Palmer Lake Historical Society
Serving the Tri-Lakes/Palmer Divide Since 1956
P.O. Box 662, Palmer Lake, CO 80133


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Dan's History Snippets
Contributed by Dan Edwards

Dan has gleaned news snippets from various newspapers that have now been digitized. The newspapers researched reach back to the late 1800’s. All spellings, punctuation, and phrasing are taken verbatim from the source material. The index is sorted by Newspaper, Decade Published, then Articles.

Monument Reservoir Furnishes Ice Supply

Denver Post, January 19, 1901

Hanks and Doyle commenced cutting ice today on the Monument reservoir, filling their local orders. Should the weather permit they will have a number of orders to fill from Colorado Springs and Denver, among them large orders from the El Paso Ice company, the Butchers’ union of Denver and the Denver & Rio Grande railway. They intend building large ice houses hear the Santa Fe tracks where they can more conveniently and economically fill their orders.

This is a new enterprise for Monument, the ice from the great reservoir never before being utilized in any way. The contractors lease from the county the seventy acres which the lake covers, and it will furnish thousands of tons of ice. During the season some twenty teams a day will be engaged in hauling, and a great many more will be given employment.

Monument Ice Houses Wrecked by Wind

Denver Post, January 1, 1910

Colorado Springs, Colo., Jan. 1. A windstorm which attained a velocity of seventy-five miles an hour caused innumerable small fires and considerable damage here yesterday afternoon and last night. From 7 o’clock last night the city was in darkness owing to fallen wires, and for some time telephone communication was cut off.

Reports from Monument are to the effect that the ice houses there, valued at $10,000 and owned by W.E. Doyle of this city, were entirely destroyed by the terrific winds which prevailed in that vicinity.

A Cheese Factory at Monument

Rocky Mountain News, May 8, 1878

The Monument cheese factory and mercantile company filed articles of incorporation with the secretary of state yesterday morning. The company had filed articles of incorporation some time ago, but withdrew them to make some changes in the directory and to alter the by-laws. The company as now organized intends to build, construct, maintain and operate a cheese factory and mercantile institution at Monument.

The capital stock is to be $2,000, divided in eighty shares of $25 each. The company is to exist twenty years and its affairs are to be managed by a board of trustees chosen annually. The board for the first year is to consist of Henry Guise, Allen Teachout and Charles E. Bemis.

Farmers’ Institute at Monument

Rocky Mountain News, December 28, 1879

The faculty of the State Agricultural college [at Greeley] will hold a farmers’ institute at Monument on Friday evening, January 2, and continuing over Saturday. Dairying is an important interest on the “divide,” and it is proposed to make this interest prominent in the discussion of the institute.

The Denver & Rio Grande railway has kindly agreed to carry passengers to and from Monument during the institute at half rates from all stations between Denver and Colorado Springs, and the Monument hotels will accommodate visitors at special rates, so that a trip to this flourishing agricultural and dairying portion can be made at very little expense.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, June 3, 1881

The Presbyterians are erecting a $2,000 house of worship, which will be completed and ready for occupancy in about two weeks.

Mr. R.C. Elliott, our merchant, is fencing a large tract of ground near the city, intending to go into the stock business in addition to other businesses.

O.B. Kline, formerly agent at this point, has been here for the past few days visiting old friends. He leaves soon to accept the Rio Grande [railway] agency at Poncha Sprongs.

The [railway] station buildings here have been recently painted inside and out, fences and outbuildings fixed up and everything put in fine order.

The winter is quite warm, and crops never looked better. Large quantities of potatoes are being planted here this year, Mr. F.E. Robinson of Colorado Springs alone putting in twenty-five acres.

The Monument House is doing a fine business. Large numbers of city folks are coming here to view our monuments and get a breath of fresh air and a drink of pure milk.

The Denver & Rio Grande are building three culverts near here to replace three long trestles and make ready for the third [standard-gauge] rail. [Until 1881 the D&RG had narrow-gauge track on its Denver to Colorado Springs line.] The present structures are not considered strong enough. This will require a large amount of stone and other materials, over sixty cars having already come.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, June 18, 1881

The [Denver and] New Orleans [rail]road has an agent constantly on the alert in this vicinity, and ties are picked up as fast as they make their appearance. [This railroad was building a line from Denver to Colorado Springs that ran through Elizabeth and Elbert, well east of Monument.]

Mr. C. Whittlesey, for the past five years ranching in this vicinity, has accepted a position on the Denver & Rio Grande at Cotapaxi.

The Denver & Rio Grande Railway are placing immense sand boxes at this place, also at Colorado Springs and Larkspur for accommodation of their trains. Several times recently trains have been compelled to stop between stations and shovel sand from the roadway to prevent slipping.

A ride on the lake at Weissport [later renamed Palmer Lake] is one of the many attractions in this vicinity, and of which several took advantage last Sabbath.

Mr. L. Welty of Borst’s, was in town Monday with his stallion, Prince.

Every day about 3 o’clock a violent wind comes up, causing pedestrians some amusement and trouble, and sometimes brings a shower to gladden the farmers here and cool the atmosphere, it being decidedly warm during the day. The duke of Southerland’s train stopped a few moments here to allow the party a glimpse of the monuments, so near and yet so far away. Pike’s Peak is not visible from here.

