Meet a Westside Pioneer!
Catherine Walsh

What kind of career have you had? Various jobs: Colorado City Creamery (then owned by Bill Grimes – I was one of the first four employees), Pig in the Sack off Busch Ave-nue, Wendy’s on Colorado Ave-nue, CMT on Centennial Boulevard and KC Hallmark in Uintah Gardens. I was co-owner of Baggadies Cafe on 30th Street.

Can you tell us about your marriage? I was married to Kevin Graham from 1983 to 1991. I married Barry Walsh in 1998.

Did you have children? Kyle Brandon Keahi Graham, who just turned 20 on Nov. 11!

Are your children still here? Yes, my son, my brother, cousins and great aunts.

Can you tell us about your parents and grandparents? My great-grandfather John (Manyik) Manick immigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1902, moving to the Westside with his bride Anna whom he met in Pueblo in 1904. He worked for the Golden Cycle Mill and then as the master welder and boilermaker for the Midland Railroad. He and two other men were commissioned by Spencer Penrose to build the Mou-taineer Train. He also helped build the Cog that went up Pikes Peak. Their daughter, Marie Mae, married Ralph Walters. She was a founding member of the original Midland Improvement Society. As a child, he racked pool balls for 5 cents in what is now Michael Garman's; he was postmaster for awhile at the Westend Station. My father, Robert Walters, was born on the Westside in 1938. When he and my mother Barbara married, they lived in the house he grew up in and bought from his father (2509 Bott Ave.) My brother Robert and I were raised in the same house. My parents were owner/operators of Bob's 10th St. Conoco (now the Map Store). Later, my dad opened B & B Custom Trim Upholstery Shop, and my mother went to work at Hewlett Packard. Both were leaders in Boy and Girl Scouts. Most of my relatives (on my dad’s side) and my mother attended the old Midland School. I went there too, then attended the new Midland after it opened. All but my mother attended West Junior High.

What are your best memories of growing up on the Westside? Trick-or-treating in the snow. Old Midland Elementary, Mr. Stoner’s Laundry on the corner of 25th & Bott (he used to pay me $1 for wiping down the tops of washing machines and the counters), Bott Park and the big orange concrete slide, Jolly Glass Blowers, Cy’s Drive In when it was on Colorado Avenue (now the propane place), the old way to the Garden of the Gods and the Trading Post and Mrs. Heath’s date cookies and homemade wreaths!

What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed? Duckwalls (now Blockbusters and a bank), Safeway by my house (now the new postal-sorting station), Hallmark’s in Uintah Gardens, and the corner grocery store owned by Ross Dickenson (now Little London Bakery).

What has stayed that you wish had gone? McDonald’s – because they made Howard’s Pit BBQ move.

How about the way things have changed? Traffic has gotten so heavy on the Westside now. Good stores have left. Some schools have improved; others have worsened.

Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here? Worse. It’s too commercialized, not as hometown as it used to be. There’s more crime. But it’s still slower and friendlier than other parts of town.

“Meet a Westside Pioneer” interviews people who were born, raised and still live on the Colorado Springs Westside. If you meet that criteria (or know someone who does), please give us a call at 471-6776.