COBWEB CORNERS: Those changing street names
By Mel McFarland
Of all of the information about Old Colorado City, this subject is the most confusing. I will try my best to not get you too lost. I am going to start in 1890 with the main street names. I know there are others, but for space, I am only going to do the main streets. I have heard that before 1890 there were even different names for some of the streets, but I do not have an accurate list of them.
You will have to consider the size of Colorado City in 1890. The population was just starting to recover from the 1886-1890 "explosion" caused by the building of the Colorado Midland Railway. The Midland's shops were along the Midland Expressway. You do not recognize that name? It is the official name of the US 24 bypass around Colorado City. The area south of there grew up at that time. For a time it was considered a separate town - Midland Heights.
Getting back to street names, what we call Colorado Avenue was also called that in 1890. Cucharras was Washington, Pikes Peak was Lincoln, Kiowa was Jefferson, Bijou was Monroe. Those are the easy ones!
The other streets had a strange logic to their system. What we know as 25th was then West Street. From there it was West 1st, West 2nd, West 3rd, and so on. It went East Street then East 1st, East 2nd and so on. There were not many streets then beyond West Fifth and East Fifth. Let's take a few examples of numbers. The businesses between East Street (24th) and West (25th) had numbers in the 400's. The store at the current site of the Rocky Mountain Chocoate Factory was 430. In Bancroft Park was Bancroft School. Other streets were laid out, but never built on.
By 1902, the street names had changed to more closely match Colorado Springs. They started at 21st, which was then 1st. Just subtract 20 from there on west. In 1905, Washington became Grant, Lincoln became Washington, Jefferson became Lincoln, and Monroe became Park! This all changed in 1917, except for Colorado Avenue, which stayed. I will not even get into house numbers! We get so many questions about this last change that the Old Colorado History Center keeps a copy of the 1917 list handy. This was not the end of changes; others came about every five years! Fortunately, just one here or there!