The city fathers were to have met last evening, but when the appointed time came, our worthy mayor nowhere could be found. This morning he appeared at breakfast very late, and from his sheepish looks it is inferred he was trying to follow Castle Rock style, which at the present time is courting, getting married and trying to live a happy life.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, June 29, 1881

Mr. H. Toothacker of Colorado Springs open a new blacksmith shop soon.

Although this is one of the windiest towns in the state, it does not raise any dust.

Several gamblers from Denver have been here recently, doing a rushing business.

The Presbyterian church, although not yet completed will be formally dedicated next Sabbath.

Mr. W.B. Walker acts as our banker, cashing the boys’ time checks for them and issuing exchange on Colorado Springs banks for his neighbors.

Mr. Rod Walker has gone to Denver to buy a large stock of goods and to look after his car of grain, which left Denver on June 16 and has not yet arrived.

The advance agent of Cole’s circus was in town Thursday, having his posters pasted on to every available fence and vacant house. Several persons refused to have their premises thus decorated.

The Adams Express company has an office in this city. Their agent is required to be at the depot twice every day, and working on a commission of ten per cent, clears about five cents per day salary.

The Denver & Rio Grande railway have a train and large force of men widening out the grades. They will probably put on steam shovels soon to widen out several large cuts in this vicinity and fil in three large culverts now nearly completed.

The Denver & New Orleans railway have about 5,000 ties at Borst’s. It is their intention to haul them over the range to their road, which will be about ten miles away. These ties are said to be the best ever sold in the vicinity. The spring term of Monument academy closed Thursday, and on Friday the scholars accompanied by Prof. Parkinson go on a picnic to the mountains. On Monday next Prof. Parkinson will go to Kansas City on a visit to his brother, returning in September to teach in some other portion of the state.

T.C. Plummer, of Plummer & Agnew, lumberman, has sold out to F.M. Agnew, who now has two mills on his hands, and if satisfactory arrangements can be made, will probably move out to the mills. Mr. Plummer will remain in the city until September, having charge of lumber shipments from this point.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, July 6, 1881

During the past week a new bell for the Baptist church [arrived], and with slight intermissions has been almost constantly rung since. It weighs about 900 pounds.

The city council have recently passed some very stringent measures in regard to saloons on Sunday. They are forbidden to put curtains or screens before the windows on that day, every person being at liberty to view the inside, and should anyone be seen imbibing within, the proprietor can be hauled up and fined or his license annulled or both.

Two iron springs have recently been discovered near the city on David McShane’s ranch, three-quarters of a mile from town. Mr. McShane took a small quantity to Colorado Springs for analysis, and it was said to be very strong of iron. The springs are near Monument creek in a delightful spot with shrubbery and flowers in abundance. Near the springs there is a large beaver dam. There is talk of raising a subscription and putting in a good road and walk to the springs, but no move has yet been made towards that end. Probably 500 persons have visited the springs within the past week.

The Denver & Rio Grande Railway are measuring heights at each mile post on the line from Denver to El Moro and are setting stones near the mile posts with the elevation marked thereon. The elevation of Weissport as given by them is 7,237 feet and of Monument 6,668 feet.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, July 9, 1881

Our iron spring still continues to attract attention. The farmer’s heart rejoices—rain has come and plenty of it, and everything looks thriving once more. Potatoes are above par.

W.E. Killen, pump repairer for the Denver & Rio Grande railway, has recently arrived in town with his family and sister.

Mr. J.C. Agnew recently climbed to the top of Cathedral rock—the only man who has ever performed the feat—and he does not desire to do it again.

Going twenty miles to get a tooth pulled is not a very pleasant undertaking, especially when one is suffering untold agony. Yet Monument folk are compelled to do it, their town doctor not having received his instruments as yet.

There is a prospect of a tie war in view of the fact that the Denver & Rio Grande have issued instructions to their agents between Denver and Colorado Springs not to receive any ties for shipment for outside parties. It is well-known that the Denver & New Orleans railway have a large number of first-class ties awaiting shipment between these points, and interested parties are waiting to see what the end will be.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, August 19, 1881

Mrs. M. Lierd, an old lady living about a mile south of this city, had a very narrow escape from instant death on Wednesday. As train No. 1, due here at 10:47 a.m., was nearing the station she was observed coming up the track and when opposite the freight office was requested to get off the track, but instead of stepping off on the opposite side, went along until she came to a gentleman on the platform and asked his assistance. The train was then scarcely 100 feet away. Assistance being rendered she was landed on the platform in a promiscuous heap just as the train came rushing along. The old lady being a very fluent talker and not liking the figure she cut in the scene, immediately on getting to her feet began a tirade of abuse upon the party who had saved her life.

Mr. L.S. Vickers, who left here about four weeks ago with samples of ore from Hay creek for assay in Denver, has returned. He had several tests made, which ran all the way from $2 to $24 per ton in gold. He will proceed at once to his claims and push the work of development. People here are in hopes he will strike ore that will pay for shipping, as this city would be the point for shipping and obtaining supplies, being only five miles distant.

