COBWEB CORNERS: Old papers, old friends

By Mel McFarland

       It is fun meeting people up on Pike's Peak and finding out that they are from all over the world, but the most fun is finding people from Old Colorado City. I usually ask if they read this paper, and some say no, but most say yes. For those, I ask if they read my column. Since my picture is up there, some go, “Yeaaaa, that's you!” Once in a while I even get story ideas from them!
       Sometimes interesting comments about our town come from people who have just moved here, and there are lots of them. This column lets them learn about our past, and even those who have been here a long time pick up a new story or two! I enjoy reading through old newspapers. I often chuckle at what was front page news. Some of the news is like what we see today, but some is quite different. Politics regularly shows up, as one would expect.
       It seems hard to believe that anything could be as disastrous, bold or tragic as things in today's papers, but a hundred years ago there were things that seemed even worse. Read through an old newspaper and it seems as if nothing is new. The front pages the days after the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906 could have been written about a disaster that happened this year. People all over the country, even here, donated money, food and clothes. Special trains, even from the Colorado Midland in Colorado City, started carrying help to California.
       Not all news was grim. The sports pages describe many generations of champions from Colorado City. In addition, there were non-sports champions in music, agriculture, art, literature and elocution and speech.
       Who would ever think reading the want ads would be fun? You might shake your head at the prices, but you might also wonder about some of the jobs. The display ads often capture things just as well as news items. Some of the ads show stores and houses, but others are pretty surely not from around here! Like today you can clip out a picture from piles of artwork and use it in an advertisement, but occasionally these ads actually feature a local storefront or scene.
       It is even fun when I am at the library and see school children doing research on an assignment. I often laugh out loud at their reactions to old newspapers.