COBWEB CORNERS: How did the people do it?
By Mel McFarland
Last week I talked about the freight business through town and got the question above. Travel through Colo-rado City before the railroad was, as you might guess by stage line. This type of travel also increased in the late 1870s. I have found information about at least three companies that came through here at that time.
Already there were regular four-horse coaches traveling in the summer as far as Manitou. A few of these even went as far as Manitou Park (north of Woodland Park), which was a popular resort at the time. McClellan & Spotswood was the largest of the carriers west through Colorado City, using two- and six-horse teams and running mainly to Fairplay and the South Park mining camps. Three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the company's coaches traveled both ways with up to eight passengers and several hundred pounds of freight, including mail. The six-horse teams used the popular Concord coaches. The return trip was made the next day, usually carrying fewer people and a little freight.
Bradbury, Woodgate and Hundley did the bulk of the Leadville business. This company used a four-horse Concord coach, also leaving on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and returning the next day. This company started right after the strikes in Leadville, and eventually Hundley bought out his partners, operating well into the 1890s.
The third company, owned by William Foster, served mainly Florence and Canon City, but occasionally ran specials as far as Manitou Park and Deckers. He used a smaller coach drawn by two horses.
Several Denver companies managed to bring passengers into Colorado City even after the railroad was built, but that service was lost as the railroads grew.
Each of these companies had offices along Colorado Avenue. In the 1880s, this business slowed once the railroads reached Fairplay and Leadville, but Hundley, managed to survive on business away from the railroad-served camps. He thrived in the early days of the Cripple Creek District. It took the railroads nearly five years to decide, and finally build to Cripple Creek. Hundley lasted generally into the days of the automobile.