COBWEB CORNERS: George H. ‘Judge’ Stewart

By Mel McFarland

       In a column last September, I mentioned a gent who started a plaster and cement works in Colorado City. But I didn't know any more about him at the time. So here he is, so to speak. His obituary dates from the end of 1893.
       George H. Stewart, or as some knew him, Judge Stewart, died suddenly in his home on North Weber at the age of 77. He was born in Vermont in March of 1816. His varied careers brought him westward. His first move was to New York, where he worked in a wool mill. It was here he met his wife and they had the first of three daughters in 1852. He moved further a few years later to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where he remained for nearly 20 years. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church there. He suffered from asthma and learned of the benefits of living in Colorado. His doctors had given him only a few years to live and he headed for Pueblo. The train stopped in Colorado Springs, and he liked the look of this area. He remained here, and his health improved.
       He was a man of means, and quite energetic. He eventually became president of the First National Bank. It is interesting how many locally well-known names have been connected to that bank, starting with Irving Howbert! Stewart was elected justice of the peace for El Paso County, and it was that office that gave him his "judge" nickname. In addition he remained active in his church, helping organize the First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs.
       In 1875, he and a couple of investors built a mill in Colorado City that produced plaster and even quantities of concrete. Using local materials, this industry was aided by our other major enterprise, the quarries. The company bought more property just east of Colorado City, near the Denver and Rio Grande tracks off Fountain Creek, and built a larger lime and cement business. The construction of the Colorado Midland railroad, along with Colorado City's prosperity, brought a great demand for his company's products. The times were good and eventually his company bought out a couple of smaller competitors. As Colorado Springs and Colorado City grew, so did the business, however, he was also involved in other projects and his direction of the mill was handed over to a manager.