Pueblo County, Colorado
Our Past Century
Listing contributed by Jean Griesan.
Our Past Century, Page 1
Our Past Century, Page 2
Pueblo Chieftain 1-4-1999 Our Past Century, 1900 - 2000 - The Pueblo Chieftain will look back at the 1900s in a weekly series of stories beginning today on the City/Region page. Each Monday we'll report a few of the events that happened in a two-year period, starting with the years 1900-1901, and we'll feature two people who were in the news at the time. The bound volumes of The Chieftain and the Pueblo Star-Journal, in storage at the Chieftain plant, will be reporters' guides in writing about the past century. We also will rely on materials from the special collections of Pueblo Library District, especially photographs. We invite you to learn about our city's past with us and, as 1999 progresses and our stories approach the present, to remember when . .
Pueblo Chieftain 1-4-1999 Our Past Century, 1900 - 1901 - 20th Century Opens on High Note in Pueblo - Pueblo began 1900 on an optimistic note. The Pueblo Daily Chieftain on Monday, Jan. 1, 1900, trumpeted in a large headline: "Good reason for Pueblo's independence." "Its working men are paid splendid wages - aggregating millions of dollars annually," the accompanying article said. Pueblo started the new century as Colorado's second-largest city with a population of 28,157 in town and 6,291 in the rural parts of the county. Denver ranked first; Colorado Springs third. The combined payroll of manufacturing-heavy Pueblo topped $5 million. Railroads led the payroll with salaries totaling about $2.5 million. The smelters were next, followed by the steel works and minor industries. The streetcar line was another top employer. Pueblo was thriving, according to The Chieftain, because the city filled the demand for necessities: "Her foundations are broad and deep." Many working people felt secure enough to buy small homes, the newspaper reported, although finding a place to rent was difficult and costly. "Boarding houses in Bessemer seem to be a pretty good investment." In 1901, a modern seven-room cottage on Evans with a barn out back could be bought for $300. The city's churches, schools, libraries and charitable organizations reflected "the broad spirit that is here present. Roundabout the city in every direction there are evidences of new and substantial permanent growth of every kind." Local retailers tried to lure the financial evidence of that prosperity to their tills, advertising goods at prices unbelievably low by today's standards: a beaver jacket for $3.90 at Bernheim's, 212 N. Main; 9 pounds of sugar for $1 and 1 pound of dried apricots for 16 cents at Smythe & Ritter, 515 and 517 N. Main. Unrest can be read between the lines, however. A fleeting reference to the "bad strike" at Pueblo's smelters in the summer of 1899 indicates all was not rosy for the working man. In 1901, the Pueblo Star-Journal had frequent references to labor troubles, including a steel strike at the Carnegie plant in Duquesne, Pa., in September; a Rio Grande switchmen strike in November -they wanted their wages increased to $3 a day; and haggling between local laundry workers, also in November - a marker and sorter was paid $3.33 a day, while a mangle operator got $1 a day. As the century began, Puebloans were plagued by a variety of physical woes, which were addressed in the newspapers' most colorful copy-ads for patent medicines. Supposed relief for dyspepsia, anemia, rheumatism, men's troubles and women's troubles and catarrh (inflammation of the nasal membranes) could be found on almost every page of early editions. The Borton Institute at 602 Santa Fe offered "cures for liquor, morphine, cocaine, tobacco and cigarette habits," and fancy new "choppers" were available at Albany Dental Parlor, 127 Central Block. In 1900, the First National Bank's board of directors was led by M.D. Thatcher. John Thatcher was vice president, Robert Lytle was cashier, and A.S. Booth and Herbert McClung also had seats. In 1900, the war in South Africa and trouble in the Philippines eclipsed most of what passed for local news, while in 1901 Venezuela threatened to attack Colombia; Turkey and France were at bitter odds; Hawaiian home-rule advocates wanted to oust Gov. Dole; and the Boers and the Brits still were fighting in South Africa. Puebloans read about these faraway places, then settled down to a folksy mix of hearsay and opinion on local issues, serialized stories, a generous helping of ads and precious little of what is considered newsworthy today. Then, as now, the State Fair was in the headlines. In 1901, it seemed likely that the Fair would be a permanent local institution. Daily attendance at the weeklong Fair ranged from 30,000 to 35,000 people. Pueblo at