COBWEB CORNERS: Cold winters past
By Mel McFarland
Here we are looking at 2007, straight in the eye. What might this year bring? I am not going to try that one. It was standard fare at the end of a year for there to be a list of significant events from the previous year. I am not going to do that either. I am going to, as usual, talk about a type of event that's common here in Colorado City this time of year.
This has all the looks of an old-fashioned winter. The last 20 or so years have been pretty mild. I hear an "old-timer" like me say, "You need to have one like in the old days!" Now, growing up here, I can remember more snow on Easter or Thanksgiving than on Christmas, but I can remember some memorable storms. Why, back in 1957 we had a three-foot snow overnight in September! Ever heard that before? In 1913, not only was there such a snow, but rain too! The construction at 1-25 in '07 promises to cause headaches, closing the bridge at Bijou. A flood in 1935 took out several bridges. Bijou survived that one.
The winter cold in 1931 was mainly the blame for the loss of both the D&RG and Colorado Midland railroad stations in Colorado City. In both cases, a few weeks apart, an agent built too big a fire in the stove. In 1953, it is said, a hobo burned down the three-story office building of the Colorado Midland. It stood at the north end of the Ghost Town building. The fire was pretty intense, but the night was so cold the buildings around had a coat of ice, and fire hoses froze during the fire. Less than 50 years ago, this end of town lost many a house to overheated stoves. Today the fire department warns people about safe handling of fireplace ashes. I cannot imagine someone not knowing about hot ashes in cardboard boxes. Every winter someone learns the hard way. A hundred years ago, ashes were an everyday problem, and there are buried ash pits in most Westside yards. Most houses had coal furnaces, but some burned wood. There were several places that delivered coal. Some of the older houses had a driveway, just so the coal truck could drive up to the house! Does your house still have a strange little iron door a couple feet square going to the basement?