Home Page

COBWEB CORNERS: Colorado City’s jail was just too far away

By Mel McFarland

       A while back I did a column on Colorado City's attempt at a city hall, fire station and jail in 1888 that became the first Whittier School and has had many other uses since then. It is the building on the northwest corner of 29th Street and Colorado Avenue.
       Today, I am talking about the next city hall. It was built just four years later at the northeast corner of 26th and Cucharras streets (115 S. 26th St.). The town's police had found that the jail at 29th was too far to haul the “rowdies” from Colorado City's bars. These were usually people from Colorado Springs who could not get a drink in their town, as well as railroaders, gold-mill workers and visitors on their way to the gold fields. The Colorado city police did not have a nice “paddy wagon” like Colorado Springs, and getting these individuals to the jail was sometimes difficult. It was decided to put the new building, right near where all the problems were.
       The mayor then in Colorado City was George Birdsall, its police chief. He was quite in agreement with building the brick structure, which like the 1888 version, would also be two stories tall, with city offices, a fire station and a basement jail.
       Only this story takes an interesting turn. Nearly 20 years later, in 1917, Birdsall was mayor of Colorado Springs
A painting by Westside artist Jack Ekstrom shows how the one-time Colorado City city hall looked in 1977.
Jack Ekstrom painting, 1977; courtesy of Dave Hughes
when Colorado City was annexed. He had to decide what to do with the old city hall.
       Until 1921, it was home to Colorado Springs' new Fire Station 5. But once the station moved to its current quarters at 28th and Colorado, the old 26th Street building was sold.
       In the years that followed, it was quite a few different things, including Colorado City's first museum, a popcorn “factory,” cabinet-maker's shop and a garage. By 1990, the first floor had been subdivided into different shops and the second floor was a residence, when an accidental fire burned the historic structure to the ground.
       In its place, seven years later, Kaye and David Caster built the three-story Old Town GuestHouse. Also made of brick, the eight-room bed & breakfast is owned today by Kim and Dave Wolinski.
       Fortunately, the neighborhood has changed over the years, so the Police Department has not requested another jail in that part of town.

(Posted 11/2/16; 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.

       Would you like to respond to this column? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)