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COBWEB CORNERS: The man who built the Husted House

By Mel McFarland

        I have talked about a little town just inside the present-day Air Force Academy, but I thought I would share a bit more about the man, Calvin R. Husted. Husted came to Colorado after gold was discovered on Cherry Creek in the late 1850s. Like several others, he found that the search for gold had few real discoveries. He used a skill he brought from Salem, New Jersey, to gain his wealth.
       Denver, like the future Colorado Springs, had few trees. Residents had to go to the closest forests for their lumber and other building materials. Husted started a sawmill a few miles south of the Divide, which we now know as Palmer Divide. It was quite competitive and the supply was short. Like miners looking for the source of the gold, the lumber men were looking for the big timber.
       The Talbert family had come to Colorado during the earlier California Gold Rush. They eventually settled in northern South Park, but Mr. Talbert took sick and died. The family returned to Indiana. The family, Mrs. Talbert, a daughter and two sons, eventually returned to Colorado in 1868. Several of their friends had settled in Colorado City, and that would be their new home. Husted had started hauling lumber to Colorado City. He met and eventually married the daughter, Amanda Talbert.
       When General William Palmer announced construction of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad between Denver and his new town of Colorado Springs, Husted's sawmill was not far from where the tracks were to be built. Provisions for a station would not only provide the railroad with a customer, but Husted would sell timbers to the railroad too. After a while, he also went to work for the railroad.
       Eventually, the Husteds moved into Colorado City and built a fine home there in 1884 on what was then a 40-acre property. The lumber came from the hardwood forests to the east, shaped by Husted's sawmill.
       The town of Husted, located where the Air Force Academy's North Gate is now, was divided when the second railroad was built through the area. The main part of the town was on the Santa Fe railroad and the road to Denver. It survived until the Academy opened in the '50s. It was just west of 1-25, just south of the North Gate of the Academy.
       In his later years, Husted separated from his wife and lived in poverty at the County Poor Farm, near the old Portland Mill. He died in 1906. His wife lived on into the 1930s.

(Posted 9/4/15; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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