Monday, November 1, 2021

The Foster Ranch: An Early Colorado Springs Homestead

By Steven Wade Veatch   

            Marcus Aurelius Foster (1834-1923) made his way from New Ipswich, New Hampshire, to the Colorado Territory in its early days of settlement. He arrived in Colorado City, the first permanent town in the Pikes Peak region, in the spring of 1860 (Foster, 1964). Colorado Springs did not yet exist, and El Paso County would not be organized by the citizenry until 1861—one year after Foster’s arrival.

            The Pikes Peak region was a harsh and wild environment when Foster arrived. It was an expanse of shortgrass plains that ended where Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain rose to the south and west. Dramatic red rock formations—the Garden of the Gods—in their skyward reach marked the transition of the plains to the mountains. At that time, the Utes traveled back and forth between their mountain hunting grounds to the west and the foothills to the east. In the winter, the Utes camped at lower elevations, sometimes near the Garden of the Gods or Manitou Springs.

Figure 1. A postcard showing the Garden of the Gods in the foreground and Pikes Peak in the background. From the S.W. Veatch collection.

            Foster’s arrival in the area marked him as one of the early El Paso County pioneers. He came along with other men who were determined to settle there. Few stores and fewer comforts were to be found. There were no railroads, and the only way to travel was on roads that were mostly tracks through grass-covered ground.

            Soon after Foster arrived in 1860, he rode up the Ute Pass trail to look around. He went as far as cone-shaped Mount Pisgah on the other side of Pikes Peak (gold would be discovered near there at Cripple Creek 30 years later). It was there that Foster met Ute Chief Ouray, who was watching a buffalo hunt from the top of Mount Pisgah. The men talked for a few minutes before Ouray raced down Pisgah’s steep slope to help his fellow hunters stop the buffalo from running away (Foster, 1964). After his encounter with Ouray, Foster rode back down Ute Pass to Colorado City.

            In 1861, Foster and J. B. Riggs left Colorado City for Buckskin Joe, a gold camp west of Fairplay. Foster and Riggs looked for gold as they shoveled gravel into a sluice box on Buckskin Creek (Foster, 1961). The record of Foster’s activities dims until four years later.

            Foster recognized the open, grass-covered landscape east of Ute Pass as an opportunity to claim and own land. He filed a homestead on 160 acres in South Cheyenne Cañon on December 1, 1865. The Civil War had ended eight months earlier, and Andrew Johnson was President. Few white people were in the area when Foster filed his homestead papers with the land office. Five years later, the census of 1870 recorded only 81 residents in Colorado City and 987 white people in all of El Paso County. General Palmer would not establish Colorado Springs until in 1871.

            Marcus Foster built a large ranching operation on his homestead that eventually included another 160 acres, for a total of 320 acres (Foster, 1967). His land and ranch house, right behind what is today the Broadmoor Hotel, was a busy place. He kept 35 “stands” of honeybees, had pigs and cattle, maintained large fields of hay and corn, kept a vegetable garden, and had a dairy operation (Foster, 1967).


Figure 2. Cheyenne Mountain looking south from the Foster ranch. Marcus A. Foster, and his son, stand by the wooden cellar ventilator. Modified from a cyanotype. Photographer and date unknown. Photo courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. 

            Foster lived on his ranch with his wife Elizabeth and raised six children: Minnie, Helen, Marcus, Edith, Dora, and Lucy. Dora was born on the family homestead and became a well-known columnist for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. She was also the paper’s society and church editor. Besides her work at the Gazette, she wrote three books on Colorado history: Colorado Yesterdays, 1961; Then . . . The Best of Colorado Yesterdays, 1964; and My Childhood Days in Colorado Sunshine, 1967. She based her writing on her experiences and stories from residents of the early days of the region. Dora lived to be 94.

Figure 3. View of the Foster Ranch cattle pen. Mount Rosa and Stove Mountain are in the background. Modified from a cyanotype. Photographer and date unknown. Photo courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. 
            In the spring of 1867, Chief Nevava, with his band of 500 Utes, left their winter encampment on the Arkansas River and set up a camp just below Foster’s ranch house. The Utes camped there for a brief period while they waited for the grass to green up and grow high enough for their ponies to eat before they continued on their travels.

            One day, the chief’s son, Nevava John, came to Foster’s house. Foster gave him coffee and other items. During the visit, Foster showed Nevava John a picture of William Henry Harrison’s Battle of Tippecanoe (1811) which included Indian warriors in an old Mitchell’s School Geography book in Foster’s library (Foster, 1964). This page, with the picture of the battle, interested Nevava John so much that he brought others from the camp to see it.

            Foster continued to maintain good relations with the local Indians. Old Chief Nevava, when he passed by Foster’s ranch, would occasionally stop and talk to Foster (Foster, 1964). Relations with the Indians were not always good, however. Dora wrote that one day in April 1867, a band of Ute Indians “were encamped on the banks of the Fountain, a short mile from my parents’ cabin. The Indians . . . were not known to be especially friendly toward the ranchers and were planning to drive them out of their prize hunting grounds here along the front range of the mountains “ (Foster, 1961).

            According to Dora Foster, the situation with the Indians deteriorated, and in 1868, the Indians struck at the settlers. She wrote, “People for miles around came and brought their families for protection from them, and we were forted up in the old Anway house located at 2812 W. Pikes Peak” (Foster, 1961). While the women and children stayed at the Anway house, the men, with rifles, stood guard on a nearby hill. Dora Foster continued writing about the attack:

We were living here when the three boys were killed by the Indians near where the Antlers Hotel now stands. They were herding cattle when they were attacked by the Indians from the hills. The oldest of the boys was young Everhart. He was 21 years old. The Robbins boys were younger. They were brought here and laid out in the old log building which was the first state house. It was located on the north side of Colorado Avenue, between 26th and 27th streets. I can just remember going with my sister to see the bodies, as everyone was flocking there so horrified and grieved over it. They were a terrible sight, scalped and speared, and they had placed their guns to their eyes and blew them out, and faces and necks all powder burnt. The Indians also stampeded stock (Foster, 1961).

