COBWEB CORNERS: The building of West Colorado Springs
By Mel McFarland
Yes, I mentioned this last week. There was a West Colorado Springs before Colorado City became “the Westside”! It was the area west of Monument Creek to Limit Street.
Before the building boom, the area had been called barren and uninviting. The big change was the opening of the Colorado Midland railway in 1887. Many of the office workers, as well as many of the shop supervisors, settled in this neighborhood.
By the late summer of 1891, as many as 12 houses werer going up in an area of just a few blocks. These were surrounded by other new houses. A few vacant lots dotted the area. The east/west streets were being named to match those in Colorado Springs, while the north/south ones were getting tree names. Most of these names are still used, but a few were changed in 1917.
Some large buildings were also under construction. The Second Presbyterian Church was being built on the corner of Bijou and Spruce. Across the street a furniture store was being erected. To the west, Washington School was being improved, and to the north Bristol School was being expanded. Neighborhood grocery stores were also being built.
South as far as Colorado Avenue, big plans were in the works. The streetcar line was considering a line up Spruce, possibly as far north as Roswell City, near the brand-new Rock Island railroad shops. The line was never built quite that far, but it did go up Spruce and Walnut to just beyond Uintah.
An area just north of Colorado Avenue was used for a variety of purposes, including traveling circuses. There was talk of building a more permanent arena on the spot. This will be the subject of a story later.
The area north of Boulder Street had been well established, and that is why some of the streets do not line up today. There was one little street almost between these two areas called Center Street. This has significance to me, as one of my great-grandfathers had a grocery store on a corner on Center Street. The location is now under 1-25. He moved to this area, as did another great-grandfather, while West Colorado Springs was being developed.