COBWEB CORNERS: A parade for Whittier’s cornerstone

By Mel McFarland

       I have done several stories about our little school at 29th and Kiowa (now Mountain Song charter). It was my first school. I recently found a story about the laying of the building's cornerstone in May 1901. You may remember, this was the second Whittier School. The first was the old city hall at 29th and Colorado.
       A parade started the activity, as a huge crowd assembled at Bancroft School (now Bancroft Park). People gathered along Colorado Avenue as if a circus was in town. Police Chief Birdsall led the parade, followed by the Colorado Midland band and almost 1,000 children. Visiting Masons were in town for the event, including more than 200 from Cripple Creek who had come down on the Short Line. Also on hand were Knights Templars from Colorado Springs and the Woodmen of the World.
       The parade traveled up Colorado to the new school's site, where a platform had been erected and chairs for the dignitaries were ready. The Colorado Midland Band played "America," accompanied by the schoolchildren. Mayor J. D. Faulkner made a short speech and introduced the Masonic group who would install the cornerstone. The use of the Masons in cornerstone ceremonies was a tradition all over the country. The sandstone block had been brought from the quarry near the site. In it were placed newspapers from all over the area, as well as a list of names of the school board and teachers and students.
       Another speaker was Al Hum-phrey of Denver, who had been with the Colorado Midland Rail-way and the Colorado City School Board. After the ceremony, the band led the group back to Ban-croft School for a social gathering.
       Whittier was Colorado City's first elementary school, Midland was second and Buena Vista the third. I believe the stone is still in place, even though the building is considerably larger than it was in 1901.