            At Foster’s ranch, the days were long and the work hard. Cattle needed tending, the hay cut, and other crops cared for. Winters were cold and summers hot. Besides Indian troubles, grasshoppers infested the land periodically. In 1873, the area experienced a plague of grasshoppers. In response, Foster made a wooden frame with a long handle. At the opposite end of the handle he tacked a cloth sack on the wooden frame. Foster would then walk into his fields and swing the contraption back and forth at the horde of hoppers until he captured so many that the bag was full of grasshoppers. He would then take the buzzing bag near the pigpen, dump the insects into a pot of boiling water, and then feed the scalded hoppers to his pigs (Colorado Springs Free Press, 1951).

            In the summer of 1872, Marcus Foster, Daniel Kinsman, and Carter Harlan, all of whom had children of school age, organized a school board. Marcus Foster continued as a member of the school board for 32 years (Foster, 1964). Foster, a skilled carpenter, built the first schoolhouse with logs he hauled down from the east side of Cheyenne Mountain (Foster, 1961). The rustic school, built on Broadmoor Hill, had one room—about 12 by 14 feet—a door that faced east and four windows, two on each side of the school (Foster, 1961).

            In the fall, the school opened with Miss Mary Harlan as the first teacher (Foster, 1961). She was the twenty-one-year-old daughter of C.S. Harlan, the school board’s treasurer. There were eight pupils. Light came in from the windows and settled on the faces of the students as they sat at their desks. Each day, the older boys hauled a bucket of drinking water up from the creek and placed it on a wooden bench. A white metal dipper hung near the bucket.

            The school day was long, from 9 am to 4 pm with two fifteen-minute recess periods and an hour lunch. During recess and lunch, there were ball games and other activities outside (Foster, 1964). A huge pine tree grew in the schoolyard, and someone had attached a swing on a lower limb (Foster, 1964). The laughter of children filled the schoolyard during those recess periods. In the winter, there were indoor games. A round potbelly stove that burned coal heated the little log school.

            One day, a group of Indians rode into the schoolyard while the children were playing. The Indians were interested in the long hair of 10-year-old Anna Reihard and offered to trade some ponies for her. A scared Anna ran into the schoolhouse and shut the door. Fortunately, the trade was not made, and the Indians rode away (Foster, 1964).

            Sometimes during the noon recess, Frank Lewis, who lived just a short distance west of the schoolhouse, walked out on his porch, sat down on a wooden chair, and played his banjo. Hearing the music, the children walked a short distance with their lunch pails to his log cabin, where they listened to him play. When Lewis was not entertaining the students, he was building a mill on a nearby hill for Bert Myers, who had a 720-acre corn and wheat farm. After Myers finished the mill, he used the corn to make brooms that he sold in Colorado City. Meyer’s property later became part of the Broadmoor Hotel’s grounds.

            In 1881, Foster was elected to the Colorado legislature as a member of the House for two years. He served with Horace A. W. Tabor, who was a state senator and Lieutenant Governor. Frederic Pitkin was Governor.

            The Foster children entertained themselves in endless yet simple ways. In the spring, the scent of budding flowers and the smell of newly turned earth from Foster’s fields drifted in the air. This signaled it was time for the Foster children to pick wildflowers for their mother. To get to the wildflowers, they went behind the stables and crawled under a barbwire fence, and then walked down a path. To keep their dresses from tearing on the barbs, Foster wrapped the barbs with little pieces of cloth (Foster, 1961).

            There were many opportunities for fun. The Foster children put flat stones on the top of a big red anthill in the neighbor’s pasture, returning the next day to see if the ants had moved the stones. The ants always moved the stones several inches from the top of the anthill. They looked for wild bird nests and caught frogs along a water ditch. A special treat was a family trip to the Garden of the Gods for the day, and picnics among the towering red sedimentary rocks.

            On summer evenings, after supper was eaten and the dishes were cleared away, Foster and his wife sat on the front steps of the ranch house and watched their children play and gambol on the soft green grass. According to Dora Foster, the long winter evenings were the best part of each day, when the parents and children sat in the parlor room, lighted by a single kerosene lamp (Foster, 1961). It was in this room that the children read or worked on their homework. Sometimes Foster read stories to his children from the Toledo Blade that came once each week (Foster, 1961). He must have, on many occasions, pulled a book from the bookshelves to read to the children. His stiff fingers carefully turned the pages while the lamplight flickered against the uneven shadows.

            On winter evenings, after supper, Mrs. Foster brought a button box out and dumped its contents on the table. Dora wrote, it was “a box full of magic for my sisters and me when we were small” (Foster, 1967, p. 1). The Foster children, sitting around the table, played with the buttons, imagining the buttons were individual members of local families, and acting out endless stories.

Figure 4. A typical button box. Farmers and ranchers saved buttons for later use. Photo date 2021 by S. W. Veatch.
            The Foster ranch existed long ago, a place where a family experienced the pioneer days of Colorado Springs. In a newspaper article, Dora Forster wrote, “The soft mellow yellow light from the lamp, and the pleasant heat from the coal-burning stove seemed to me to be all that we wanted” (Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, 1972). Marcus Foster and his family lived in a timeless place of their own making. These historic photos resurrect those earlier days. Today, the frantic pace of modern life has replaced the much longer and simpler days experienced by the Fosters and other pioneer families.

 

Acknowledgments

            I thank Eric Swab and Dr. Bob Carnein for their valuable comments and help in improving this paper.

 

References and Further Reading

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, 1972, Dora Foster Wrote about Pioneer Family: Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, March 23, 1972, p. 17BB.

Colorado Springs Free Press, 1951, Dorothy Smith Relates Stories of Early Days: Colorado Springs Free Press, October 17, 1951, p. 5.

Foster, Dora, 1961, Colorado Yesterdays: Colorado Springs, Dentan Printing Company.

Foster, Dora, 1964, Then . . . The Best of Pikes Peak Region Yesterdays: Colorado Springs, Dentan Printing Company.

Foster, Dora, 1967, My Childhood Days in Colorado Sunshine: Colorado Springs, Dentan-Berkeland Printing Company. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Wade's City: An Early Gateway to Cripple Creek

 Steven Wade Veatch

A researcher at the Cripple Creek District Museum recently examined a tattered photo album that once belonged to a family who lived in the Cripple Creek Mining District. One photograph (figure 1) in the album, probably taken in 1901, shows a building 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. Joel H. Wade arrived in the Colorado Springs area 14 years after its founding by General Palmer. After looking around for land, he settled at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain in 1885. Soon after gold was found in Cripple Creek, and that area boomed, the Cripple Creek stage stopped at Wade’s place, making it a busy spot.