The Denver & Rio Grande Railway are now filling in the large culverts near here. Engines Nos. 3 and 15 are doing the work. Yesterday their operations were suddenly brought to a standstill. Engine No 3, after getting order to go to Divide [Palmer Lake] and obtain water for the steam shovel, came back and instead of stopping at the shovel or returning, kept on, running into Engine No. 15, which was returning after unloading a train load of gravel. Three men were seated on the water car in front of Engine No. 3 and were compelled to jump for their lives. Happily no one was hurt. The amount of damage done was considerable, the water car being disabled. It will have to be rebuilt. The front end of No. 15 is stove in, the front braces and beams broken, the axles bent and the wheels broken. One of the flat cars was telescoped. The damage to No. 3 was not so much, her front trucks being broken, however, and other repairs necessary, which will cause both to go to the shops at Burnham [south Denver] for repairs.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, September 9, 1881

The building now used as a station house by the railroad company is soon to be made into a section house and a new building erected for station purposes.

The work of filling the large railroad culverts near town progresses slowly. Not yet have the men completed one of them. The third rail is now just this side of Castle Ro/p>

ck. More men will be put on so as not to delay their progress at this point. At the last meeting of the city council the question of supplying the town with water was discussed, and a committee was appointed to ascertain through County Surveyor Meeks the cost of constructing the same, the proposition being to build a large reservoir on the divide and bring water to the city in ditches. Mr. H. Nourse of Illinois agrees to loan the city the money required to finish the undertaking./p>

The academy again opens on September 23 with Prof. Parkinson as principal. About thirty pupils are already enrolled.

Monument Items

Rocky Mountain News, September 9, 1881

The building now used as a station house by the railroad company is soon to be made into a section house and a new building erected for station purposes.

The work of filling the large railroad culverts near town progresses slowly. Not yet have the men completed one of them. The third rail is now just this side of Castle Ro/p>

ck. More men will be put on so as not to delay their progress at this point. At the last meeting of the city council the question of supplying the town with water was discussed, and a committee was appointed to ascertain through County Surveyor Meeks the cost of constructing the same, the proposition being to build a large reservoir on the divide and bring water to the city in ditches. Mr. H. Nourse of Illinois agrees to loan the city the money required to finish the undertaking./p>

The academy again opens on September 23 with Prof. Parkinson as principal. About thirty pupils are already enrolled.

Monument Mention

Rocky Mountain News, August 10, 1885

The Monument cheese factory is running with a full force and consumes about thirty-five hundred pounds of milk per day, equivalent to nearly four hundred and fifty gallons. The potato crop promises to be the best ever raised in this section and so far is in good condition. The Divide potatoes will no doubt maintain their reputation. The crop from here goes mostly to New Mexico and sells largely to the government. Mr. Henry Limbach weighed last year for different contractors 2,500,000 pounds, which brought from 35 to 75 cents per hundred. The grain crop is excellent, comprising wheat, rye and oats.

The grain and root crops, with the fine yield of hay, will make the Monument farmers independent this fall. Mr. W.B. Walker is building a stone block, 24x60 feet, two stories and a basement. The upper story will be occupied as a Masonic hall, the first story as a general store and the basement for potato storage.

Several other small buildings are in course of erection.

Hon. David McShane, in addition to his duties as county commissioner, is actively engaged in farming and has a fine crop.

Mr. Thomas Conway, who was agent of the Rio Grande for three years, resigned about three months ago for a visit to Canada. He has just returned and resumed his position.

The Potato Bake

Rocky Mountain News, October 25, 1889

“Potato day,” which is to be celebrated at Monument one week from today, has awakened great enthusiasm all over the county, and the prospects are for a large outpouring of people from Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The residents of the divide are making active preparations to handsomely entertain everybody, and a royal good time may be expected. There will be music and addresses by state officials, athletic games, and a roast ox and several tons of baked potatoes.

The Rio Grande and Santa Fe have made special round trip rates of $1.75 from Denver, 75 cents from Colorado Springs, and $2 from Pueblo. Parties leaving Denver on the morning train at 8 o’clock reach Monument at 10:30 and returning leave Monument at 5 p.m., arriving at 7:30 in the evening. There will, however, be a big ball in the evening.


Rocky Mountain News, June 11, 1890

Monument is excited over the postmastership. The late John M. Duffy was barely buried before the factions went to war over his successor. His wife, Mrs. L.C. Duffy, who is also editress [sic] of the Monument Recorder, has filled the place of deputy for a long time and in a very acceptable manner. She is a candidate for the place and has the support of a large number of the leading citizens of El Paso county. It is understood that she also has the favor of Senator Teller. Mrs. Duffy is a woman of high character, ability and refinement and is deserving of the appointment on many considerations.


Rocky Mountain News, October 11, 1890

Monument had her potato bake, and it was a howling success. For more than a year the event has been discussed. A year ago the bake was all arranged, but the weather played havoc with all expectations by sending two feet of snow, and the dose was repeated every twenty-four hours for nearly two weeks. Perhaps no section in the state has more beautiful autumn weather than the divide, but when its people saw the black clouds gather this morning and a cold, dense fog sweep over the mountains, everyone was ready to swear that Mr. Greeley and his corps of able assistants were dismal failures. [But] the fog soon disappeared and the clouds gave way to balmy sunshine.

