Steven Wade Veatch
This photograph (figure 1), probably taken in 1901, shows one of the buildings at Wade’s City, a rough-and-tumble settlement on the Old Stage Road near Colorado Springs. The person in the photograph might be Joel Hayford Wade, the man who established the place.
The photograph reveals many things. It shows a man standing alone, in stiff silence and edgy exhaustion. He is a massive man, built like a barn door. He is shaved clean as a smooth stone, wears a jacket that does not fit, and sports a hat with a bit of swagger. Perhaps he is looking at his place one last time.
At the center of the photograph is the ramshackle cabin Wade built with heavy, hand-hewn logs notched at the ends and laid one upon another. Mud chinking fills the spaces between the logs. A tattered tarp covers the roof. Inside, the cabin is dark—tarps hang over windows. We can imagine that spiderwebs fill some cracks and smokey smells linger by the open door.
Outside, a handsaw rests on a weathered granite rock covered with splotches of lichen. A broken lantern sits nearby. Boulders behind the cabin are waiting the ages out. Helen Hunt Jackson wrote about one gigantic granite boulder at Wade’s place when she passed through (Conte, 1984).
There are things not seen in the photo. Perhaps there are horses that nosed one another in a pole corral. There might be a downed log crumbling into soil, and on the north side of the cabin, piles of pine needles and cones covering the moss-cushioned ground. Possibly silence fills the pine scented air until an agitated chickadee starts a fit of chirping.
Joel Wade was born in New York in 1827. In 1885, at the age of 57, Wade homesteaded at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain. He chose land on the south branch of south Cheyenne Creek by the Cheyenne and Beaver Park Toll Road (Gazette Telegraph, 1934).
Figure 2. View of Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. From the S.W. Veatch postcard collection.
The toll road began as a work road, evolved into a road for scenic trips to local resorts and hiking trails, and then was extended to reach the goldfields of Cripple Creek (Conte, 1984). The road ultimately became known as the “Old Stage Road.”
|Figure 3. View of At. Peter’s Dome on the Cripple Creek Short Line, now the Gold Camp Road. From the S. W. Veatch photograph collection|
Conte, W. R., 1984, The Old Cripple Creek Stage Road: Colorado Springs, Little London Press.
Horgen, I.S., 1923, History of Pike National Forest. Ms. on file, National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Gazette Telegraph, 1934, Famous Hotels and Inns of Long Ago Now Only Memories, Sunday April 8, 1934.
Peterson, H. K., 2002, Colorado Stagecoach Stations, A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History.