COBWEB CORNERS: A wet time in the old town

By Mel McFarland

       Back in April of 1905, one of those spring storms caused some excitement on Colorado Avenue! A street car and several houses were struck by lightning! People were thrown into a panic, cows died, trees and fences were splintered and telephone wires were destroyed! Man! What an afternoon of excitement.
       The most thrilling time was on the Manitou street car. It had just left Colorado City and was crossing over the railroad yards on Colorado Avenue into downtown Colorado Springs when lightning hit the car or the wires above it. A fuse box in the car near the motorman exploded in a shower of sparks. One of the ladies in the car fainted, but there were no injuries. The car was out of commission until a repairman could get up from the shop on south Tejon. The intense storm captured the riders until help could arrive.
       Several buildings in Colorado Springs and Colorado City were struck by lightning also. Several power poles, a fence near Eighth street and a barn near present day North 15th were set ablaze by the lightning, ant others were damaged.
       The rain that accompanied the storm tried to flood both Manitou and Colorado City. The road along Fountain Creek near present day Red Rock Shopping Center was awash with tree limbs and large hailstones. An empty delivery wagon got stuck in the mud and was filled with hailstones as big as a man's fist by the time the storm finally let up.
       There were stories of cows near Colorado City being either hit by lightning or drowning in the normally dry creek beds. The Broadmoor area was at the time the home of several of the area's best dairy farms. The dairies all reported injured livestock following the storm. Several reported cows showing wounds from the hailstones. One fine prize milk cow was reported dead from a lightning strike. Stratton Park along Cheyenne Boulevard reported flooding and trees down. The main pavilion was going to need heavy repairs, and the grand stairway was buried in tree limbs. Even a large cottonwood near the Antlers Hotel had been turned into a pile of scorched toothpicks! As usual, it took longer to clean up the mess than the few minutes of the storm!