The people began to arrive early in the morning and continued to come in a steady stream until noon. The streets were lined with vehicles, and by 10 o’clock the trains commenced to arrive. The event was a decided novelty, which of itself was a drawing card. The out-of-town visitors were given a cordial welcome when they alighted from the trains, and the Mount Herman band discoursed pleasing music.

The arrangements were most complete. Just west of the town on a rolling tract of ground the famous bake occurred. A large platform had been erected in front of which were arranged seats for the multitude. The stands were decorated with bunting, and from a mast floated the stars and stripes. The most attractive feature was a huge pyramid constructed from the farming products of the divide. Around its base were clustered sacks of potatoes, while the four sides were covered with them. Surmounting these were arranged shears of wheat, oats, barley, millet, timothy and all varieties of cereals, and nestling between them were huge ears of corn, turnips and pumpkins.

In the rear of the seats were tables loaded down with more displays of barn products as well as vegetables and fruit. Only a few yards distant from these were the pits in which the meats were roasted and the potatoes baked. It was noon when Col. O.P. Jackson mounted the speaker’s stand and delivered the address of welcome. [Remarks omitted. Other speakers were Frank Sabin of Colorado Springs and M.M. Baldwin of Woodland Park.]

Dinner was then announced, and the people turned their attention to barbecued meats and baked potatoes. Beef, mutton, veal and pigs were roasted to perfection. The tables were arranged in the shape of a square and were loaded down with good things to eat. The feast concluded at two o’clock, and the people scattered about the grounds for an hour, and then Rev. Dr. Kieffer of Colorado Springs delivered a happy address. A game of baseball followed between the Monuments and a picked nine, which resulted in a victory for the former. Editor Herrick of the Rocky Ford Enterprise umpired the entire game.

The people of the divide and of Monument especially have cause to feel proud of the success which attended their efforts in giving the first potato bake. The country is noted for its wonderful production of potatoes. Just twenty-eight years ago in 1862, John Russell, one of the early settlers of the divide, turned the first furrow of the virgin soil near Table Rock. He spent almost half his small fortune to procuring enough seed to plant fourteen acres in potatoes. No rain fell in the early part of the season. At one

Monument Wants the Seat of Government of Divide County

Rocky Mountain News, February 4, 1891

Monument, Colo., Feb. 3. A largely attended mass meeting of the citizens of Monument was held this evening to take action regarding the bill now pending in the legislature to make the new county of Divide out of portions of El Paso and Douglas counties, with Palmer Lake as the temporary county seat. Monument being the largest town and principal shipping point in the proposed new county, our citizens feel we should secure the prize. The meeting was organized by the selection of John E. Smith as chairman, A.F. Woodward secretary.

A motion was adopted declaring the sense of the meeting to be that the citizens of Monument are in favor of the division of the counties as proposed with Monument as the county seat. A committee of three was appointed to work under the above motion to help the cause along. Committees were also appointed to collect funds, to prepare and carry petitions, to prepare statistics of business done at this point, etc. Henry Limbach was elected treasurer. The secretary was instructed to write Hon. C.D. Ford, ex-representative of El Paso county; General Charles Adams and Hon. W.E. Meek, requesting their assistance in the enterprise.

Monument Wants the Seat of Government of Divide County

Rocky Mountain News, August 13, 1891

Monument, Colo., Aug. 12. A largely attended and enthusiastic meeting was held in Walker’s hall tonight for the purpose of arranging for the annual divide potato bake to be held at Monument this fall. The meeting was organized by the election of J.E. Smith, chairman, and W.S. Neal, secretary. The following permanent organization was effected: President, William Loney of Table Rock; vice president, O.P. Jackson of Pring; secretary, R.J. Gwillim of Table Rock; treasurer, H. Schwanbeck of Monument. The date of the bake was fixed on or before September 25.

The officers appointed are among the representative ranchmen and businessmen who propose to make the celebration a grand success. Special attention will be given to an exhibition of non-irrigated products raised on the divide, prizes will be given for fine stock, also for athletic games of all kinds. Special railroad rates will be secured.

It Was a Success

Rocky Mountain News, September 23, 1891

Monument, Colo., Sept. 21. “The Divide Potato Bake and Barbecue association” was organized in the autumn of 1889. The object of our organization was for the double purpose of advertising the splendid resources of this region and to have a fixed annual festival of and by the people of this locality, when they could invite the whole state to join with them in feasting and merry-making.

The two first attempts were conspicuous for being failures, as the elements forbid gathering outdoors. The date of the first festival was set for November 2, 1889. On the 31st day of October of that year came an unexpected and unusual snowstorm, and November 2 found the ground covered with a heavy white coat, and two passenger trains were blockaded in front of the town. The exhibition of 1890 met a similar tale to that of 1889.

This year the date for the festival was fixed for the 22nd day of September, being over a month earlier than heretofore and at a time when the potato crop is not fully matured. However this great staple is far enough advanced to show the marked superiority of the potato grown on this great divide.

A News representative arrived here last evening. Making a detour from the depot [he[ discovered a hundred yards west of the depot that pits had been dug in the earth, wood fires kindled therein, and roasting over the fire on rods prepared for the purpose were four oxen, five pigs and four muttons in charge of an elderly colored Virginian and his wife.

