COBWEB CORNERS: The Flood of ‘35
By Mel McFarland
With all the rain this summer, the word Flood enters the picture. Up on Pike's Peak the snow is gone, but Ruxton Creek is running higher than I have ever seen; it runs into Fountain Creek and on to Colorado City.
The "big" flood was in 1935, on Memorial Day. Several days of rain soaked the ground near Monument and Palmer Lake. A strong rainstorm set in the mountains west of the site of the Air Force Academy. Nearly every bridge in Colorado Springs was swept away. Only the Bijou Street bridge survived. Colorado City was not without damage. Fountain Creek had flooded as far west as Cascade, and that was on its way down the Pass, but only added to what happened from there down. Ruxton Creek had flooded too, but the damage was far less than down in Colorado Springs.
No bridges on the Midland Terminal were lost, but track was underwater in the yards at Colorado City. From Colorado City to Colorado Springs, the tracks were mainly covered with trash washed down from Manitou and Colorado City. The Rio Grande's tracks to Colorado City were also buried. The two railroads ran very close together near Eighth Street, and this was where the biggest problems were located.
The bridge over Monument Creek on Colorado Avenue caused the biggest concern, but the bridge over the Monument at Cache la Poudre was also a concern. These were the main connections, and repairs were important. The Bijou bridge had been destroyed in a 1913 flood and was a stronger bridge. Its survival made it the only route over the creek for quite some time. That bridge eventually got rebuilt and portions of it were there until COSMIX took it down this year. The replacement Uintah, Cache la Poudre and Colorado Avenue bridges are largely still there.
Over the years, I have found pictures of the flood damage west of Eighth Street. Fortunately Colorado City, except for a few houses near Fountain Creek, saw mainly tree damage. The bridges at 25th and 21st were soon cleaned up and back in operation. Some railroad and Golden Cycle mill men had a hard time getting to work, but things were soon back to normal. The flood was not the first, nor last for Manitou and Colorado City, but people were talking about it until 1965 (another flood year).