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COBWEB CORNERS: Some early Colorado Springs mayors

By Mel McFarland

        There are some interesting names from Colorado Springs' early mayors.
       As you might expect, the first mayor was a friend of General William Palmer, the city's founder. Like Palmer, Major William Wagner grew up in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. He served in the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry under Palmer, who was then a colonel. Wagner and Major Henry McAllister were among the officers who followed Palmer into the West after the war. When Palmer started the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Wagner was sent to the new offices in Colorado Springs.
       Wagner was elected mayor after the city was incorporated in 1876. Interestingly, before that a board of trustees of the city had managed city governmental functions under Henry McAllister. Wagner left and worked in the railroad's New York offices once his term was up in 1879. He remained there until his death in 1902.
       The city's second mayor was also its sixth, Matt France. I have written about Mr. France here in the past. He was known for his coal-mining interests and his town, Franceville, east of Colorado Springs. He was pressed into service as Colorado Springs mayor the second time after the death of Mayor John Bacon.
       Joseph Humphrey, active in the Colorado Midland Railway and other interests in the area, was mayor in the early 1880s when the railroad was getting organized.
       Another railroad-connected mayor was George M. Taylor, one of the last of this group of early elected officials. He was the last general superintendent of the Short Line railroad, and tried to keep the line running, but finally saw the line sold and scrapped.

(Posted 3/21/15; 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.

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