COBWEB CORNERS: A Midland engineer’s house
By Mel McFarland
There is a little house at 2522 Bott Ave., which, if it could talk, I would be listening for hours. I know it has knowledge of the railroads that I find so amazing. It was the home of William Walker, one of the first engineers on the Colorado Midland.
I have known two generations of the descendants of William, and have met others, including William III and William IV. The family scattered when the Midland ended in 1920, but this house is still here, and many in the family are still in the area. My old friend Ed Crow, who was at Howbert Elementary for many years, was in this family. His mother was one of William's daughters. Art Crawford with the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) is the son of another Walker daughter. Ed always had an interest in railroads, and Art retired from the Union Pacific!
Many of the houses along Bott Avenue, Hagerman Street, Robinson Street, even Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues, were the homes of Midland families. Back a couple of decades ago, when people started insulating these old houses, attics with "artifacts" were discovered. The memories of long-gone residents remain in some of these attics, buried under insulation, while others were thrown out. Luckily, a few were retained, and have either moved into museums, such as the OCCHS' on 24th Street, or were sold.
The Walker family has been very thoughtful, even though they may have left behind some reminders of the family history in the house, to ensure that many objects collected over 120 years ago will be shared by the children of the future, in several museums. The family photographs have made it already into books on our railroad history, even two of mine! The Walkers are just one family like this. Indeed, names such as Ralston, Reilly, Sherbak and Sullivan are among those who have added to our knowledge of our history.
Who knows what other gems in our history are in quiet little houses along these streets? I get great fun out of researching some of the old houses, As a kid my family lived all over this part of town, and I know some of these houses were lived in by Midland people. Perhaps that is where the seed was planted for me to have an interest in our past.