COBWEB CORNERS: Coal was key in early Springs
By Mel McFarland
The first area coal mines were near one of the places called Pikeview (or Pike View). The location today is just west of 1-25 north of Garden of the Gods Road. The coal seam was spotted when the Denver & Rio Grande railroad was being built. The best mines early on had been east on the prairie.
The coal mines north of Colorado Springs saw a new spurt of development in 1898. The mines east of town had almost died out, and new mines near Templeton's Gap showed strong prospects. The mines could provide coal of high quality and quantity. The Santa Fe opened its new spur from Pike View to the Curtis Mine in 1899. In 1901 the line was extended beyond the Danville Mine. The Rock Island opened a spur to the Rapson. North of Colorado Springs at Pike View, the Carlton Mine opened, served by the D&RG. It was purchased by the Pike's Peak Coal Company, which also bought the Williamsville and Danville mines. The Carlton was renamed the Pikeview. The original name carried no relationship to the Carltons who were owners of the Pike's Peak Coal Company.
The town of Pike View was located near the old Carlton Mine. Today this area is at the south Rockrimmon exit on 1-25. The town and the mines were there when the highway was built in the late 1950s and now all signs of it are gone! The D&RG's siding at this point remained known as Carlton. Its siding called Pike View was roughly one mile further south, near present day Garden of the Gods Road. The Santa Fe's Pike View was yet another mile to the southeast. It was about where the dog track sits. Williamsville, Danville and Papetown were east of there.
The coal-mining activity was becoming heavily dependent on Cripple Creek's demand. Coal was used to power generators for operating mining and milling machinery. Water pumps and ventilation, critical to operating the deep mines, required electric power. The Colorado City mills used large quantities of coal. Cragmoor and the Pikeview area became the hot spot for coal production in Colorado Springs, which gave jobs to hundreds of people. The Pikeview mine built a coal-fired power plant, sending the electricity to the Golden Cycle Mill and the Midland railroad yards. That plant was the last surviving building at the mine, torn down just a few years ago, after sitting empty for decades!