COBWEB CORNERS: Other ways rocks were used

By Mel McFarland

       A while back I talked a bit about the missing quarries; well, this brought up point that the quarries were not always used for rocks to build buildings. Right here in Colorado City were two industries that dug up materials for other purposes.
       I will take the easy one first. It was a place that made the concrete that was used to hold a lot of those rocks together. The plant was just outside the business district, north of Fountain Creek. The limestone it used came from the hills around us. It eventually closed down because it could not keep up with the demand.
       Lime even came from Manitou. In fact Lime was big business in Manitou up into the 1940s. So you never heard of that? Well, it was kept rather quiet. It was part of the Golden Cycle Mill's operations. The lime was used in processing the gold ore from Cripple Creek, but it was also sold for a variety of other uses. The Midland even had special cars for hauling it. The kiln where it was processed was not that far from Mount Manitou! Today the spot has overgrown, but if you know where to look, there are a few remains.
       The other industry using rocks in Colorado City was a big paint manufacturing plant. It was near where the new post office distribution center sits now off Robinson and 25th. In the 1890s, Ute Pass Paint made all sorts of different paints and varnishes. It was sold in several stores along Colorado Avenue. The red, amber and white of the area's rocks were ground up and mixed into the base for some interesting shades. The Midland shipped in oils and chemicals and even used the paints. The plant saw investments by many well-known residents, but the whole operation came to an end on a very cold December night. A fire, a dangerous thing in a paint factory, spread to the areas where the oils and chemicals were stored. The fire burned intensely all night long. Although ice covered nearby buildings, the factory was destroyed. There were plans to rebuild it, but it was never done.
       Next time: Other building materials from around here.