the dawn of the 20th century truly was a small world, where the county commissioners appointed delegates to the cattlemen's convention in Denver and where gold discovered in old placer beds near La Veta, and oil discovered near Florence made local hearts beat faster. They Made a Difference - Carrie Clyde Holly - Carrie Clyde Holly was born in New York City in 1858 and educated in private schools there. She later taught in those same schools. She came to Colorado in 1881, lived for one year in Pueblo, then moved to Vineland where she and her husband, Judge Charles Holly, owned a ranch. Mrs. Holly was a suffragette, and she represented Pueblo County at the 10th session of the General Assembly - one of the first three women to serve in the state House of Representatives. In 1901, she ran for superintendent of schools on the Pueblo County Democratic ticket but was defeated by Republican Lulu White. Cyril Zupan - The Rev. Cyril Zupan was the second pastor of Pueblo's St. Mary Church, serving the parish at the beginning of this century. He was a native of Carniola, and spoke the language and understood the heritage of his parishioners who were Slovenes, Slovaks and Germans. He came to Pueblo in 1894 from St. John Abbey in Minnesota, and a year later saw the building of a new St. Mary Church in the Grove. A school occupied the first floor of the new church building, according to "They All Came to Pueblo" by Joanne West Dodds. Photo Caption: The Pueblo Smelting and Refining Co. plant blackened the skies at the beginning of this century but employed many workers. The smelter was located east of Santa Fe Avenue and south of First Street.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-11-1999 Our Past Century, 1902 - 1903 - Labor Disputes, Crime and Political Optimism Abound - Newspaper headlines screamed about muddy streets and terrible drainage problems, free-spending government officials and tense conditions between CF&I management and its workers. Last year's Chieftain? Nope. Those headlines all came from Pueblo newspapers in 1902-03. Leafing through the city newspapers of that time, it quickly becomes clear that anyone yearning "for the good old days," doesn't remember them very clearly. America was a battleground between organized labor and Big Business in those years and some of the reasons were clear. Front page stories on industrial explosions, mine disasters, and train wrecks were commonplace. And strikes were cropping up as often as thunderstorms. Yet it was also an era of red, white, and blue optimism. President Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House and big changes were sweeping the country. Automobiles showed up on the streets of Pueblo for the first time in 1902. The father of standardized manufacturing, Henry Ford, founded Ford Motor Co. that year. A foundling oil company called Texaco also was organized. And U.S. Steel announced profits of $174 million that year. In Washington, Congress agreed to spend $40 million to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama and the Senate voted to extend a 10-year ban on Chinese immigration. In the fall of 1903, the Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the very first World Series. Pueblo was taking part in it all as well. City Park, all 150 acres of it, was established in 1902. Business giant Mahlon D. Thatcher Sr. opened the Minnequa Bank on March 3, 1902, and a week later, the Colorado Supply Co. announced the grand opening of its new store in Bessemer. The store, which primarily provided goods for Colorado Fuel & Iron employees, was described as "the most magnificent department store in the West." Even so, not all citizens were sharing in the prosperity. The front pages of Pueblo newspapers later in March told the grim story of how a La Junta mob pulled a black railroad porter named Washington Wallace out of the city jail, put a rope around his neck and lynched him from an electric light post for allegedly assaulting an elderly woman passenger. A week later, the citizens of Casper, Wyo., did the same thing when the Wyoming Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for a local convicted killer. As the angry citizens dragged the man from his jail cell in his underwear, he begged for the chance to at least put on his pants. "Clothes ain't needed where you're goin'," came the answer. In Pueblo, city politics was a tough fight between Democrats and Republicans for control of City Council. Republican Mayor Benjamin B. Brown was re-elected in April 1903, even though the Democratic leaning Star-Journal said his administration was the most inept in the city's history. When petitions with the signatures of 1,500 Pueblo women were presented to Brown, urging him to shut down the brothels and gambling houses