Figure 1. One of the buildings at Joel H. Wade’s stage stop on the Old Stage Road. On the front of the photo this is written in pencil: “Wade’s Inn, Cheyenne Mountain Stage Road, old landmark.” This is not a photo of Wade’s Inn, but more likely a photo of a storage building due to the lack of windows. Photo date circa 1901. Modified from a cyanotype. Photographer unknown. Photo courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. 

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 58, 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.”

Wade’s place was four miles west of the road’s tollgate. Wade thought there would be enough people traveling on the road to support a saloon. His saloon, or Wade’s Inn, became a popular place to stop (Peterson 2002). He stood behind the bar and poured drinks for travelers who stopped by for a break (Peterson 2002). As stage traffic increased, Wade added several more buildings. 

Blackhawk Davis came to this area and built a blacksmith shop (Peterson, 2020). Davis maintained the machinery of the men who worked on the toll road. Davis’s surprising strength was well known. According to one account, he slung a 40-pound sack of flour over his shoulder and carried it on his back all the way from Colorado Springs to his cabin at St. Peter’s Dome, a hike of over 11 miles (Conte, 1984). 

After a prospector discovered gold at Cripple Creek in 1890, a rush to the gold fields started. In the early days of the district there were only stage and wagon roads to the gold camp. El Paso County Commissioners worked on a plan to extend the Cheyenne and Beaver Park Toll Road to Cripple Creek (Conte, 1984). Once the road was completed, there was regular stage service to Cripple Creek.

The Cripple Creek stage started its run to the gold camp from the corner of Colorado Avenue (then called Huerfano Street) and Tejon Street in Colorado Springs. A team of horses pulled stages that carried card sharps, snake serum sellers, miracle medicine men, merchants, and fortune seekers.

With the blacksmith shop and tavern in place, the Cripple Creek stage stopped at Wade’s place regularly during the mining camp’s boom days (Horgen, 1923; Patterson 2002). With the steady traffic of travelers, Wade added rental cabins for visitors to rest or spend a night or a few days to enjoy the scenery before traveling on (Conte, 1984). By one account, Mrs. Moore ran a small brothel in one of the cabins (Peterson, 2002). By the early 1890s Wade’s settlement, known as "Wade's City," had twelve buildings and covered 6 acres (Conte, 1984). However, this stage stop never became an official town or had a post office (Conte, 1984).

A story has been told that a drunk miner entered Wade’s cabin one night when it was cold outside. He was too drunk to build a fire in the stove; instead, he started the fire in the middle of the cabin’s floor. The flames quickly spread and burned the cabin down (Conte, 1984).

Over time Wade developed a problem with the liquor that he sold at his inn. He often came home late and stumbled through the front door, drunk. According to an article that appeared in the August 10, 1893, edition of the Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, Wade checked into the Keeley Institute at 18th and Curtis Street in Denver, a facility established by Dr. Keeley to treat alcoholism (Public Opinion, 1916). The institute promoted the injections of “bichloride” or “double chloride” of gold into the patients. By the late 1800s, there were 200 treatment centers nationwide and boasted a 50 percent success rate. Dr. Keeley used an early type of group therapy for his patients that contributed to their recovery (White, 2016). 

By 1900, the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railroad, known as the Short Line, started service between Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek. The Short Line replaced the stagecoach, and there would be no stops at Wade City or stages running after 1905 (Conte, 1984).The railroad tracks followed the same general route of the stage road (Peterson, 2002). 

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.

As time passed, Wade’s life changed. The stage no longer stopped, and Wade’s City was quiet as a deserted mine shaft. His days dwindled, and sand slipped through the hourglass. He knew he would soon be gone. That day almost came for him in February 1913, while he still lived in the settlement named for him, when he got lost in a snowstorm and nearly froze to death (Conte, 1984).

By this time, he was 85 years old. Mountain life had put its brand on him. Although tougher than boot leather, he was feeling the botherations of old age. Time blew away like leaves in a fall breeze, and it was time for Wade to move on. Joel Wade took a deep breath when he took his last look at his settlement and then turned to leave.

The Colorado Springs City Directory shows Wade living at the county poor farm from 1913 until 1916. Although there is no record that Wade’s grandson, Fred Barr, who built Barr trail to the summit of Pikes Peak, visited him at the poor farm, it is likely that he did.

Wade died in 1916 at the age of 88. He is buried in Colorado Springs’ Evergreen Cemetery. By 1934, all of Wade’s City was gone, now part of Cheyenne Mountain’s buried memories. This old photograph of Wade’s Inn now belongs to the past, and Joel Wade has stepped into yesterday.


Acknowledgments

I thank Eric Swab for his help with this manuscript. I thank the Colorado Springs Oyster Club critique group for reviewing the manuscript, and Dr. Bob Carnein for his valuable comments and help in improving this paper. 

References and further reading:

Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, August 10, 1893.

Conte, W. R., 1984, The Old Cripple Creek Stage Road: Colorado Springs, Little London Press.

Gazette Telegraph, 1934, Famous Hotels and Inns of Long Ago Now Only Memories, Sunday April 8, 1934.

Horgen, I.S., 1923, History of Pike National Forest. Ms. on file, National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.

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.

Public Opinion Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1916, Keeley Institute: Public Opinion Colorado Springs, Colorado, February 26, 1916, pg. 3, col 2.

White, A., 2016, Inside a Nineteenth-Century Quest to End Addiction, retrieved from https://daily.jstor.org/inside-a-nineteenth-century-quest-to-end-addiction/ on September 9, 2021.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Cripple Creek Profile: Frank Finegan and His Requa Savage Mine

 By Steven W. Veatch

Francis “Frank” Finegan (1835-1914) was an adventurer who fought in the Civil War. And he was among the first group to arrive at the goldfields of the Cripple Creek mining district, where he located and patented several mines. Stockholders elected him president, treasurer, and general manager of the Requa Savage when he incorporated the mine on April 26, 1894 (Colorado State Mining Directory, 1898). 


Figure 1. The Requa Savage mine. A miner, named “Big Swede," stands by an ore cart under the headframe of the mine. Photographer and date unknown. Courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. CCDM A 8315.