This morning the correspondent discovered that not far away for the pits a heap of sand and been prepared, in which the tons of potatoes were baked during the forenoon. A hundred yards south of the pits tables enclosing a large square had been erected from which to feed the expected multitudes. Adjoining the tables a patriotically decorated platform facing long rows of seats had also been prepared.

Between the platform and the tables numerous exhibition stands were placed, and at an early hour in the morning loaded wagons driven by the farmers of this locality began to arrive, and [soon] stands were weighed down with an agricultural display. The samples of oats, wheat, rye, barley, alfalfa, timothy, clover and other cultivated grasses were as good as it is possible to get them. Mr. Schwanbeck, a farmer of this place, called my attention to a bunch of oats seven feet high and with heavy heads, which had been raised without artificial irrigation. Besides the above there were great piles of potatoes, including many varieties. There were also beets, turnips, cabbage, cauliflowers, beans, and radishes.

At an early hour in the morning the farmers and their families began to arrive at this place. Many came in buggies, others in carriages, not a few came in spring wagons, and many crowded themselves into farmer wagons.

At 10 o’clock the trains from the north and south began to arrive, each one setting off good delegations from Denver, Castle, Rock, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Manitou and the small stations on the several roads. The last delegation arriving was the one from Denver, which brought in a special car Governor Routt and a party of state officials with their ladies.

New Mining Companies

Rocky Mountain News, May 6, 1892

The Monument Treasure Mining & Milling company was incorporated yesterday by J.W. Mudge, J.W. McLean and Frank White. Capital stock $1,000,000. The company will operate in El Paso county. Directors: Frank White, W.W. Weed, R.C. Elliott, H. Schwanbeck and L.R. Ehrich.

Calamity Averted

Rocky Mountain News, July 16, 1892

Monument, Colo., July 15. Another heavy rain which terminated into a flood visited this place today. The rain preceded an unusually warm spell and was accompanied by mighty thunder and lightning. The streets are badly flooded and the storm continues unabated.

The Monument creek rose five feet high and flooded the reservoir campers, washing out a small portion of the work. The bridge crossing the culvert, a quarter of a mile north of this place on the Rio Grande, is rendered useless by the washing away of the stone abutments and props The track is suspended in midair over a space fifty feet long and forty feet high. The Rio Grande train No. 8, due here at 4:57, passed over in safety, but the Rock Island, which followed close behind, is still here with but little prospect of getting out soon.

Owing to the rain which still continues in great volumes, no work can be done toward replacing the abutments. Fortunately the washing away of the supports occurred in the day time, otherwise a fearful calamity would have occurred. The storm is the worst one ever seen here. No damage has been done to crops so far as can be learned.

Finished by November

Rocky Mountain News, August 29, 1892

Monument, Colo., Aug. 28. The state reservoir adjoining this place, so the contractor Hon. David McShane says, will be completed by November.

The reservoir is being built from an appropriation of $30,000 made by the last general assembly from the internal improvement fund. The land upon which it is being constructed was donated by General Charles Adams and David McShane.

It is intended for irrigation and will greatly benefit many land owners under it, notably General Adams, who holds a large body of fine land close under it. This reservoir covers seventy-two acres of land, will hold 400,000,000 gallons of water, and the dam is forty-two feet high.

The greatest results will accrue to Colorado Springs by adding a large domain of agriculture to its resources. The state should get some returns by leasing the ice privileges of the lake.

Divide Potatoes

Rocky Mountain News, August 21, 1895

Monument, Colo., Aug. 20. Carefully prepared statistics show that the potato crop now growing on the Divide is not up to the usual standing. An unusually late spring and long continual rains are the reasons attributed for the shortage. A greater acreage than ever before has been devoted to potatoes this year. A rough estimate gives the Divide 20,000 acres under cultivation, two-thirds of which is planted in potatoes. Four thousand pounds to the acre is considered a low average. Much depends upon the weather, for even half a crop of potatoes. Should the weather continue warm and dry a good half crop will be harvested, making about 550 carloads from Monument.

Grain exceeds all the crops of former years. It is estimated that the grain and hay crops will fully cover the shortage of potatoes. The constant rains have soaked the ground thoroughly, wells and springs all over the county are stronger than ever before. The average number of pounds of rye to the acre is 1,008, of oats 3,205, wheat 671, corn 834, potatoes 4,742. As there is a shortage of the potato crop this year and furthermore as it has not yet been harvested, it is impossible to estimate what the total will be, as all depends upon a short season of warm, dry weather.

Life’s Labor Ended

Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, January 19, 1889

Monument, Colo., Jan. 12. This morning our little city was thrown into a state of gloom and sadness by the announcement of the death of Mrs. Sara M. Bonnet, wife of Dr. W.M. Bonnet. A week ago she contracted a severe cold which developed into an attack of pneumonia. Dr. Reed of Colorado Springs was called, but on arriving at her residence he pronounced her case beyond human skill. Calmly and peacefully she passed away at 10 o’clock on Friday night.

Mrs. Bonnet was a victim of that fell disease consumption. She came to Monument in the summer of 1881 and derived so much benefit from the change of climate that her husband sold out his business at Oskaloosa, Iowa, and took up a permanent residence here in 1882. But the dread disease had too firm a hold upon here, and the change gave no promise of a final cure. Mrs. Bonnet was a kind-hearted lady, a devout Christian and a tender and loving wife and mother. To attempt to depict the woe of her husband and child would be a base sacrilege.

