COBWEB CORNERS: Puzzle may be solved for streetcar dinerBy Mel McFarland
Years ago I learned of an old diner on North Nevada Avenue. It was just north of the bridge over the old Rock Island railroad. In all my searching I could not locate a picture of it, except for a view from the air. This assured me it was there until about 1962. I can barely remember it.
For some background on this puzzle, Nevada Avenue is now the main road through the Old North End, but until the bridge on Nevada was built over the railroad tracks in 1927, Cascade and Tejon had bridges of their own. Cascade was the main road to Denver. It went north to Pikeview, then to Breed and so on. In the 1930s, the highway to Denver was redesigned and rebuilt. As part of this, North Nevada was built as a fairly straight road, as it is today. Part of the reason for that was the arrival of Alexander Aircraft and Nichols Field.
Alexander had been in Littleton, but after a series of fires its owners decided to move south. I have done stories here about how the company used empty buildings in Colorado City while its big factory was being built on North Nevada. Nichols Field was Alexander's airport, located off Fillmore Street, and I have also talked a bit about that, except that the finished airplanes had to be rolled across Nevada and the Santa Fe tracks to the landing strip.
Another part of understanding the puzzle is knowing about the former town of Curtis, which covered the area a couple of blocks north of the bridge on Nevada and east of Roswell. In this area were a number of wandering streets, now totally erased. In this area also was a baseball "park," called Broadway Park.
In December 1927, the newspapers told lots of Christmas stories, including this one. There was a retired Colorado Springs and Interurban streetcar sitting near the ball field. It was discovered that a family named the Shermans had set up housekeeping in the car. Their story was told and donations of all type came in, making an excellent Christmas for them.
By 1928 they had moved, and information about the car is scrambled, but something happened. A family opened a car diner a block down the street around 1930. It remained in business, serving travelers north and south, until the 1950s. Curiously their name was McFarland, but of no known relation to me. I believe they used the streetcar as their diner. I have still no good picture of it and a very poor picture of the streetcar in 1927. I know of two other distant diners that also used Colorado Springs streetcars. Is this puzzle solved? I am only guessing, yes.
(Posted 1/26/15; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)
Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb
Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since early 2004. To see past columns,
go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the
Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.