COBWEB CORNERS: Stick ‘em up!

By Mel McFarland

       This story was in an August 1905 newspaper. I thought I would tell you a bit about it.
       "Shortly after midnight last night a man entered the ticket office at the Colorado Midland depot at Colorado City with a big six shooter in each hand and commanded Agent T.M. Rhett to throw up his hands," the article states. " 'Open the safe and take out the money!' was the next command as the visitor kept one gun trained on the agent and the other on the telegraph operator. 'I cannot, as I do not have the combination,' responded the agent. 'Got anything in the drawer?' answered the hold- up man. 'Look and see,' responded Mr. Rhett. One glance was sufficient to show that the cash drawer was empty. After a few more words, the hold-up man backed out the door and disappeared into the darkness. An excellent description of the man was furnished to the police of this and Colorado City."
       As it turned out, he walked over to the Rio Grande station a few blocks away, and the police happened to be waiting for him. Back then, the Midland station sat down on 25th street, and the Rio Grande's was over on 22nd, north at Vermijo. It seems such hold-ups were not unusual events. The stations got robbed about once or twice a year. Most robbers were quick to give in at the "locked safe" story, and no other cash was kept there. It was the occasional burglar that caused the biggest problems. On some nights there was no one in the depot. On several occasions the depots were found with damaged safes in the morning, sometimes a busted door or window. Still the effort was hardly worth it. The Colorado City stations only sold a few dollars of tickets on a good day.
       In the 1890s, a smarter thief robbed the depot at Divide. He shot up the place, just like in an old Western movie! But the fearless depot agent went out the back door as the robber went out the front. When the robber rounded the corner where his horse was waiting, the agent was already there! Only complication was, the agent had no gun, but the robber had conveniently left a rifle on his horse. For his effort the agent was rewarded with a nice, engraved, shiny gold pocket watch. The robber, well… history seems to have forgotten him!