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COBWEB CORNERS: A buffalo skull causes a stir

By Mel McFarland

        Because the Garden of the Gods is a city park, its maintenance people find things there all the time.
       In 1925, there were a couple of interesting discoveries.
       The first was a skeleton of an Indian woman. This was a challenge, as experts had a hard time deciding how old it was. Some suggested centuries, but a Denver expert's estimate of about 100 years was settled on. One of the factors in the discovery was the nature of the soils in the park. It was also explained that, depending on the amount of rain and snow, the grave could move, with its depth even changing annually. A 1925 newspaper article did not reveal the actual place where the skeleton was found, but it may have been east of the Kissing Camels rock formation, where crews were working on the pavilion.
       The other discovery that year caused quite a bit of excitement. It was only a skull, but it was of a large buffalo. It was found by workmen digging near the Hidden Inn - the gift shop building that used to be west of Kissing Camels rock. The men were expanding the building's parking lot. According to maintenance staff, they had often uncovered the bones of horses and cows as they worked along the creek bed east of the park, but this skull was a first. An expert from Colorado College added that prehistoric remains might also be found in the park if it were closely examined.
       Many improvements to the road in the park were underway, as the number of automobiles was increasing. A couple of new bridges and parking areas were on the list of improvements for 1925. The road improvements included wider bridges, more gradual curves and the widening of the space at the gateway rocks. A serious problem for park maintenance, still a problem today, was erosion caused by occasional thunderstorms.
       A new road into the park from the south at Ridge Road had been finished a year earlier, in 1924. The solution with the Goerke family, which would allow access through the Balanced Rock area and Mushroom Park, was still not resolved. The Goerkes' fence at Balanced Rock, however, was long gone.

(Posted 11/29/14; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since early 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.

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