on Union Avenue, the Star-Journal hissed that Brown was no stranger to those establishments and "winked" at vice in the city. The frequent use of a hanging rope proved violent crime wasn't uncommon in Pueblo. But, the city was stunned by the Sunday morning murder of two prominent businessmen, Dr. J. H. Turner and C. E. Bishop, at Lousteau's Cafe on West Fourth Street. On March 15, 1903, two masked bandits robbed the cafe, but Turner and Bishop were a little slow in raising their hands. The bandits were not and shot them dead before escaping on foot. Pueblo police arrested every vagrant and suspicious character they could lay hands on over the next few weeks and "sweated them vigourously," including a hard-drinking Denver prizefighter named Jack O'Keefe. Even so, no convicting evidence could be gathered and slowly, all those picked up in the dragnet were released. One source apparently not consulted was "The Great Palmist and Psychic James Clyde Wallace," who was offering Pueblo residents a glimpse of their futures for only $2 a session. Pueblo did put on its Sunday best for the May 4 visit of President Roosevelt, however. "Teddy" rolled in for just an hour but Pueblo welcomed him with a parade through the Downtown. Labor groups marched. Civic groups marched. The newspapers said a crowd of 40,000 packed around Mineral Palace Park to hear the great Rough Rider. Economic development was an issue even then. Pueblo businessmen organized a drive to raise $50,000 to lure a meatpacking house to Pueblo and succeeded. Steel baron John Osgood had just expanded the CF&I operations, borrowing money to add rail mills and other production. Those expenses left CF&I in a vulnerable position to railroad king Charles J. Gould and Standard Oil's John D. Rockefeller, who set about buying up CF&I stock with an eye to snatching the steel giant away from Osgood. But life in the mills, smelters and coal camps was still bitterly hard and strikes dotted the Front Range. Pushing for union recognition, an eight-hour workday and other reforms, the Western Federation of Miners went out on strike in the fall of 1903, emptying CF&I coal mines. Mother Jones, the white-haired union organizer, came to Pueblo to help rally the striking miners. When WFM President Charles Moyer showed up to speak at a rally at St. Joseph's Hall on Dec. 16, Pueblo police escorted him to the train depot and put him aboard a northbound train, claiming the union president was attempting to incite a riot. On Dec. 16, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright got their hand-built airplane off the ground for the first powered flight of an airplane on the cold, windy beach at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Their report to the nation's press was met with scoffs and skepticism. They Made a Difference - Mahlon D. Thatcher - Mahlon D. Thatcher Sr. and his brother, John A., were the financial giants who helped build Pueblo in the late 19th century by establishing a network of banks and industries. John Thatcher established the first general store in Pueblo and was joined by Mahlon in expanding the family business, organizing the First National Bank of Pueblo in 1871. That became the base of a financial empire for the Thatcher brothers. Mahlon, who was president of Minnequa Bank when it opened in 1903, also was chairman of the First National Bank of Denver, president of the First National Bank of Trinidad, and a major stockholder in banks in Florence, Rocky Ford, Lamar, Ouray and Montrose, among others. He also organized the Pueblo Union Depot & Railway Co., was a director of the American Smelting & Refining Co., and treasurer of the Great Western Sugar Co. Eugene C. Lehman - Eugene C. Lehman, a Centennial High School graduate, became the first U.S. recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship in 1902. He earned it because of his skill as a debater. The son of Jewish immigrants, Lehman earned a master's degree from Yale University and went on to become president of Monmouth College in New Jersey. He attended school in Germany, but never used the Rhodes Scholarship. Photo Caption: The Colorado Supply Co. opened a new mission-style store building at the corner of Baystate and Evans March 10, 1902. The store sold meat, groceries, prescription drugs, furniture and clothing, in addition to Navajo rugs, Zuni pottery and jewelry and baskets made by other Indian tribes.