Finegan left enough of a record to trace his interesting journeys and see the stormy corners of his life. He was born in 1835 in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland. In 1854, he sailed out of Liverpool to New York City (Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899). He then left New York City and lived for a time in Hartford, Connecticut, where he worked as a stonecutter and mason. He moved to California in 1857 and mined on the American River, the site of the original 1848 gold discovery in California. One year later, he sailed to Australia and farmed near Ballarat. With three partners, he located a gold mine near there. The partners worked it until 1859, when they sold their interests, each pocketing $35,000—a whopping $1,091,375 in 2020 dollars (Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899). 

Finegan left Australia and returned to California for a few months in 1860. He then moved to New York City. On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 am, while Finegan was fast asleep, Confederate General Beauregard ordered his gunners to open fire on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Cannons roared like a crack of thunder. Explosions lit up the darkness and smoke settled over the fort. Thirty-four hours later, the besieged Union garrison raised a white flag and surrendered. The Confederates committed an act of war that forced President Abraham Lincoln to act. Two days later, Lincoln called for volunteers to fight in a war to preserve the Union. 

Finegan answered Lincoln’s call. He joined the 69th New York Regiment that month and was mustered into service for three months. The 69th Regiment was part of the Irish Brigade, which at the beginning included the 63rd, 69th, and the 88th New York Regiments and the 28th Massachusetts Regiment. The 116th Pennsylvania Regiment, made up of Irishmen from Philadelphia, was added during the fall of 1862 (R. Sauers, personal communication). The Irish Brigade quickly built a reputation for fierce fighting on the battlefield, and Finegan found a passage into hell when he fought in many of its engagements.

The 69th New York Regiment fought in the First Battle of Bull Run under the command of General William T. Sherman. During that battle, Confederate forces took Finegan prisoner. The Confederates released him on parole (Both sides had no means to take care of prisoners; Grant later stopped the practice of releasing prisoners). Once released, Finegan reenlisted for three years and returned to the battlefield. 

Finegan saw combat at the Battle of Fair Oaks (Henrico County, Virginia) on May 31 and June 1, 1862. It was there that he saw the use of Union balloons, some reaching altitudes of over 1,000 feet, to report enemy positions and direct artillery fire. 

Later, at the Cornfield Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), Finegan went down hard with a savage head wound while carrying the flag (Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899). Almost 8,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded in the Cornfield Battle. 

Finegan fought in the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 - 3, 1863), where he witnessed horrific sights. He surely would have heard flags flap in the wind and bullets whizz by. The air was heavy with the scent of blood. There were fields of slaughtered and decaying bodies everywhere. While marching down a road jammed with troops and shining bayonets, he doubtless heard the cries of the wounded and the amputees, and then noticed a heap of amputated legs, feet, arms, and hands under a tree. During the Civil War, doctors performed a lot of amputations to prevent wounds from becoming infected. Antibiotics used to kill germs had not been invented yet. Gettysburg was the bloodiest clash of the Civil War and came with a high casualty list for both sides: 7,058 died; 33,264 wounded, and 10,790 went missing (LeBoutillier, 2017). As the war continued to intrude into his life, Finegan was becoming a hardened fighter who learned his skill on the battlefield.

Finegan, who was likely detached from the 69th Regiment, took part in the siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863) as Grant directed artillery fire at the city. The air burst into flames as the shelling continued, and then Grant’s army relentlessly attacked the city for over 40 days. Eventually, the food and supplies ran out, forcing the soldiers and citizens of Vicksburg to eat mules and rats (Stanchak, 2011). The Confederate forces at Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863. Amid the broken bricks and fires, a few homebound citizens must have watched through shattered windows as the Union forces marched by.

Finally, Finegan survived two later battles: the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5 - 7, 1864), in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and the Spotsylvania Court House Battle (May 8 - 21, 1864). 

Finnegan was among many who witnessed the great suffering, horror, madness, and destruction of the Civil War that resulted in a horrific cost of life in the nation’s bloodiest war—at least 750,000 soldiers died, hundreds of thousands of others were wounded in battle, and an unknown number of civilians perished (McPherson, 2015). An estimated two percent of the population was killed (Ward, 1990). The Civil War set four million slaves free, brought the downfall of the Southern planter aristocracy, and preserved the Union as one nation, indivisible. 

Figure 2. Battle of Gettysburg. Painting by Thure de Thulstrup. Original scan: Library of Congress. Public Domain.

Having miraculously survived these bloodbaths, Finegan returned to New York City, where he mustered out in June, 1865. After he left the Army, Finegan returned to Australia once again. He settled in Victoria, where he worked in contracting and building. Then, in 1874, he moved to San Francisco where he worked as a stonecutter and mason. In 1880, he moved once again, this time to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He started a building business and lived at 225 S. Cascade. In 1881, he was elected alderman and served six years on the city council of Colorado Springs (Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899). 

In the shadow of Pikes Peak, peripatetic Finegan was becoming restless; excitement was absent in his life. This was about to change in 1891, when gold fever from the Cripple Creek mining district infected Finegan. The only cure for him was to come to the district and step into mining. About the time Finegan arrived in the district, a prospector, with the swing of his pick, revealed a streak of bright gold ore at a spot on the side of Beacon Hill. This discovery set in motion the establishment of the Requa Savage mine, in which Finegan was the driving force. Finegan incorporated the Requa Savage so optimists could invest in the mine. Now there were funds to hire engineers and miners and to buy machinery to develop it. 

Some maintain that Finegan named the mine after “Uncle” Benjamin Requa, an early settler, or for the nearby Requa Gulch. The gold mine was near Arequa, one of the oldest towns in the district. By 1896, the town of Arequa, named after Ben Requa, included the “A” as the first letter of its name, as seen in the map in figure 3 (Mackell-Collins, 2014). The Requa Savage was on the north side of the Gold Dollar mine (see map figure 3).

Figure 3. Map of the Cripple Creek Mining District, 1896. A red arrow points out the Gold Dollar mine. The Requa Savage mine is just north of the Gold Dollar. The town of Arequa is underlined in red. Map source: Hoyer-Millar (1896).


Figure 4. View of Beacon Hill. A red arrow shows the location of Arequa. Photographer unknown, date mid-1890s. From the Olla Burris collection, Cripple Creek District Museum. 

As time passed, the Requa Savage became known as a modest producer. According to the Mining and Engineering Journal (1910), the Requa Savage mine, in 1910, shipped two carloads of ore assaying at one ounce per ton. Other carloads yielded less gold, but the mine produced $100,000 that same year. 

