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COBWEB CORNERS: What goes up comes down... another way

By Mel McFarland

       I have seen some interesting discussions at the top of Pike's Peak, concerning people who drove up but refused to go back down the road. Could they get a ride down on the train? Indeed, I have seen people leave their vehicle on the summit and have someone else go get it! Normally, it's a wife or husband who needs to go down some way other than the road.
       How were such matters handled 100 years ago? I found this story in a 1909 Cripple Creek newspaper. It is not about the Pike's Peak road, but....
       "Our mountain roads are readily conceded by those who travel on them to any great extent, to be exceedingly hard on any vehicle, as well as on the patience of the person going over them. Apparently they proved too much for an automobile party that came up from Colorado Springs and the result of the affair was that the party returned on a train. But this was no ordinary party, and there being no train due to leave Cripple Creek when they wanted to leave, they chartered their own, private train.
       "No railroad official could be found last night who could give the names of those in the party, four in number, but one stated that he heard one of the two women called 'Mrs. Du Pont.' "
       Incidentally, the Du Ponts were certainly affluent visitors to the area.
       All the party appeared prosperous, the news story reported, and it is believed that the party consisted of several well known people from Colorado Springs, out on probably their first drive on our mountain roads.
       Fishermen on Four Mile Creek near Midland, about half way between Divide and Cripple Creek, reported seeing the automobile and its four occupants headed toward Cripple Creek in the afternoon, and seemingly making good headway. The mountain road gets steeper and quite twisty from there. Several hours later, the two gentlemen of the party alighted from a street car, walked up to the railroad superintendent's office at the station in Cripple Creek, and made arrangements for a special car to carry them back to Colorado Springs.
       The newspaper account continues: "The necessary money to cover the expense of the special, quite a considerable sum, was paid over in cash, it is understood. A short time later the special, consisting of an engine and one passenger coach, pulled out on a fast schedule for the east. Why the party was so anxious to return to the lower altitude was not learned by the officials, but one said he believed it was because the group had dinner plans for the evening which they could not miss."
       I expect the party, mainly the ladies, refused to travel the very rough road back the way they came! I wonder what happened to the car?

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