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-18-1999 Our Past Century, 1904 - 1905 - Unrest in Southern Colorado - Bloody strikes, official corruption, industrial tragedy, train wrecks, floods and killing fires were part of the landscape of 1904-05 America. And much of it was centered in Southern Colorado. On the international front, Russia and Japan fought a terrible war. Russians revolted, not for the last time, against Czar Nicholas II. There were problems in Panama, as the U.S. orchestrated revolt against Colombia wasn't too popular with the Colombians. And in the West, Kansas and Colorado were fighting about water. There was even talk in 1905 about Colorado annexing Western Kansas to stop the water quarrels. There was enough news locally that a reader then might never look at the articles centered on Japan smacking around Mother Russia. Pueblo's Republican Mayor Benjamin B. Brown was portrayed as sort of a Bill Clinton in a bowler by the Democratic Star-Journal newspaper. The paper called him B. B. Brown, and if official corruption is your thing, B. B. would be your boy. Brown and the chief of police, City Council president, constable and several cops, chief among them Detective E. H. Wilson, were hit with close to 100 indictments of official misconduct for ignoring the gambling dens on Santa Fe and Union avenues. In May 1904, less than a month after the gambling indictments, another grand jury handed down another 90 or so indictments for larceny, embezzlement and forgery. Brown again was indicted, as were two county commissioners, the sheriff, chief of police, city accountant and council president. Detective Wilson also was indicted, as he was again in 1905 for voter fraud and trying to influence witnesses. He was found guilty on those charges that year. In 1905, after winning election to governor for the third time the previous November, Puebloan Alva Adams was tossed from office by a joint session of the Legislature. Statewide voter fraud by the Democrats, especially in Denver and Pueblo, was cited. When Adams, who served two months before losing the governor's job, returned to Pueblo in March 1905, a huge crowd turned out to hear him speak. Strikes in Cripple Creek and Victor brought the state's "Army" out to attack strikers and union men in 1904. The streets of both communities were filled with blood, and even when Gov. Peabody told the militia to cease, the "generals" ignored their civilian leadership and continued to hunt down striking miners. In 1905, the state Supreme Court ruled that the governor was the commander in chief of the state militia. A train wreck at Eden killed more than 85 people in August 1904. Earlier in the year, a broken cable in Cripple Creek caused the death of 14 miners. The Purgatoire River turned to hell and wiped out much of Trinidad in the fall of 1904. Things were vastly different than now during the middle of the century's first decade: "Another Chinaman weds white woman," a headline said, detailing the second such marriage in a month. Eight-room modern house, near Grand Hotel, cost $35 month. "Insist on using the weed," a long tribute to healthy tobacco use, appeared in the Star-Journal's meaty middle pages. McClelland Library, with a $70,000 donation from Andrew Carnegie, opened in Royal Park. Ads: "Fancy" hosiery, 34 cents; men's suits and overcoats, $11; buy your booze at L. E. Ross Family Liquor store; boy's shoes, $1.29. There's talk of getting families off county relief rolls. There are 262 paupers at the local hospital, costing the county $6,600 annually. The fire department is breaking in nine new horses, a story says. Bowling is huge. The two newspapers have a fierce competition and there is a Front Range league. Nancy Sneed, "35 and pretty," sold her husband's furniture, cleaned out his bank account and took off to California with the ice man, according to a story. Russian and Austrian Puebloans drilled in Bessemer, in case Russia called them to fight against what the paper called the Yellow Peril. Headline - "Man robbed of 5 cents by Negro highwayman." Lake Minnequa freezes over in winter and hunting rabbits on the ice was big sport. Pueblo had 65,000 residents. Forty-two unpaid members of the state's militia seize the Pueblo armory on Jan. 27, and say they'll keep it until they're paid. The paper does not report how this turned out. Ida Miller abandoned her 11-year-old son and took off to Denver with the "Poet-Burglar of East Pueblo, William Wert." She killed herself with laudanum when she was captured. On April 6, 1905, the Chicago Nationals and Chicago Americans (the Colts) play an exhibition baseball game in Pueblo. Hall of Famers Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance play, as do notables Fielder Jones, Johnny Kling and Jimmy Slagle, all of the Nats, later called the Cubs. The paper runs a boxscore but no story. Pueblo County had several of its products on display at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, not least among them marble from Beulah. There were at least two opera houses in Pueblo. "Fewer idle girls now unwilling to stay home," a headline says. They