The passage of time would not be kind to Frank Finegan. He fought cancer but lost that battle and died on October 22, 1914, in Colorado Springs, at 79. His family buried him in the Evergreen Cemetery. 

Figure 5. View of the Requa Savage mine. Ten miners pose in front of the mine. Photographer and date unknown. Courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. 

History records that, over time, Finegan was one of several prominent men associated with the Requa Savage mine. Records show that by 1912, the One Hundred and One Mining Company owned the mine (Mining Science, 1912). In 1913 The Mining Investor reported that Democratic Colorado State Senator Louis A. Van Tilborg (1870-1937) worked the Requa Savage mine for a short time. Van Tilborg, a druggist and an assayer, was the mayor of Cripple Creek from 1907 until 1911. He served in the Colorado legislature from 1911 to 1914. The presence of gas forced Van Tilborg to suspend work at the mine. Once the mine resolved the gas issues, production resumed under the lease of Kermit MacDermid, of the C.K. and N. Mining Company (The Mining Investor, 1913). By this time, the Requa Savage’s surface plant included a shaft house equipped with a steam hoist and electric compressor. 

Although the Requa savage mine claimed a small area of land, it boasted five shafts. By 1914, the main shaft reached 700 feet deep (Consolidated Extension Mines Company, 1914). A crew of miners disappeared down the main shaft at the start of each shift and then drilled, blasted, and mucked in the shadows of the mine as they followed the occasional blossom of gold ore in barren rock. By 1914, the Requa Savage was owned by Rainbow Gold Mines Company. Rainbow Gold then leased it to another operator who, based on reports of good gold ore, planned to expand the development of the mine (Consolidated Extension Mines Company, 1914). 

A new group of investors reincorporated the Requa Savage Gold Mining Company in November, 1915, as the Requa-Savage Mines Company with offices at 112 N. Tejon Street in Colorado Springs (Weed, 1918). A report showed the mine was producing ore in 1929 (Kiessling, 1929).

According to The Mining Journal (1935), Commonwealth Gold leased the Requa Savage mine. Mr. Wellington Symes, who was the president and general manager of the property, subleased it to a group in Denver; and Andy Vidgen, the mine superintendent, purchased new machinery to increase ore production (The Mining Journal, 1935). 

As the years passed by, the ore decreased until the mine became unprofitable. The owners then closed the mine. Today, as you drive on Highway 67 between Cripple Creek and Victor, you will pass where the town of Arequa and the Requa Savage mine were once located. Both places now exist only in the pages of history. And we are reminded of Frank Finegan and how he emerged from obscurity and left his mark on time through his Civil War exploits and his ownership of a Cripple Creek mine. 


Acknowledgments

I thank the Colorado Springs Oyster Club critique group for reviewing the manuscript, and Dr. Bob Carnein for his valuable comments and help in improving this paper. 


References and further reading:

Colorado State Mining Directory, 1898: Denver, Western Mining Directory Company.

Consolidated Extension Mines Company, 1914, Referring to the Requa Savage mine on Beacon Hill in the Cripple Creek District, owned outright by Rainbow Gold Mines Company. United States Bureau of Mines: Colorado School of Mines Library Digital Collections, retrieved from https://mountainscholar.org/handle/11124/171813 on June 5, 2021. 

Hoyer-Millar, C. C., 1896, The Cripple Creek Gold-Fields, Colorado, U.S.A: London, Eden Fisher & Co. 

Kiessling, O.W., 1929, Mineral Resources of the US 1929: Washington DC, Dept of Commerce.

LeBoutillier, L., 2017, Secrets of the U.S. Civil War: North Mankato, MN, Capstone Press.

MacKell-Collins, J, 2014, Arequa Gulch: A Long Gone Town in Colorado, retrieved from https://janmackellcollins.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/arequa-gulch-a-long-gone-town-in-colorado/ on January 10, 2021.

McPherson, J., 2015, The War that Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters: New York, Oxford University Press. 

Mining Science, 1912, Denver, vol 65, no 1,682, April 18, 1912.

Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, Part 2, 1899: Chicago, Chapman Publishing Company.

Stanchack, J., 2011, Eyewitness: Civil War: New York, DK Publishing.

The Mining Investor, 1913: Denver: The Mining Investor Publishing Co, no 1, vol 71, May 19, 1913.

The Mining Engineering Journal, 1910, New York, Hill Publishing Company, vol 89, Jan-June 1910.

The Mining Journal, 1935, February 28, 1935, pg. 18, retrieved from https://vredenburgh.org/mining_history/pdf/AMJ-1935.pdf on February 15, 2021. 

Ward, G.C., 1990, The Civil War: An Illustrated History: New York, Alfred A. Knopf.

Weed, W. H., 1918, The Mines Handbook: New York, W. H. Weed Publishing.












Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Cripple Creek High Grader has Change of Heart

 By Steven Wade Veatch

Cripple Creek is Colorado’s most famous and storied gold camp. High-grading, or the theft of gold ore by miners who worked in Cripple Creek’s gold mines, was rampant. These miners were called “high-graders,” and they sneaked out small pieces of rich ore in their hair, secret pockets in their clothes, boots, toolboxes, lunch pails, and anywhere else they could (Veatch, et al. 2017). Many people were involved in high grading—from those who stole the ore to those who bought it—assayers, bank tellers, and merchants (Sprague, 1979). It was a dilemma that mine owners had to deal with constantly. 

A letter, written by a high grader, was recently found in the Union Gold Mining Company’s collection of correspondence at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs. The letter was addressed to the company treasurer. In the letter, the writer, George Dandignac, confessed that he took some ore from the Porcupine mine during the month of June 1895. Dandignac wrote that a year later he found God, and that he is compelled to return it “as an atonement for the crime.” The high grade was returned with the letter. Dandignac also confessed to stealing a specimen of quartz the size of a walnut but could not return it as it was “back east.”


A letter (dated July 25, 1896) to Mr. Morse, treasurer of the Union Gold Mining Company, from George Dandignac, a Cripple Creek miner. His letter was about gold ore stolen from the Porcupine mine. Source: Dandignac, 1896.

This crumbling letter, more than 12 decades old, attests to how Dandignac’s newly found faith produced such an amendment of his life that he could not keep his ill-gotten gold.


