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Guest column: Westside travel issues not a new problem

In a photo taken in 1984, not long before it was torn down, the County Poor Farm is shown at its site near the current El Paso County Parks building and community garden, southeast of 21st and Rio Grande streets. It had provided temporary homes (and even farm work in its earlier days) for indigents dating back to 1900.
Myron Wood photo, courtesy of Special Collections at Pikes Peak Library District
By Don Pegler

       The current Westside Pioneer carries articles about solved and in-process solutions to travel around the Westside. As the gateway to Manitou Springs and everything up Ute Pass, there will always be a need for new solutions. But that is not a new problem.
       I wrote previously about our family arriving from San Diego in 1946. (See article at this link.) Dad was a letter carrier out of the West End Post Office. I want to share another Westside memory and some historic traffic changes on the Westside.
       We lived on West Cheyenne Road. Dad commuted to the West End Post Office. Eighth Street back then ran from Cheyenne Road to the Eighth Street Drive-In Theatre at the top of the hill. Eighth Street also ran south from Colorado Avenue and ended at Bear Creek at the bottom of the hill.
       Twenty-First Street ran south to Rio Grande, which ran east to Eighth Street. The old County Poor Farm was located where both streets met and ended. Dad had to commute via South Tejon Street and Colorado Avenue.
       Since the 1950s, the Westside and Ivywild/Cheyenne Canyon have been connected by the joining of the two pieces of 8th Street and 21st Street to Cresta. The County Farm became a community garden after the two-story building was torn down in the mid-1980s.
       Sometime during the summer of 1948, Dad called home and told us to ride our bikes to a Westside address to see something special. That was our first long venture. We pedaled Dad's commute route sans bike lanes.
       We arrived (probably West Cucharras near 21st Street). The most prominent thing about the front porch was two twisted wires dangling from the ceiling and attached to a light socket. We climbed the steps and rang the bell. The lady, obviously expecting us, came out carrying a round mirror. She looked at the light socket and I noticed something on top of it and between the two wires.
       She held the mirror above the socket. Between the wires was a hummingbird's nest containing two pea-size eggs. That was our reward for our first bike adventure.
       And now we have shorter routes to traverse and some bike lanes. And we are still solving Westside travel problems.

       Editor's note: Pegler is a long-time area resident.

(Posted 2/1/17; Opinion: Guest Columns)

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