Meet a Westside Pioneer!
What kind of career have you had?
I was a plaster and stucco contractor for 25 years and also owned and managed Plasco Garage Storage on the Westside for 30 years until I retired in 2004. I also raced the Pikes Peak Auto
Hill Climb for 30 years.
Can you tell us about your marriage? I met my wife Carol at West Junior High School in 1949 and we have been married for 56 years.
Did you have children? Grandchildren? We have two daughters, Cheri and Pam, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren with number seven due in August.
Any of your family members still here? Our daughters still live on the Westside and my cousin, Barbara Godec. My sister Connie lives in Security.
Can you tell us about your parents/grandparents? My grandparents, Otis and Rettie Foltz, moved to the Westside in the 1930s from Illinois. My grandmother, Alice Hull Balcombe moved to Vancouver, Canada from England with her nanny. She later moved to Long Beach, Calif., with her third husband and her family. My father Glen went out “prospecting for gold” in California and there he met my mother, Phyllis Marjorie Balcombe. They married and moved back to the Westside in their Model T, with their children, I was 11 months old at the time. My grandfather, father and uncles (Les and Cliff) were all plastering contractors.
What are your best memories of growing up on the Westside? Playing on the sand at the Golden Cycle Mill, the places we lived on 16th and 13th streets, going to Buena Vista and West Junior High. While I was at Buena Vista, our class planted the trees around the wall when World War II started. I really didn’t understand what war meant. When I was 12 and 13 years old, I used to sit on the curb and watch the race cars come down from Pikes Peak on the Fourth of July, and that was the beginning of my interest in auto racing. I remember my first job in 1949 (I was 16 years old) at Ray’s Texaco Station on Colorado Avenue and 26th Street, where the ice cream store is now located.
Can you talk about being a race-car driver? I would buy cars and then work on them in my garage on 31st Street. In 1970 and 1980, I won the Open Wheel Division and in 1975 the Stock Car Division. My mechanic, Grier Manning, also raced cars in the Open Wheel Division.
What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed? I remember Clark’s Service Station and the A & W Root Beer stand next door, Weller Lumber Company, Golden Flake Potato Chip Factory, Chambon’s Surplus City, Piggly Wiggly grocery store and Grover’s Garage, where I watched Bill Grover work on Pikes Peak Hill Climb cars.
How about the way things have changed? Many things have changed – lots of new homes starting where Dan Howells Sr. began building Pleasant Valley, and new schools and lots of new stores and shopping centers.
Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here? It’s even better in many ways, with the benches, trees and walkways in Colorado City, and also Territory Days. One of the things that hasn’t changed over the years is the people – the Westside has always had good people.
“Meet a Westside Pioneer” interviews people who were born, raised and still live on the Colorado Springs Westside. If you meet that criteria (or know someone who does), please give us a call at 471-6776.