References and further reading:

Dandignac, G. T., Letter to Mr. Morse. 25 July 1896. Union Gold Mining Papers, Western Museum of Mining and Industry, Colorado Springs. Manuscript.

Sprague, M., 1979, Money Mountain: Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, p. 205.

Veatch, S.W., B. Elick, and J. Salvat, 2017, Cripple Creek High Grading: The Untold Stories. 38th Annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium, Socorro, NM, November 11-12, 2017, Program with Abstracts. New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. pp. 26-28.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Keeper of Cripple Creek Light: the Miners’ Candlesticks

 By Steven Wade Veatch

Miners in the Cripple Creek mining district once drilled, blasted, and mucked deep underground by the light of a candle. Not only did these candles illuminate their work areas, but they also provided shadows for Tommyknockers to hide in. 

In Cripple Creek, as in other mining districts, mine owners supplied miners with candles; however, they required miners to buy the holders for the candles. Miners called these holders “candlesticks.” Most candlesticks were mass-produced and sold through mining supply stores and catalogs—even Sears and Roebuck sold miners’ candlesticks. These generally had similar designs, but there were a large number of patented variations. 

To make it easier for miners to replace damaged or worn out candlesticks, a purveyor of these basic devices visited Cripple Creek and other mining towns and peddled them directly to the miners. In figure 1, a man is selling candlesticks to a group of miners. He used two burros to pack the miners’ candlesticks from town to town.

Figure 1. A man, next to the donkey in the right side of the photo, is selling candlesticks to miners at a mine in the Cripple Creek mining district. Candlesticks are piled on the back of one burro (right side of photo) for display. A group of miners, some carrying lunch pails, gather around him. The photo, by an unknown photographer, is dated November 12, 1897. From the Olla D. Burris collection. Photo courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum.

        An entire industry developed producing mining candles made from stearic acid and paraffin wax. The stearic candles used in Cripple Creek had many benefits: They emitted little smoke and were suited for some of the poor ventilation found in underground mining. These candles gave a steady source of light and were not easily blown out in a draft. Candles were easy to handle and simpler to transport than oil lamps. Mine owners viewed candles as less of a fire risk than oil lamps. A miner could easily put out a candle that tumbled over before it set mine timbers on fire. If a miner knocked over an oil lamp its destructive flames spread rapidly. 

Candle manufacturers set the standard diameter of candles at 0.75 inches. Candle lengths varied, but averaged about 9 inches (Bartos, 2010). Manufacturers wrapped candles in sets of six and packed them into boxes of 120 or 240 candles. The cost of a 240-unit box was between $3 and $5 (Bartos, 2010). Miners burned through three or four candles per day (Bartos, 2010).

Figure 2. Miners with burning candles in their candlesticks take a short break while in a stope in the Half Moon mine. Unknown photographer and date. From the Olla D. Burris collection. Photo courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum.

        Candlesticks used in metal mining began to appear in California in 1860 and were used in mines throughout the American West (Bartos, 2010). The traditional miners’ candlestick was simply an iron spike, about one-quarter inch in diameter, averaging 12 inches in length. Miners hammered the iron spike on candlesticks into a mine timber or a fracture in a rock surface (Weicksel, n.d.). A miner with a burning candle in a candlestick could put it close to where he needed light to work. At the end opposite of the candlestick’s point is a loop that acts as a handle (see figure 3). A circular holder (thimble) near the handle or center of the spike holds the candle perpendicular to the spike. Next to the candleholder is a hook to hang the candlestick on rocks when the miner could not find any mine timbers or rock cracks to drive the spike into. It was also used to attach the candle to his cap.
Figure 3. Diagram of a typical miner’s candlestick. Source: Wilson and Bobrink, 1982.

        Candlesticks came in many varieties and sizes: Some were handmade by a local blacksmith, homemade by a miner, manufactured, unpatented or patented (table 1 shows candlestick patents held by Pikes Peak area inventors). Some candlesticks folded up around a central pivot point, allowing a miner to slip it into his pocket as he walked into the mine (Pohs, 1989). Others were simple in their design (see figure 4).

Figure 4. The March 1899 patent design for William Pleasants’ candlestick.
Pleasants was a resident of Víctor. Source: Ramsdell and Wagner, 1982.



Table 1. Miner's Candlesticks Patents

As applied for by residents of the Cripple Creek Mining District, Colorado Springs, and Colorado City, Colorado.

Applicant

Residence

Date

Patent No.

William Lincicum and Charles F. Lewis

Colorado City

Nov. 1895

549,925

William H. Pleasants*

Victor

Mar. 1899

D-30,406

William H. Pleasants

Victor

June,1899

D-30,991

Amede Bernier

Victor

Aug. 1899

631,270

Christopher Peacock*

Altman

Aug. 1900

656,209

Charles Cornell and Felix John Troughton

Victor

Jan. 1901

665,067

John B. Lindahl*

Colorado Springs

Oct. 1905

801,465

Harry D. Pelham and Charles P. Kaba*

Colorado Springs

Aug. 1913

1,069,170

*Known to have been manufactured. Source: compiled by Ed Hunter from Ramsdell and Wagner, 1982.


Figure 5. Advertisement for the Lindahl candlestick patented by John Lindahl in 1905. Lindahl lived in Colorado Springs. The candlestick was adjustable, reversible, interchangeable, and featured a case containing matches that replaced the loop handle in this model.
From the S.W. Veatch postcard collection.

        The two largest candlestick manufacturers were Nathan Varney of Denver and the Ludlow–Saylor Wire Company of St. Louis. A 1911 catalog advertised Varney candlesticks that cost six dollars per dozen (50 cents each). More elaborate candlesticks advertised in Mining Science in 1914 cost $1.50 each.

Candlesticks were simple, reliable, and easy to use. Cripple Creek miners used candlesticks for many years until carbide lamps and electric cap lamps made them obsolete in the early decades of the twentieth century. 

Miners found other uses for candlesticks. Crafty high graders used a hollow area in the curved handles of specially made or modified candlesticks to conceal high grade gold ore with candle wax or mud before they went home (Pohs, 1995).With their sharp, piercing points, candlesticks were used as weapons to settle arguments in the heat of the moment (Gosling,1969). In 1903, Colorado’s governor James H. Peabody escaped being killed by an assassin at a meeting he was scheduled to attend. The assassin intended to use the spike of a concealed candlestick as the murder weapon. The governor skipped the meeting and instead enjoyed a football game at the Colorado School of Mines (Pohs, 1995). 