Made a Difference - Damon Runyon - Damon Runyon is perhaps the most famous person to ever call Pueblo home. If not, he is certainly the most prolific when it comes to words written and of being read. He moved to Pueblo in 1887, when his father came to work here as a newspaper typesetter. Damon worked as a reporter briefly for The Chieftain, and sent dispatches to the paper when he served in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Although he left Pueblo in 1905 to work in Denver, his greatest fame rose from his work as a newspaper columnist in New York City and as a short story writer. The Broadway smash, "Guys and Dolls," is based on his writings. Alva Adams - Alva Adams was a three-time governor of Colorado and a prominent Pueblo businessman. He was elected to two-year terms in 1887 and 1897 and to another term in 1905, when the Legislature overturned his election. But he did serve 66 days in that office in 1905. Adams' businesses in Pueblo included a hardware store, bank and brick company. Photo Caption: Photo Caption: Eunice Winkless dives into a pool of water in Pueblo, July 4, 1905.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-25-1999 Our Past Century, 1906 – 1907 – Labor Problems Plague City – 1900 – 2000, Our Past Century – A Look Back at Pueblo and Its People – Horses, bicycles and streetcars made Union Avenue a busy place in the early 1900s. Editor's note: This is part of a yearlong series The Pueblo Chieftain is running each Monday depicting the past century in Pueblo. As the 1906-07 era dawned on the world, remains of the Russian revolt still simmered and unrest brewed beneath the surface in parts of Europe. In America, labor strife continued to be a major issue, with a national strike by the International Typographical Union occurring over an 8-hour workday. Coal miners were threatening another strike like the one two years earlier that had halted production at Pueblo's steel mill, then called the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., or "the Minnequa plant" to locals. The local labor issue was the company's insistence on paying steelworkers in “scrip” that could be spent, with few exceptions, only at the company store – The Colorado Supply at the corner of Bay State and Evans. Mill workers complained that the store's merchandise was overpriced, but to shop elsewhere, they had to trade their scrip to brokers for a fee of 15-25 cents on the dollar. A New Year's Day story told of disgruntlement among the Bessemer scrip brokers when one of them raised his price to 87 ½ cents on the dollar, buying or selling. That gave steelworkers at least 7 ½ cents more on the dollar than they had been getting, but they continued demanding an end to the scrip system and payment more often than once a month. They wouldn't get their way until early in the next decade, but they did win a twice-monthly pay system later in 1906. But even with those complaints, steelworkers and most others, according to the city's two newspapers, were enjoying prosperous times. More than 200 attended the second-annual meeting of the Pueblo Businessmen's Association at the Imperial Hotel at Eighth and Santa Fe. Gov. Alva Adams (who soon was to be removed from office) was the toastmaster and was full of praise for his hometown, although he said the city needed its own rail system and more cultivated lots. He also called for abolition of the scrip system. An editorial a month later announced plans for a new ballpark Downtown and trailed on for several inches about Pueblo's progressive mode. What was needed most in the coming year, the piece said, was street-paving "and when we get that, the other things will come in due time." W.M. Wiley of Holly announced plans to build a new rail spur from Holly to Swink and build a new sugar factory if farmers in the area would pledge 5,500 acres of beets for the new plant. Apparently, lots of Puebloans in those days could afford household help, and they weren't afraid (or prohibited) from specifying which races they would or wouldn't accept. One ad said, politely, "A girl for general housework, white preferred." Discrimination in housing was no big deal, either. "Bright, sunny rooms. These are not for light housekeeping and consumptives need not apply," said one boarding-house ad. A police item noted a noisy party the night before in the "Jap Colony" on Elm Street. Several hundred Japanese immigrants had moved to Pueblo to replace striking steelworkers in 1904. A 1907 story details how Oshima (no first name given), a Japanese resident, was denied in his application for citizenship by District Court clerk J. Knox Burton, who said he was relaying a federal ruling. Inside news pages and the comics were full of black-face caricatures sure to bring a lawsuit