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COBWEB CORNERS: The roads people drove before Uintah Street

By Mel McFarland

        You may not remember when that street that now goes by the Uintah Gardens shopping center was not called Uintah!
       Before the Monument Valley Freeway opened in 1960, one of the main streets from downtown was Mesa Road, which bridged Monument Creek, just south of the current Uintah Street. West of the creek, it continued up the hill toward Glen Eyrie, the same as it does today. The freeway cut off Mesa's traffic link to the downtown, with the Colorado Department of Highways establishing an interchange instead at Uintah Street.
       But the street called Uintah did not initially continue very far west of the interstate. Drivers wanting to go west in that area would take Mesa up from Walnut Street, turn left on San Juan Road and continue west to Boulder Street.
       San Juan was a little two-lane street like Mesa. It roughly followed the route Uintah takes now, but was narrow and wound more. The city eventually cut the big notch in the Mesa for Uintah Street to carry traffic farther west. By 1970 it was extended past the property at 19th and Uintah that would soon become Uintah Gardens.
       Driving up Mesa from Walnut now, there is still a turn-off for San Juan Road, but it only leads to a private drive for homes.
       At Mesa and Walnut, where Bristol Elementary is located, there was once a fine white house, built by William Stratton in 1882, which was later moved to 18th Street, north of Uintah Gardens. It was called the
Heavy rains in late April may have led people to guess that the heavy equipment working for several days on the north side of Uintah Street between Mesa Road and 17th Street were needed to stabilize the hillside. But in actuality it was a water-line break, according to Colorado Springs Utilities.
Westside Pioneer photo
Gillette House. I did a Cobweb Corners column about it in 2006.
       Another old house is north of Mesa Road at Walnut, in the trees behind the stone wall. It belonged to Percy Hagerman, son of railroad magnate J.J. Hagerman. Percy's daughter lived there until her passing.
       Some of you may remember the house that was on the hill east of Uintah Gardens, dating almost to the 1940's. The owner finally passed on and the property became part of the Knolls Apartments.
       I recently did the story of the previous dam and detention pond over which Uintah Gardens was built after the dam was filled to its top with dirt. The location was near that of a big water main break last month, on the north side of Uintah Street, just east of 17th.
       At the southeast corner of 19th and Uintah, where a strip mall sits today, used to be a Chambon's Surplus City storage lot. For a long time, it even held the body of a B-29 bomber that had crashed elsewhere in town.
       It was also by the 1960s that Uintah was extended over the notch between 25th and 27th street. Before the city made Uintah an important east-west street, this area near Thorndale Park was much quieter… except when that area was the drinking town of Ramona from 1913 to 1916. That story has been told here too!

(Posted 6/6/15; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since early 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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