COBWEB CORNERS: Remembering olí Bill
By Mel McFarland
Bill Henderson, one of the key founders over at Pike's Peak National Bank 50 years ago, was a fine man. My father first told of him when I was young. My dad worked for a variety of businesses in town, and at one of these he got to know many famous businessmen around Colorado City and surrounding towns. He met Bill at Pike's Peak Photo. Since then I have known others who worked for Bill, and I got to know him myself 30 years ago.
I learned of his interest in local history, both in the well-known and the obscure. We both joined the Pike's Peak Posse of Westerners International when it was organized in 1976. When he came to a meeting with his wife, it was going to be a good night. He had collected stock certificates from the mines and mills of Cripple Creek, and not only did he buy and sell them, but he gave a few away and entertained us with the stories that went with them. I have several from Cripple Creek mines and the Golden Cycle that he gave me. He also had many tales of Colorado City that not many knew, plus stories he had collected about the mining camps from Fairplay to Aspen. Just about every meeting, he brought something he had found about the night's program.
When I started doing research for my books on the Midland, he would suggest I call this or that person. He knew who had pictures or information I could use. Occasionally, this would work out, but often I was shown the door until I mentioned Bill. I know there are still families out there with pictures, probably no one has seen since his Pike's Peak Photo developed them, but that is OK. I even know of a few old train movies out there that were taken with film Bill found for the photographer when it was almost impossible to get.
One thing about Bill I got a real kick out of was his accent. Bill had grown up in Mississippi, but when I first met him I had just spent time down there. I did not notice anything but the kind of accent most of us have. As he got older that Southern Accent started to come out. The older he god the more Southern he sounded.
I think he would be proud to see what Old Colorado City looks like now. That bank has been a key reason. Some of the other founders have some interesting stories too. Such as Emil Clark.