COBWEB CORNERS: Mystery street, Part 2
By Mel McFarland
In the 1890s, the Rio Grande had up to eight trains a day through Colorado City to Manitou Springs in the summer. Most of these trains ran during the day, with two in the evening. There also was a streetcar line to Manitou up Colorado Avenue since 1890. Getting to Manitou from Colorado Springs was quite easy. A new railroad station for Colorado City became a reality in about 1892 when the new station was built on our mystery street - have you guessed it yet? - at South East Second Street (nowadays 22nd Street).
In the 1890s, most of the stretch from Monument Creek to about 22nd Street was not populated, except for a few houses here and there, but this was not the case in a two-block section west of there. The passenger trains zipped through after stopping. It was the freight trains that had the problems. Several industries along the tracks required freight trains to pick up and set out cars. Regular bulletins were posted for the train crews who switched in these areas. They had to be cautious around some of the buildings as objects might be close to the cars, or there might be things to trip or fall over that could cause serious injuries. Close clearances existed at the lumber yards, the plaster plant and the brewery, but there were other dangers.
Some of the girls in these houses had ways of distracting the railroad men. You never knew what you might see as you passed an open door or window. Some of these ladies used their entrances to advertise their various specialties. The railroaders were warned to stay on alert - and on their trains - in this area. A few men were "lost" along this stretch. Several things changed in a few years. A reform movement in 1904 and 1905 brought many of the establishments to an end, plus a huge fire in the 1909 burned out many of the houses. A few larger, and closely watched, houses survived further up the street.
A couple of these buildings are still there, but the purposes changed some 50 to 75 years ago. Part of that old section is now quite popularů as a parking lot.
Hope you enjoyed a little early history about Cucharras Street.