Today, candlesticks can be found in private and museum collections. They are a symbol of the underground miner and the hard work he did. 

Acknowledgments

        I thank the Colorado Springs Oyster Club critique group for reviewing the manuscript, and Dr. Bob Carnein for his valuable comments and help in improving this paper. 

References and Further Reading:

Bartos, P., 2010, A light in the darkness: U.S. mine lamps, the early years—candlesticks, oil lamps, and safety lamps: Mining History Journal, vol. 17, p. 45-63.

Gosling, E. M.,1969, Miners’ Candlesticks: Spinning Wheel, vol. 25, Jan-Feb, p. 21.

Pohs, H. A., 1989, Early Underground Mine Lamps: Mine Lighting from Antiquity to Arizona: Museum Monograph No. 6, Tucson, Arizona Historical Society, p. 7-16.

Pohs, H. A., 1995, The Miner’s Flame Light Book: Denver, Flame Publishing Company, p. 121-214.

Ramsdell, J. and N. S. Wagner, 1982, Patents, Miners’ Candlesticks: Carson City, NV,  privately published.

Weicksel, S., n.d., Mining Charity, Retrieved from https://americanhistory.si.edu/fr/node/47976 on 5/18/2021.

Wilson, W. E. and T. Bobrink, 1984, A Collector’s Guide to Antique Miners’ Candlesticks: Tucson, The Mineralogical Record. 


Sunday, May 23, 2021

La Brea Tar Pits

From a tar seep

bubbling asphalt pools.

Here Ice Age animals

disappear and time

is trapped.

 

Dire wolves,

saber-tooth cats,

coyotes,

and mammoths

will one day

return as fossils.

By Steven Veatch




Friday, May 21, 2021

The Lennox House: A Mansion Built from Cripple Creek Gold

 By Steven Wade Veatch

William Lennox (1850-1936), after prospecting in the mountains near Fairplay, Colorado, headed down to Colorado Springs, a new town at the foot of Pikes Peak. He established himself as a businessperson and later invested in Cripple Creek mines. These mining investments made him a millionaire almost overnight. 

The now wealthy Lennox built a new home, one that would show his position in Colorado Springs’ society. He hired the well-known Denver architect Frederick J. Sterner to design his two-and-a-half story mansion across from Colorado College—at the northeast corner of North Nevada Avenue and Yampa Street. Lennox started his home building project in 1900 (at a cost of $50,000) and moved into his stylish home in May 1901 (Lennox, 1901). Lennox hired James H. Barry as the general contractor for the construction of his home (National Register of Historic Places, 1999).

Photo of the Lennox House, 1001 N. Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado. This cyanotype  was taken around 1901 (courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum). This was written in pencil on the back of the cyanotype: "Lennox's new house NE corner Yampa and Nevada.” 

Repeat photo of the Lennox House taken February 2021 by S. W. Veatch. 

The Lennox house was one of Sterner's first commissions in Colorado Springs, and soon his architectural designs were in high demand among the city's leading citizens. Sterner’s local projects included General William Jackson Palmer's (the founder of Colorado Springs) second Antlers Hotel and the renovation of Palmer’s residence, Glen Eyrie, both in 1901 (Lennox Walking Tour). 

The Lennox house featured elements of the Mission Revival style in an interesting display of large curvilinear parapets, smooth stucco walls, quatrefoil windows (an ornamental design of four lobes resembling a flower), arched windows, and porches with arcades. A stunning red tile roof topped the structure (Central Downtown Historic Walking Tour). 

Lennox finished the interior of the home with hardwood, an open design, lots of windows, and large doorways. Several large eye-catching fireplaces heated the home.

Perhaps on a warm summer afternoon, after years of visible success, Lennox walked down a path, fringed with blue flowers, to a bench between two cottonwood trees and sat down. A songbird chirped on a fence post. As calm as a stone in a pool of deep water, he looked at Pikes Peak and thought about his life, how it began, and how it had changed. 

Lennox, the child of Scottish immigrants, was born on Christmas Day in 1850 in Iowa. Looking back on his life in 1901, Lennox wrote, “I was brought up on my parent's farm and used to hard work . . . I attended the Iowa State University at Iowa City. I could not spare time from farm work to graduate but acquired sufficient learning to teach a country school” (Lennox,  1901).

With his parents and siblings, Lennox made the journey from Iowa to Denver on the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and from there they traveled by stage on a rutted, dusty dirt road to Colorado Springs. They arrived in April 1872. According to Lennox, his parents “bought and moved to a ranch at Edgerton, on the west side of Monument Creek, about ten miles north of Colorado Springs” (Lennox, 1901). Just nine months earlier, on July 31, 1871, General William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War veteran and railroad tycoon, had established Colorado Springs. Promoters called it the Fountain Colony, and Colorado was still a territory. 

The same month they arrived in town, Lennox and his brother helped plant the first cottonwood trees General Palmer brought in to shade the wide streets of the business center of the city (Lennox, 1901). The trees gave the city a burst of green when it had been a treeless prairie.

The 22-year-old Lennox pondered infinite possibilities. He had both the appetite to succeed and the will to make it happen. He was a westward-looking man, and Fairplay was not too distant for hope. Lennox left Colorado Springs for a few months to prospect and mine near Fairplay. He then returned to Colorado Springs in 1873 and started a feed and livery business at the age of 23 (Lennox, 1901). The following year he added the handling of coal as the agent for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and later a freight-transfer business entered his orbit of business enterprises (Lennox, 1901).

In 1876, Lennox married Belle Cowgill. He went to Iowa for the ceremony and returned to Colorado Springs with his bride. They had six children; two died in childhood. 

Lennox emerged as the largest coal dealer in the Pikes Peak region. He continued in the coal and transfer business until April 1901 (Lennox, 1901). 

