COBWEB CORNERS: Back yards and alleys
By Mel McFarland
As I drop off columns at the Westside Pioneer office, I often go wandering to some familiar spot to look around. At Fairview Cemetery, near one of my old friends' headstones, there is a great view of the area. I often wander through the cemetery, looking at the familiar names, stopping now and then to perhaps think of stories about this or that person. Someday, when times are less demanding, I could easily do several of them in the annual Cemetery Crawl.
Years ago it was easier to see back yards in this area. Over the years more trees have grown up. The area has been cleaned up too. Unfortunately this is when things get removed. When I was a child, a railroad car sat beside South 26th Street on the hill up to Bear Creek. You would not believe this car today. It is in Nebraska, fully restored, running on a little narrow gauge railroad. Over the years I received several progress reports as work progressed. This car had been used on the Florence and Cripple Creek railroad. When the Midland Terminal took over the assets, it was used by section gangs on the line from Divide to Cripple Creek, Later, a couple of these old cars were brought to Colorado City for storage buildings. When the Midland was sold, this car wound up on its 26th Street spot for about thirty years.
The Nebraska group also bought cars from up near Florissant. Another F&CC car was in the alley behind a house on Kiowa. It later moved to the Street Car Museum, but last I heard it was in Antonito, Colorado, for possible use by the Cumbres and Toltec railroad.
There used to be lots of old box cars, or parts of box cars, behind houses in this neighborhood. Back in the 1940s, they were easy to get. Over the years, they have disappeared. An old friend of mine, who has been gone quite a few years, used to have one in his yard. I noted recently that it is now gone. You could see this car from the modern Midland school. It was taller than a regular box car because it was two, stacked one on the other. The railroad had used it behind the roundhouse.
I am also pleasantly surprised to find significant buildings in back yards. I was recently directed to a tent building in the Midland neighborhood, near the house that was moved last June from 21st and Colorado. I may have to talk more on this subject.