How can it be No Man’s Land when it was the apple of Charles Adams’ eye?
Forget No Man's Land.
How about Adams Crossing?
That was the name that appreciative neighbors once gave to the home site of prominent Westside citizen Charles Adams - a German expatriate who fought in the Civil War, was later named a brigadier general and who worked with famous Ute Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta to free Indian-held hostages in the 1879 Meeker Uprising. (Note: These were just a few of Adams' accomplishments, as described this issue by Westside Pioneer historical columnist Mel McFarland, Page 2.)
The Adams Crossing residence, which its namesake shared with his wife Margaret, was near the present-day intersection of Colorado Avenue and Columbia Road. Chipeta was known to visit Margaret in the early 1900s - both their husbands had died by then - and a photo endures of one such occasion on the house's front porch (see Page 3).
Unfortunately, the Adams Crossing house is gone now. The current building, where McFarland thinks the house had been, is a medical marijuana dispensary.
Also, no picture of Adams has survived (although a Gazette Telegraph article in the Pioneers Museum collection, written by the late historian, Dorothy Aldridge, describes Adams as “a man of powerful physique”). In the Meeker affair, this helped him as he “gradually won over the chiefs, peace provisions were accepted and the captives released,” relates Aldridge, who also authored the 1996 book, “Historic Colorado City: The Town with a Future.”
Chosen in the 1880s, the Adams Crossing location was convenient, Aldridge indicates, for keeping track of business investments he'd made in both Colorado City and Manitou.
A reminder of that era is the avenue bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia. Built in 1934, it's obviously different from the wooden span it would have been when the avenue was called the Manitou road. But according to McFarland, its location is the same. In those days pedestrian and horse traffic would have traversed the sparsely populated area between Colorado City and Manitou. As such, the large Adams house was probably a landmark.
The “crossing” part of the name resulted this way: Going west nearly to the bridge, the Denver and Rio Grande railroad tracks paralleled the Manitou road. But at that juncture, the tracks stayed on the north side of the creek while the road went over it. Thus, the intersection became known as “Adams Crossing,” McFarland explained.
It's anyone's guess how that history might synch up with revival efforts by business people and residents in the heart of modern-day “No Man's Land” (roughly between 31st Street and east Manitou). They're in a constant struggle with low-lifes and outright criminals who've been found dealing drugs and whose frequent thievery of late has even included mail deliveries. Also in the mix is the area's odd, multi-jurisdictional situation in which the locals are not always certain if they're in the city or county, but can rest assured that neither has done much for them lately (although a local-government-sponsored planning grant is in the works for 2012).
Mike Crepeau, a hotel owner and founder of the Avenue Merchants group, which represents business people in that area, expressed some curiosity about the “Adams Crossing” monicker in recent communications with the Westside Pioneer. But he's more focused on tangible actions, such as a proposed volunteer workday this spring that could unite residents, merchants and other citizens with city, county and utility crews to address long-neglected issues such as streetlights, broken concrete, potholes, weeds and trash. “I'm for it [such a workday],” said Crepeau, who's also pressing action privately with law enforcement leaders and elected officials such as Lisa Czelatdko, Tim Leigh and Sallie Clark. “I'm sure we could get some people out.”
One other clear similarity exists in that area between now and a century or so ago: The original Adams Crossing lay between the established towns of Colorado City and Manitou. Nowadays, those communities are known as “historic districts.” Crepeau's area is not historic in its own right, he believes, but should be respected for crossing between them.
General Adams might have seen things the same way.
Westside Pioneer article