Sara Moretta Bonnet was born on September 17, 1851, and at the time of her death her age was 37 years, 3 months and 11 days. Her husband and her only child, a son, survive her. The funeral will take place from her late residence at 10 o’clock Sunday. The interment will be at Colorado Springs.

The Monument Fire

The Weekly Gazette, January 26, 1889

After a long and vexatious delay, the new post office fixtures have arrived and are now placed in position and are duly admired by the patrons of the office, who feel as proud of the change as does Post manager Duffy. The cabinet is ten feet long and about seven feet high. The boxes have wire bottoms which prevent an accumulation of dust. There are one hundred and seventy-nine call boxes, twenty-six for general delivery, twelve for papers and sixteen lock boxes. The woodwork is of ash, with the exception of the local boxes which are of black walnut. A circle of glass in the centre of each of these last-named boxes allows the owner to inspect the box without unlocking it. There are three keys to each box, and no two keys of a different set will unlock the same box. The letter box is under the delivery window, while the paper and parcel box is placed on the right hand side of the cabinet. The new fixtures were placed in position on Tuesday, and before the mail was removed from the old reliable stand-by of earlier years, the public was allowed to inspect them.

There is not a fourth-class office in the state better equipment than the Monument office. At the present time perhaps a little post office history may not be out of place.

The first post office for Monument was located on David McShane’s ranch, one mile north of the present town site, in the year 1869. David McShane was the first postmaster. The mail was then carried from Denver once a week when the weather was fine and about once in three weeks (we are told) when a snow storm interfered.

In 1870 the office was removed to Monument proper and was located where the Santa Fe track is now laid at the head of Second street. Henry Limbach was then appointed postmaster. The office was called Monument and the town Henry station in compliment to Mr. Limbach. In 1878 Monument was made a money order office through the efforts of Mr. Limbach. There was a great amount of money in this part of the country at the time, as many saw mills were located in the vicinity of Monument, and the people had no other means of sending their money away without going to Denver to do so.

On January 1, 1881, Postmaster Limbach was succeeded by W.E. Holbrook, who held the position until January 1888, when he concluded that he had served under a democratic administration as long as his conscience would allow, and he resigned in favor of J.W. Duffy. When Mr. Duffy took the office, thirty-four boxes was the highest number that had been rented. He soon found that owing to the growth of Monument eighty boxes (all that the cabinet contained) were far too few, and he ordered one hundred and twenty-six more, exclusive of the lock boxes. By an error one hundred and seventy-nine were sent. The new fixtures were manufactured by the McLean Manufacturing company of Milford, New Hampshire, and their total cost was one hundred dollars. The old fixtures once formed a part of the Denver office. Doubtless they could tell many a tale of joy and sadness if they could speak. They have contained messages for the father, mother, sister, brother and sweetheart which have caused their hearts to beat high for joy. Then again, they have held messages that have pierced their hearts with sorry. These sacred memories have all as yet to be associated with our new office.

The Monument Fire

The Weekly Gazette, March 23, 1889

Our city fathers visited every portion of the town ditch on Tuesday last, also the reservoir. The breaks in the ditch will be immediately repaired and the reservoir will be put into condition to receive the water which the town stands badly in need of.

The question of having water works to Monument is meeting with the heartiest approval of our people. The town board will hold a meeting at Walker hall on Saturday night. It is proposed to form a private stock company independent of the lake. Parties are now ready to furnish the desired capital. Surveyor Reed is expected to come up soon and look over the grounds. The idea is to procure water from Beaver creek, which is situated three miles west of town. There is an abundance of water in the creek all the year around.

The proposed water works are to be on the principle of those of Colorado Springs. As the creek is situated close to the mountains, there will be a fall of three hundred feet per mile. The rough estimate of the total cost is placed at ten thousand dollars. The water works would prove a great benefit to Monument, for many of the wells are giving out on account of the long-continued drouth, many of the people being obliged to exercise rigid economy, otherwise they will be left entirely without water in their wells. Some are now using water from the Rio Grande depot well. In the meantime work is going on to raise funds for the lake. General Adams proposes to donate the land and to give one thousand dollars besides. Mr. D. McShane will donate his part of the land and five hundred dollars.

The Monument Fire

The Weekly Gazette, August 24, 1889

Sunday about 11 a.m. the residence and harness shop of L.M. McFarland & Son was discovered to be on fire, and at one o’clock was entirely consumed. The flames soon communicated to the Delmonico restaurant, from there to Husted Bros.’ feed store, and in less than two hours all were burned to the ground. By vigorous work the blaze was confined to the buildings mentioned, although fully one-half the town was indirectly exposed. The hard fight was to save Dr. Bonnet’s residence and drug store on the west, the Dunshee block across the street south and Dennis Whalen’s blacksmith and wagon shop on the east. Water was poured on and wet blankets put on the roofs and sides of the buildings, still they were badly scorched, and the glass front of the Dunshee block was completely destroyed. The alarm of fire was given soon after service began at the church, and the whole congregation, including the minister, came down and worked with a will so that all the contents of the restaurant and most of the stock in the feed store were saved.

