COBWEB CORNERS: How it can get hot in winter
By Mel McFarland
The early months are always fun in Colorado City. In our history, the time from Thanksgiving until the start of spring can be challenging. Some winters are pretty calm, but others make up for it. The worst fires seem to have happened during this time, so it is not just the weather.
Both our railroad stations burned down in the winter, a few weeks apart. There were several fires in the mills, usually in the winter. We had the glass works fire and the Ute Pass Paint factory which burned in the winter. There were fires in stores on Colorado Avenue and in saloons on Cucharras Street in the winter.
In the old days with coal and wood fires, there was a lot of danger trying to keep houses warm. Some time ago, I pointed out that many older houses still have iron coal doors from when the coal was dumped into basements with bins near the big old furnace. Then there are things that we might not think of, such as, how about the hot ashes? Those have probably caused as many fires as anything. I know it is dangerous today. You hear of people thinking hot ashes are cool enough to put in a cardboard box on the porch or deck. In the old days folks dumped their ashes in pits in their yards. This brings up something else.
Years ago we burned our trash in a burner in the back yard. Some of these ashes came in handy in the winter because they were used in driveways and on sidewalks to make them less slick. Once in a while we had to get someone to haul away the unburned remains, such as old tin cans. This trash was hauled to dumps out in the country. Only thing is, most of them are now within the city limits of Colorado Springs! Most have heard of the one in Red Rock Canyon, because it was fairly modern. There were several on the west side of town 60 to 70 years ago. Actually ashes, mixed in with the other stuff, help break down old trash. Some of the trash creates problems as it breaks down, such as the gas that has to be vented out of these "new" old dumps
One thing you can be sure of, spring will follow winter. Then the cold will be just a memory until the heat of summer becomes the topic of discussion!