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COBWEB CORNERS: An unusual vehicular wreck in 1927

By Mel McFarland

        There have been some interesting train wrecks, and I have told you about some of them. But I found this one quite amazing.
       It happened in Manitou on a nice, early November day in 1927. According to a newspaper article, Andrew Parks, motorman on the Colorado Springs and Interurban Railway line serving West Colorado and Manitou avenues, met with painful injuries as his trolley ran into trouble near the Denver and Rio Grande railroad station in lower downtown Manitou. Fortunately there were no passengers, only another crewman, the conductor. The streetcar was rounding the curve, a few blocks from the business district, when something came into the road from a side street. Parks was unable to stop in time and soon found himself covered in wood, plaster and shingles!
       What had he hit? A house! Now, streetcars rarely hit houses. Once in a while they might leave the rails and stop in someone's yard, but this house came out of a side street! Yes it was one of the smaller houses seen all around Manitou, even today. It was being moved from a lot on the street above the business district to a lot closer to the creek.
       The house was up on rollers, being pulled by a team of horses. The movers had looked down the avenue in both directions, but the move wasn't going well and they were having to take it gradually. They were almost across the tracks when here came Parks and his empty streetcar!
       BAM! The trolley hit the house. Parks suffered mainly puncture wounds and scrapes. No one was in the house, and the movers were clear. The worst damage was to the overhanging rear of the house and the front of the streetcar.
       Parks was taken to St Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs. The car was returned to the car barn, where, at the time of the story, it was undecided if it would be repaired. The house movers thought that the damage to the house could be taken care of. It certainly made an interesting scene in the streets of Manitou!
       In another accident a few days later, a streetcar was hit by a fire truck near Colorado College.

(Posted 12/20/14; 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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