COBWEB CORNERS: The traveling exhibit of 1891

By Mel McFarland

       An exhibit in 1891 toured the parts of the West that were served by the Santa Fe railroad. Three cars long, it started in Denver and tra-veled through California and Missouri. The cars sat at Colorado Springs in October 1891. Here an exhibit was added from the Colorado City Glass Company. The cars were open to the public daily until 10 in the evening, and people waited in long lines.
       Each of the cars was 60 feet long with displays on tables and walls. These included Colorado farming goods, industry and mining products and and photographs of places of interest throughout the state. An enormous chunk of coal, weighing over a ton, came from Canon City. A pumpkin from here was too large to be on a table! Oats grown in Ute Pass were near corn, carrots and potatoes from the Monument and Palmer Lake area. Other farm products were a giant squash from Colorado City, weighing in at 75 pounds. Items from the Western Slope included potatoes, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, and peaches.
       The Manitou Mineral Springs Company displayed waters from most of the town's springs, and samples were available from its bottling works. The Colorado City Glasswork's display took up 12 feet on one side of a railroad car. Its sign was made from small bits of different colors of glass. Below it were the raw materials (sand, lime, ash and manganese) the company used, along with a huge chunk of glass and the finished product, glass bottles.
       Marble came from the quarries near Glenwood Springs. Gems and minerals from the mines in Leadville and Aspen glittered, and Colorado-made jewelry could be found.
       Following its display here, the next stop for the show was Fort Worth, Texas.
       Know what was missing? Cripple Creek had not yet really gotten started! The camp was in its first days and was largely unknown. What a difference the next year would make, especially here in our area!