While operating his coal yard, Lennox invested in mining operations in Gunnison, Summit, and Teller counties (National Historic Register of Historic Places, 1999). In 1891, Lennox bought Robert Womack’s El Paso lode (Portrait and Biographical Record, 1899). Womack was the first to find gold at Cripple Creek, in 1890, and his El Paso strike started a gold rush to the area. Lennox next organized the Gold King Mining Company, which included the El Paso lode. Lennox invested in other Cripple Creek mines. Along with Ed Giddings, who owned a department store in Colorado Springs, and Judge Colburn, Lennox leased the Strong mine in Victor (Sprague, 1953). One report states that the Strong lease brought $20,000,000 to the Lennox group (Newton, 1928). Lennox also became a major shareholder and officer of the Ajax mine, also in Victor (Wilkins, 1983).

The Gold King mine. Womack's claim came under the ownership of the Gold King Mining Company. Undated photo by A. J. Harlan. Courtesy of the Cripple Creek District Museum. CCDM A84-30.

Lennox became a millionaire as the Cripple Creek mining district became the foremost producer of gold in the nation (National Register of Historic Places, 1999). Luck had been Lennox’s constant companion.

While banking his Cripple Creek fortune, Lennox served as president of the Exchange National Bank in Colorado Springs. Furthermore, he served as vice-president and director of the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway—the third railroad into the gold camp (Wilkins, 1983). He also owned large cattle ranches in Texas. 

This vintage color postcard depicts the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek Railway (also known as the Short Line) at St. Peter’s Dome. This line provided one of the most scenic train rides in the state. William Lennox invested in this railroad and served as vice-president and director of the line. From the S.W. Veatch postcard collection. 

In 1902, Lennox built the Lennox Hotel at 226-228 N. Tejon Street with furnished rooms on the upper floors that served middle-class tourists and railroad workers. The ground floor was a storefront for the Knight-Campbell Music Company.

Lennox Hotel circa 1903. There is a sign "Lennox" over the second floor windows and hotel doorway. The Knight-Campbell Music Co. occupies the storefront on the left side of the building. Note the wide street with streetcar tracks. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District, 001-5622.

        By 1921, the Lennox changed its name to the Albany Hotel. The Albany sent cars to the railroad depots to pick up passengers who were staying at the hotel. The hotel offered a guide and touring cars for the “Four Hour Circle Trip” that included Garden of the Gods, the Cliff Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, Ute Pass Canyon, Manitou and the local mineral springs, and the foothills of Pikes Peak (Albany Hotel Brochure, 1921). The hotel offered longer excursions that took guests up Pikes Peak, to Cripple Creek, and to the Royal Gorge. These scenic auto trips, operated by the Colorado Touring Company for the hotel, left directly from the Albany and returned passengers to the hotel at the end of the trip.

Room rates in 1921 started at $3.00 (about $44 in today’s dollars) for two people (Albany Hotel Brochure, 1921). Today the Albany Hotel provides apartment units with the ground floor divided into a lobby and a separate retail storefront. 


Interior of an Albany Hotel guest room circa 1921.
Photo from a brochure promoting the hotel.
From the S. W. Veatch collection. 


View of the Albany Hotel, originally the Lennox Hotel. Architect Thomas MacLaren designed the three-story commercial brick  building at 228 N. Tejon for William Lennox as a variation of the Classical Revival style. Photo date March 2021 by S. W. Veatch.

Lennox, concerned with the progress of the community, always looked ahead for the development of Colorado Springs. And, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, he worked tirelessly to promote the city. He was deeply interested in education, and from the year he moved into his mansion (1901), he served on the Colorado College Board of Trustees until his death on August 13, 1936, at 85. 

In his will, Lennox left his house to Colorado College. After receiving Lennox's home from his estate in 1936, the college engaged local architect Edward L. Bunts to design plans to remodel the home as a student center. The college spent $40,000 renovating the property for use as a multi-purpose student center that functioned as a place for student dining, recreation, the student government offices, the college newspaper, and social gatherings from 1937 to 1959. A few years after it opened as a student center, the college bookstore used the second floor. Henry E. Mathias, the former head of the Geology Department, acted as the center's director. 

In 1959, the newly constructed Rastall Center opened as the new student center. The Lennox house, after another remodel, became home to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity for 30 years. The college conducted an intensive German language program there in the summers. 

In 1989, the college renovated the building for use as a coed dormitory. The college listed the Lennox house on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Today, Lennox’s home is known as the Glass House, a co-ed residence for 20 students to explore and expand multicultural awareness. 

The Lennox House is an important landmark in Colorado Springs for its architecture and history. The building, built with money from Cripple Creek gold, shows the association of William Lennox, a Colorado Springs pioneer and a wealthy Cripple Creek mining investor, and the college that he financially supported. And the Lennox house still stands, just like Pikes Peak—defiant against time.

Acknowledgments

I thank Shelly Veatch and the Colorado Springs Oyster Club critique group for reviewing the manuscript, and Dr. Bob Carnein for his valuable comments and important help in improving this paper. 

References and Further Reading:

Albany Hotel Brochure, 1921, Advertising brochure promoting the hotel and Colorado Springs.

Central Downtown Historic Walking Tour, Colorado Springs, 2004: retrieved from https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/planning/cenwalkingtour.pdf, on March 15, 2021.

Lennox House, History Walking Tour, Colorado College: retrieved from https://www.coloradocollege.edu/basics/campus/tour/historic/lennox.html, on February 9, 2021.

Lennox, W., 1901, Century Chest Collection, 1901. Letter written August 4, 1901 to My Great Grand Children, Colorado Springs: retrieved from https://digitalccbeta.coloradocollege.edu/pid/coccc:10790, on February 9, 2021. Note: This letter, written by William Lennox, is from a time capsule, the “Colorado Springs Century Chest Collection, 1901. It was stored for 100 years in various locations on the Colorado College campus. On January 1, 2001, the chest was opened at the Tutt Library of Colorado College. The college scanned items from the chest and transcribed many of the letters.

National Register of Historic Places, 1999, Registration form: Lennox House, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, National Register #99001266 United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

Newton, H. J., 1928, Yellow Gold of Cripple Creek: Anecdotes and Romances of the Mines, Mining Men, and Mining Fortunes: Denver, Nelson Publishing Company.

Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado: Containing Portraits and Biographies of Many Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present, 1899: Chicago, Chapman Publishing Company.

Sprague, M., 1953, Money Mountain: The Story of Cripple Creek Gold: Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press.

Wilkins, T. E., 1983, Short Line to Cripple Creek: The Story of the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway: Golden, The Colorado Railroad Museum, Colorado Rail Annual Number 16.