The ladies in the town deserve special mention. They worked for hours carrying water. Fully half the town was at Palmer Lake attending the Firemen’s picnic when the fire broke out. Agent Warren of the Santa Fe telegraphed to Palmer Lake for help. The Santa Fe company sent a special with the Colorado Springs Hook and Ladder company, but the buildings were all consumed before they arrived. About 7 o’clock the barn of W.B. Walker was discovered to be on fire, but the prompt assistance of the citizens with their pails of water put the fire out before any damage was done.

It is estimated the loss will reach thirty-five hundred dollars. The Walker building in which was situated the restaurant and feed store estimated a loss of $1200; no insurance. L.M. McFarland, loss $1000; insurance on building and stock, $700. Husted Bros. on stock, $200; no insurance. The Dunshee block and Dr. Bonnet’s building about $1100.

Monument Hard Hit by Yesterday’s Wind Storm

Colorado Springs Gazette, January 5, 1916

The town of Monument was badly hit by the storm, according to John Gilles, manager of the Pearl laundry, who went to Monument yesterday morning in an automobile, two hours being required to make the trip against a stiff wind that at times threatened to overturn the car. At Monument a number of houses and barns were unroofed. Several Denver & Rio Grande boxcars were blown off the tracks and badly damaged. The roof of the ice house at Monument also was blown off.

Giles on the return trip to this city experienced the most difficulty in making time in an automobile, as the road south of Monument was strewn with telephone and telegraph poles which had been blown down. At one point two miles north of Breede, six telegraph poles were found lying across the road, and it was necessary to make a detour to pass.

Monument Hotel Burns in Early Morning Fire

Colorado Springs Gazette, March 25, 1922

One of Colorado’s oldest landmarks, the Monument Hotel, built in 1870, was burned to the ground yesterday morning when fire of unknown origin started in the east section of the building and rapidly enveloped the structure. Hotel guests were awakened by smoke and a roaring noise thru the main hall, and before the flames made any headway all took to safety.

The loss on the building is estimated at more than $10,000. The building is insured at $5,500.

The absence of a wind saved probable loss to other buildings nearby. The fire had been burning about 20 minutes, it is believed, before it was noticed. No efforts were made to stop the blaze, and guests stood by and watched personal belongings burned along with the building itself.

Two years ago Monument lost a building used as a post office and general store. Two men, Samuel Putman and Bail Simpson, were burned to death, and a considerable loss in the property was incurred.

Last year a building occupied by a restaurant and a pool hall was demolished by fire. The Monument Hotel was built by C.D. Ford of Denver.

Monument, Colo. Is First Town to Finish Project Under WPA

The Herald Defender (Leadville), October 13, 1938

To Monument, Colo., small Rocky mountain town five miles south of Palmer Lake, goes the honor of having the first completed project in the nation under the vast new program of the public works administration.

The application for school repairs was one of the smallest filed under PWA’s new program. It called for a grant of $585 for re-roofing a gymnasium and the purchase of additional equipment, the total cost of which was $1,300.

The PWA allotment for the Monument project was announced August 18, and the project was completed September 12.

In the PWA’s fifth region of which Colorado is a part, 175 new projects are now under construction. Approximately one thousand projects will be building in the seven states of the fifth region before January 1, the deadline set by Congress for the start of construction of all projects financed under the 1938 PWA appropriation.


Daily Republican (Denver), May 6, 1879

On the fourth of November 1878, a private school was opened in Monument with fifteen pupils in attendance, which number was increased to twenty-five before the close of the session. The reasons for this movement were found in necessity for instruction in a more advanced range of studies than are taught in the district schools of the state; the youth of the neighborhood were either obliged to content themselves with the ordinary routine or go away from home to advanced schools. It was decided to open a private school with a few classes for one session at least. It was successful in its results, receiving the patronage and hearty recognition and support of the people of the Divide section; so successful that in a few weeks it was incorporated as a public institution.

Efforts are now being made to rise a sufficient amount of funds to erect a suitable building. The trustees for the first year are: Charles A. Taylor, president, R.J. Gwillen, A.F. Woodward, treasurer, J.F. Wood and A.T. Blachly, secretary.

Rev. Charles A. Taylor is principal, and Miss M.M. Holbrook and Mrs. J.T. Blachly assistants. The institution is under the control of the Presbyterian denomination, and its course of study arranged with especial reference to fitting pupils for the Colorado Springs college and embraces the usual range of academic studies. Careful attention is paid to the morals as well as the intellectual development of the pupils, and from the well-known moral character of the population of Monument and the adjacent country it cannot fail of being popular with parents, who wish their sons and daughters while at school to be surrounded by elevating and ennobling influences. Board may be had at $4 per week, and the rates of tuition are for English branches $6 per quarter, languages higher English and mathematics $7.

Governor Waite at Monument

Denver Republican, April 13, 1893

Governor Waite paid Monument a visit today for the purpose of inspecting the Monument reservoir and determining whether the much-sought-for appropriation of $4,000 is needed or not to finish the reservoir and driveway. His excellency was accompanied by State Engineer Cramer, who gives it as his opinion that the work on the reservoir is well done. The distinguished guests spent some time in making a careful inspection of the work on the big dam and then retired to the Monument House where donner was served.