today. A brief with the headline "Negroes act sensibly" told how "Chicago negroes have begun a fight against the lawless and criminals of their own race." The same issue proclaimed that plaid gingham had regained fashion favor in April of 1907, when Mayor John T. West and a new City Council was sworn in before being barraged by complaints from citizens who hadn't found satisfaction with the previous administration. Most of the complaints were about crumbling sidewalks. The council also reviewed an estimate of $5,385 for retaining walls along the Main Street viaduct. A small item the same day boasts that Pueblo had been named a reserve city by the U.S. Treasury Department, meaning that the city "is elevated to the financial status of the most important cities of the country and now stands upon the same footing as do Denver, Salt Lake, Omaha and Kansas City." It was also in 1907 that John D. Rockefeller became owner of the steel mill. Rockefeller later would hire specialists to conduct public relations for the plant and to develop the Employee Representation Plan, which laid the early groundwork for the formation of unions. Opponents described the plan as "conceived by Rockefeller, for Rockefeller, and no other feller." Others thought it was a sincere attempt to reach a compromise with workers. By year's end, the United States was trying to still unrest in the Philippines; telegraph workers at the Denver and Rio Grande Railway were threatening a strike; and county commissioners were trying to settle a squabble about disparate property taxes on residential and farm land in Pueblo. The year's last edition of The Star-Journal included a front-page story detailing the apparent suicide of a man who went to great lengths to conceal all evidence of his identity before swallowing a fatal dose of laudanum. "The unfortunate man was found by a chambermaid" of the Columbia rooming house on B Street, the story said. Police arrived thinking the man was dead, but he twitched as they entered the room and they called for help. Two doctors tried to save the man, but couldn't. The story asked readers to come to the funeral home of McMahon and Collier if they thought they might know the young man. They Made a Difference – Andrew McClelland and Columbia McClelland – Pueblo already had a library named after Andrew McClelland when the Pueblo Orphanage Association approached him for help building an orphanage. He offered the group a building that had been built for the Methodist College, which failed before it opened, on the condition that the group raise $5,000 in supporting funds. When it looked as though the association wouldn't be able to raise the money, Columbia McClelland wrote a check for $5,000 and presented it with the request that if she or her husband were ever ill or unable to support themselves, the orphanage would care for them for the rest of their lives. The McClellands had no children. Throughout the first two decades of the new orphanage's operation, Andrew was an active board member and often spent time at the home. The association changed its name and incorporated in 1906, becoming the McClelland Orphanage in honor of the McClellands, whose generous donation of real estate and cash had established a model orphanage for Protestant children of Southern Colorado.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-1-1999 Our Past Century, 1908 - 1909 - First Decade of 20th Century Ends with Pueblo Booming - The end of the century's first decade saw Pueblo teaming with pride. Still the state's second-largest city and growing, Pueblo by 1909 was billing itself as "Little Pittsburgh" for its steel, rail and smelting underpinnings. In the same breath, the city openly dreamed of becoming a major distributor and producer within the agriculture industry. The neighboring Arkansas Valley was bountiful with crops, including the state's largest sugar beet crop. To the west, the Arkansas River, the DeWeese reservoir near Westcliffe and other irrigation plans offered hope of a greener Canon City and Pueblo. Reported The Pueblo Chieftain: "In the course of time, it is certain some system will be devised which will make it possible to irrigate every foot of tillable soil in Pueblo County." The county's biggest cash crops as of 1909 were alfalfa and sugar beets. Pueblo also hailed its urban amenities. Among them: 10 miles of paved streets; 75 miles of street railway; 186 miles of paved or stone sidewalks; 17 miles of telephone wires. It was also proud of its links to the outside world: 3,000 miles of telegraph wire; a rail depot handling 190,000 passengers per year. Also, Pueblo raised a tidy $111,000 toward the opening of a YMCA building, and in 1909 spent $50,000 to expand Centennial High School. The city boasted of the 