COBWEB CORNERS: Easier to dodge horses than cars

By Mel McFarland

       I spend a lot of time reading old newspapers such as the Colorado City Iris. From the crime files comes the story of a stolen car. The incident happened in 1925. Quick action by the Colorado City police caught the culprit. The car, an old Model T Ford was taken from the Fair Grounds. Today, this is where the K-Mart is on North Nevada Avenue. The theft occurred just after dark. The car's owner was attending a rodeo.
       At about noon the next day the car was seen, traveling on a back road near Midland Heights. A 14-year-old boy was arrested. He denied stealing the car, insisting he was renting it from another youth. On investigation, it was learned that indeed the young man had "borrowed" the car.
       At the time there were several hundred Fords registered in El Paso county. Of all of the cars in the area, the lad had purloined one that had the distinction of being the most worn and rickety of its brethren. This proved the undoing of the thief. The owner of the car was able to give a description of the Ford, but he could not remember the license plate. It was a 1914 model and quite a unique vehicle. The police easily recognized it. Perhaps the lad did not realize how obvious the car was, having taken it in the dark.
       While on the subject, a few years earlier, Colorado City was getting ready to deal with a modern problem. The town had police whose main task was watching the community at night. The board was irritated by a situation that was becoming more and more dangerous. No, not the once-wild Cucharras Street problems. The city initiated a speed ordinance on all streets and even furnished the police with a motorcycle to enforce the law. This action resulted from the habit of many motorists who traveled the road to Manitou. Colorado Avenue was being turned into a speedway. Speed limits in the open areas were 30 miles an hour and 15 through Colorado City. Remember, this was 1925 and most of the roads were one-lane dirt! People in town were used to crossing the street whenever, or wherever they wanted to. Ducking horses had been no problem, but these automobiles were something else. The papers had started complaining about speeders as early as 1915, but it was a decade before the public started to agree. One of my family members was ticketed on Colorado Avenue for speeding almost a hundred years ago… on his bicycle!