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COBWEB CORNERS: How a bandstand came to Bancroft Park

By Mel McFarland

        In April 1935, Colorado City's bandstand was ready. It still stands in Bancroft Park, at 24th Street and Colorado Avenue.
       The Bancroft School had been there from 1888 until its demolition in 1926. It had once been the main school in Colorado City School District 1, offering all the grade levels at one time. The school was shut down in 1923, four years after District 1 merged with Colorado Springs District 11 and six years after Colorado Springs annexed Colorado City.
       After the demolition, Colorado Springs turned the block into a park. A bandstand was planned, based on Colorado City's history in music (particularly the Colorado Midland Railroad band), but the Great Depression delayed the expensive project for several years.
       The cost in the end was just over $11,000. The construction finally started in 1934. The stone used is the unique Manitou greenstone from the old quarry just above Highway 24 west of Manitou. Much of this stone actually came out of the part of the mountain that had been blown apart when the highway was built.
       The West Side Commercial Club was one of the strongest supporters of the bandstand project and was given charge of its use. A local musician, Fred Shantz, was appointed as the contact person. The
From 1888 until 1926, the Bancroft School stood in the block that later became Bancroft Park.
Courtesy of Pikes Peak Library District Special Collections
bandstand, its "comfort station" and other park improvements were seen as a great addition to the Westside.
       The dedication of the bandstand was delayed by the flood that struck the area on Memorial Day 1935. When the dedication eventually took place in July, former city council member Martin Drake, an advocate for the old Colorado City area, introduced Colorado Springs Mayor George Birdsall, who gave the main speech.
       The highlight of the event was a concert given by a group of local musicians. Sousa's “El Capitan” was the first selection. Unfortunately, the “Colorado Midland March” was not among those performed. Many a tune has been heard in that spot since then.

(Posted 3/29/16; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 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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