Meet a Westside Pioneer!
Shirley Cherry

What kind of career have you had?
I attended Buena Vista, West Junior and Colorado Springs High School (now Palmer). I worked at the dime store and the Chambons’ Surplus City. At college, I worked for Woolworth’s. I taught in the public schools in Omaha and Bellevue, Neb. When I moved back to Color-ado Springs, I had my own business, called Cherry Charms, from 1971 to 1993, when I retired.

Can you tell us about your marriage?
I was married to Fred Cherry in 1960. We moved to the Westside, across the street from my folks in 1971. I am now living in my childhood home. Fred has passed on.

Did you have children?
I have two boys, Lewis and David, and two daughters, Beth and Rachel. I also took in over 24 foster kids over the years.

I have four grandchildren (Jacob, Tanna, Katy and Austin), and one great-grandchild (Kelby).

Any of your family members still here?
All live here except Rachel, who lives in South Dakota.

Can you tell us about your grandparents/parents?
My parents were Lewis F. & Edna Cullett. My grandparents, Chuck and Mary Cullett, married and moved here when they were 15 and 16. The family owned all of the barber shops on the Westside (Chuck, Pete and Lewis Cullett). Mary had a beauty shop in one of the shops. My mother came from the East. I am the last of the Culletts alive.

What are your best memories of growing up on the Westside?
We played ball, kick the can and whatever in the street, for it was dirt and there were not many cars on the street. They looked out for us. I remember going down a hill in a car at 35 miles per hour. What a thrill! We loved going to Patsy’s popcorn stand. We could trade two comics for one comic, all used. The 27th Street hill was shut off so we could sled down it in winter. The tennis courts were flooded with water at Thorndale Park so we could ice skate. The simple, not so busy life, made life so restful.

Crafts, camping, fishing, making dolls, painting China and traveling.

What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed?
I loved walking on the train tracks, then walking in the creek, the Golden Cycle Mill is gone and the pile of sand. The ice house is now a car sales lot and the trolley tracks are buried under the blacktop. I loved playing on the tracks in the round house. I also miss the little store on the corner of 20th Street and Pikes Peak Avenue. That spot is now a parking lot.

What has stayed that you wish had gone?
Nothing I can think of. I like the Westside the way it is.

How about the way things have changed? Too many people and too many new homes. The lights on Colorado Avenue. Many places to eat. The stores on the avenue that have different things in them to sell. The schools have emptied and consolidated. (Now I’m back at Buena Vista, which has become the Westside Community Center, for its wonderful classes and its lunch program.) Streets paved with curbs. There are too many cars. They need to be first in the crosswalks, and the “stop” in stop signs now stands for Step Toe On Pedal, instead of stop and let someone in the crosswalk go first.

Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here?
I love the street activities, even if they keep you from parking in front of your house. It brings people to the Westside and they spend money which is good for our side of town. There are a lot more things to do now in Bancroft Park. So I think it is better. If things don’t move forward then we become stagnant. But I still like the Westside because it feels like a small city all by itself. The friendly folks and the beautiful mountains to look at every day – what a blessing to see.

“Meet a Westside Pioneer” interviews people who have lived all (or nearly all) their lives on the Colorado Springs Westside. If you meet that criteria (or know someone who does), please give us a call at 471-6776.