COBWEB CORNERS: Sherman’s ‘march’ to the Peak
By Mel McFarland
Yes, General William Tecumseh Sherman was here for a visit in July 1889. I get asked what “famous” people have been up the mountain, and I just heard this story. In 1889 there were still fresh memories of his march through Georgia.
Sherman rode the Colorado Midland from Manitou to Cascade. He stood at the station for his train, only his blue overcoat with brass buttons to give away a bit about himself. Just as he entered the car a lady jumped to her feet and grabbed his hand. "General Sherman!" Her husband had been killed in the drive through Georgia and she wanted to shake his hand. No one else seemed to have taken notice of him, but after that greeting, everyone knew who he was! Along the way, as the train traveled other passengers came to his seat to shake his hand or pass a greeting.
At Cascade a special carriage awaited the party. The Hundley and Carlisle stage line brought five wagons to the station for the train's passengers. The first was reserved for Sherman and his followers (newsmen!). Sherman would ride up with the driver for the best view! After having photographs taken, the groups started up the recently finished road up the mountain.
Cascade had only been a town for a few years, but with the Colorado Midland and several new hotels, it was growing. The road up the mountain still follows the same basic route. The road was in good shape and the grade was not at all steep, but the horses worked to pull their coaches up the mountain side. At Halfway House, what is now known as Glen Cove, the manager, John Gaynor, met the arriving wagons. A fresh team of mules was put on the wagons, and up the steep climb they went. Above timberline there was snow along the road. The General met Mr. Kneeland, the government custodian at the former weather station. The building was not being used for anything, but he had come up just to meet the general.
Sherman had seen Pike's Peak from Bent's Fort near La Junta when he was a young soldier 40 years before! After visiting for an hour and having more pictures taken, the party returned to their wagons for the trip down. The trip up took four hours and the return about three. The party then traveled to the new Ramona Hotel in Cascade for dinner and a night's rest. The next day they returned to Manitou. While in the area Sherman also visited General Palmer.