.
       Nearly razed in the 1920s, the cabin was moved several times before arriving at its current home in Bancroft Park. The The Old Colorado City Historical Society led a major renovation of it 10 years ago.
       The Historical Society and Dave Hughes have collected much more information on the cabin's history. The society operates the Old Colorado City History Center, which is free and open to the public at 1 S. 24th St.