Floating on root beer memories
With the prospect of an A&W coming back to the older Westside - as part of a proposed Kentucky Fried Chicken expansion
at 31st Street and Colorado Avenue - local residents Dave Hughes and Ron Wright recently recalled the first A&W on the
It was at the southwest corner of 27th Street, operating from sometime in the 1950s until about 1970.
Wright worked at the restaurant in the late 1950s, when he was a teen-ager. He had been working at Cy's Drive-In, which was in the same block (and is still in business at Uintah and 19th streets). But he went to A&W in a salary dispute. “Cy (store founder Cyrus Long) wouldn't give me a raise from 75 cents to $1,” Wright said. “So I went to A&W and got my raise.”
He has fond memories of that job, which he held for the better part of three years. “I learned to flip burgers and frost the mugs,” he said. “And root beer floats, I think we lived on those. The whole parking lot would be filled with teens and families.”
Constructed in 1957, according to Assessor's Office records, the A&W building is still standing, converted to its current use as a gift shop.
Hughes, a historian, is more interested in the building that preceded the A&W at that site. One of Old Colorado City's oldest structures - the Cobb Grocery log cabin, constructed in 1859 - sat there for close to a century.
According to the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) website, the Cobb cabin was a saloon from about 1870- 1900. As to that, Hughes said that a number of the cabin's ceiling logs were known to have bullet holes in them - most likely from liquored-up cowboys firing six-guns in moments of excitement.
When the Cobb structure was torn down (evidently sometime in the 1950s), about half of its logs were preserved by Kenneth and Lorraine Englert, Hughes said. The Englerts, part of an informal Westside historical society at that time, also helped preserve a more famous cabin - the one now in Bancroft Park - which had been used for legislative caucuses when Colorado City was briefly the state capital in 1862.
Historic slices from both cabins' former logs are on sale by the OCCHS for fund-raising purposes. The bullet-hole logs are not among them, however. According to Hughes, the Englerts used them for a cabin they built in Salida. “It's too bad,” he said, adding with a laugh, “We'll have to wait for the cabin to burn down.”
Westside Pioneer article
Does anyone know the exact year the Cobb cabin was torn down? When the A&W closed? If so, give us a call at the Westside Pioneer, 471- 6776.