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COBWEB CORNERS: Centennial extension graphic prompts boyhood memories

By Mel McFarland

       The Westside Pioneer recently ran the plan for the Centennial Boulevard extension between Fillmore and Fontanero streets, and I want to tell you how it affected me. That is my old neighborhood!
       In that small area, just north of where I lived from the age of 10, there is a lot of history. Fontanero Street is the old border of Roswell City. I have told the story of how this part of town was a separate city in the early 1890s, which is why the streets do not match up. Along here are some 100-year-old houses.
       One home on Chestnut, just south of Fontanero, was not as old, but it had a tiny beauty shop behind it. The owner of that shop had worked with my mother in a beauty shop on Cache la Poudre just south of Colorado College in the 1940s. That house was taken out in the 1-25 widening in 1996.
       I used to catch the "Number 6, Spruce" bus to downtown under a big tree at Fontanero and Cooper.
       Up at the top of the hill at Fontanero and Seventh (yes, this is the same Seventh Street as down on Colorado Avenue), there used to be the Roswell School. Built here in the 1890s. it served this community,
An aerial-photo rendering shows the proposed layout of the Centennial Boulevard extension to Fontanero Street. For a larger version of this graphic and the Westside Pioneer article about the extension plans, go to this link.
Courtesy of City Engineering
but after Roswell City was annexed the name was changed to Roosevelt School. It was used off and on until the 1920s. One of the few known pictures of the students there includes my mother and her siblings.
       In 1959, when 1-25 was built, the city had no street called Centennial Boulevard, but the thought of it "someday" caused the Fontanero exit to be built. Later the city built its shops just east of the railroad tracks, in an area that 100 years ago was the switching yards for the Rock Island railroad. For 20 or so years this interstate exit has mainly been used by city vehicles.
       Ah, will somebody look nostalgically on this area in 50 years? Who knows, but that picture sure made me think!

(Posted 10/11/16; 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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