After conference with Contractor [David] McShane the governor received a few visitors who called to pay respects. Few people here knew of the governor’s intentions to visit our town today, otherwise a grand reception would have been tendered him. As it was, his coming and going was so quick that but few people knew of his presence. His excellency was very reticent in giving his opinion regarding the appropriation of $4,000, which has been asked to complete the reservoir. In fact he would say nothing at all on the subject, but his manner conveyed the impression that he was well-satisfied.

Colorado Shows Its Patriotism

Denver Republican, July 5, 1901

Monument, Colo., July 4. Hundreds of people came here today from Palmer Lake, Husted, Colorado Springs and towns east of here on the divide to enjoy the celebration and Woodmen picnic. The committee on arrangements had made elaborate preparations to entertain a large crowd.

The baseball game took place at 10 o’clock this morning, and the speaking occurred this afternoon at 2 o’clock. Rev. George W. Bell of Eastonville and Attorney James A. Orr of Colorado Springs were the speakers. The races took place at 4 o’clock. A number of good horses were entered from Colorado Springs and from the Divide country.

One of the features of the entertainment was a log-sawing contest open to members of the Woodmen’s camps. The winners were John Pribble and George Stamm, who sawed the log in 62 seconds. The log was a pine tree about 22 inches thick. The second team sawed it in 77 seconds. The first prize was a silver mug and the second a box of cigars. Other features of the programme were a sack race and foot race.

A beautiful display of fireworks was given in the evening, and a ball closed the day’s entertainment. This is the first big celebration here in 12 years.

Monument Store Robbed—Barber under Suspicion

Denver Republican, December 24, 1902

The store of W.B. Walker was robbed again last night. George Shafter, who was running a barber shop between the store and a saloon, is suspected, and a reward of $125 has been offered for his arrest. He had a bedroom behind his shop in the saloon building. He was missing this morning, and a light was still burning in his room.

The door from this room into the saloon had been broken and $5 and a revolver stolen. At Henry Lamar’s blacksmith shop, tools were secured to bore a hole in the back door of Walker’s store. The latch was turned with a wire, but the burglar could not work the night lock, so he broke in the front door. He got about $50 worth of jewelry and articles of clothing, including several pairs of shoes. He emptied a sack of potatoes on the floor and used the sack to put his plunder in.

Walker’s safe was dynamited and the store partly wrecked by burglars six weeks ago.

Work on Ice Houses Stopped

Denver Republican, December 5, 1909

Monument, Colo., Dec. 4. This has been the coldest day of the season. The thermometer has hovered close to zero all day, registers eight below tonight and is falling. The weather has retarded work on the ice houses being built near the reservoir.

The Monument Reservoir

Colorado Sun (Denver), April 20, 1893

State Engineer Cramer, after a thorough examination of the Monument reservoir, concludes that the appropriation of $4,000 made by the late General Assembly will be required to complete it. An additional spillway 100 feet wide and about 400 feet long must be constructed.

Contractor McShane, who did the rest of the work, will build the spillway at actual cost. The reservoir will be completed this summer but cannot be filled until spring, as the ranchmen owning private ditches are now using the water.

A Champion Walker

Weekly Register Call (Central City), December 20, 1878

According to the Monument Mentor, the Divide boasts a champion walkist [sic] in the person of Pat Murphy, who lives a few miles east of Monument. On one occasion after the milking was over in the evening from the dairy ranch of R.J. Gwillim in Spring Valley, with a basket containing thirty pounds of butter on his shoulders [Murphy] walked into Denver, sold his butter, and returned in time to assist in milking on the following evening, the round trip comprising about one hundred miles. [Note: the distance from Spring Valley to Denver and back was probably about 80 miles.]

On another occasion he started from Pueblo about half past six in the morning and reached the ranch, a distance of about sixty miles, before six in the evening. He has offered to wager that he will walk to Colorado Springs from the ranch in two hours, but no one cares to take him up.

Monument a Thriving Farm and Dairy Community

The Railroad Red Book (Denver), December 1916

Monument is the shipping point for a large farming country known as the Divide section or rain belt which lies east and south, extending for a distance of fifteen miles. This section of the country is noted for its large yields of grains, potatoes [emphasis added] and forage crops. During the years of 1914 and 1915, the wheat turned out as high as 46 bushels to the acre; oats, from 40 to 60 bushels, weighing from 42 to 48 pounds to the bushel. Potatoes this year have brought (owing to high prices) from $200 to $400 per acre, the latter being an exceptionally good yield. [Note: the conventional wisdom is that potatoes were not raised in the Monument area after the late 1890’s.] All other small grains do equally as well, but a great many farmers are building silos and raising more corn for feeding the dairy cows and stock cattle.

Much of the ensilage crops turned out from four to five tons per acre this year, making by far the cheapest feed that the farmer can produce. Not enough can be said of this crop, especially in this section, where it is too high to mature corn every year. Dairying and stock-raising are the two principal industries besides farming. Much of this produce is handled through the local dealers at Monument, where there are markets, three general merchandise stores, a creamery, two blacksmith shops, hotel, restaurant, etc.

Most all of these ranches or farms are stocked either with good dairy cattle or a high grade of stock cattle. The Allen Cattle Company, known all over the country, is located a few miles from Monument. The organized work of the County Agriculturist, together with the Farmers’ Club of Monument, is doing much toward the up-building of this section in all lines of agriculture.

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