COBWEB CORNERS: The stagecoach from Denver
By Mel McFarland
How did you first come to this area? I'll bet you came by car. A few people are still around who might have come here by train, or even bus. Others have always been here. But how do you think it was in the 1870s?
A train from south of Denver could get to Colorado Springs in a day. A stagecoach ride lasted almost two days, including the express, which traveled at night. On a normal ride, there was a stopover at a hotel in Castle Rock. From there, it took a full day to get to our area.
Let's imagine taking that ride. The seat facing the rear is not the place to sit. Occasionally passengers ride on the roof to avoid the cramped conditions, but along this road that might be difficult. The boot, or back, of the stage has some luggage in it. The combined weight of the passengers and baggage does not help smooth the ride.
The route is not exactly 1-25. It goes through Larkspur, Palmer Lake and Monument, except none of those are actually towns in the 1870s. The path to Colorado City goes over the hills near the Air Force Academy, roughly following the north part of Rockrimmon down to present-day 30th Street.
The stagecoach stop at Colorado City existed before the one in Colorado Springs (which was founded in 1871). There is not much in Colorado City except a few cabins, a little hotel and a couple of stores.
During the stop, the horses are taken care of, giving us passengers a chance to eat in the hotel. After that, the stage follows Fountain Creek down to Colorado Springs. The stage stops there, then continues south to Pueblo, still following the creek.
The ride from Denver back then was long and dusty. It's easy to see why the train was much more popular. It was quicker and cleaner and well worth the little bit extra cost. We can also see why Colorado City was upset at being bypassed when the railroad line was built from Denver.