70-plus residents who owned cars. (Each owner and his car's license plate number was listed in the newspaper.) Looking back on Pueblo's efforts at community development from that era, no one can question whether the city's founders lacked foresight. Just in March 1908 alone: Pueblo County commissioners finalized plans to build a grand courthouse, which remains today, but a court fight over taxes delayed the project. The city's two school districts - one on the South Side; one on the North Side - agreed to study a merger. It finally came about in 1946. The manager of the Colorado State Fair announced he was taking the train to Denver to fight off an effort to move the Fair to the larger city. And the editorial pages of The Chieftain called for an organized effort to secure Pueblo's place as a convention destination. The city also worried about the Colorado Mental Health Institute's future. Outraged when a patient from the then-named state insane asylum attacked a citizen with an ax, Puebloans demanded a state investigation into security. Initially, the state refused, enflaming the community's anger. Eventually, the state agreed to install a 10-foot-high fence around the hospital, which then could handle 800 patients. Later, the state announced plans to expand the hospital. A look back at the city's politics also brings a feeling of deja vu. En route to winning the Democratic nomination for president in 1908, William Jennings Bryan paid a visit to Pueblo, a la President Clinton. Arriving at Mineral Palace Park on a Sunday, Bryan bypassed the political speech for a religious pep talk on Christ titled, "The Prince of Peace." Few audiences wanted to hear about politics, the noted orator said. Bryan's remarks notwithstanding, politics were huge in Pueblo and the rest of Colorado as Denver hosted the 1908 National Democratic Convention. Pueblo hosted the state Republican convention. Nationally, Bryan emerged as the Democrat nominee but later lost the general election to Republican William Taft by a 51-43 percent margin. Bryan was the choice of Pueblo (8,228 votes to 7,322 votes) and the rest of Colorado, then a state where registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans. In other news from the period: Like the rest of the world, Pueblo found itself entranced by the drama over who was the first person to discover the North Pole: Robert Peary or Frederick A. Cook. Sin laws were gaining momentum. The prohibition drive was moving ahead with dozens of Colorado towns banning alcohol. Pueblo, meanwhile, struggled to enforce a ban on Sunday sales. And a rumor that heavyweight boxing champ Jack Johnson was considering a fight in Pueblo was made moot by the state's ban on prize fighting. They Made a Difference - George King - The billboard sign on Sixth Street proclaims "Kings - Since 1909" but today the marquee stands more as a reminder of the late Pueblo civic leader than an advertisement for his now-closed lumber company. George King served as a one-term county commissioner and later changed the city's home-building industry with the start of his King Investment and Lumber Company, born of a small lumber mill in Bessemer that he bought and relocated. King built homes, and later, focused on lumber sales and home finance. In the 1921 flood, his lumber yard was wiped out under 13 feet of water but he rebuilt. He died in 1946, leaving the business - at one time the second largest on the Front Range - to his son, Francis, who later sold to longtime manager Harold Mabrie. The lumber yard closed in 1989. John Keating - For four decades starting in 1896 and ending with his death in 1936, John Francis Keating served as superintendent of Pueblo's second school district based around Central High School. "During those 40 years of service to his community he built a great school system," a succeeding superintendent said of Keating, a skilled orator who also served as Methodist preacher. A native of Ohio, Keating said he moved his family to Colorado for its natural beauty and "the progressive educational spirit of the West in general and Colorado in particular." Pueblo hired Keating away from the school district in mining-rich Central City near Denver. Upon his death, the school board renamed a junior high in his honor. The building today serves as home to the Keating Education Center.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-8-1999 A Prosperous Second Decade - The second decade of the 1900s began on a prosperous note in Pueblo. New buildings began springing up throughout the town. The population was booming. Businesses were flourishing. Pueblo was being showcased to the world. Most of the early months in 1910 saw Pueblo preparing to host the 18th annual National Irrigation Congress, which drew prominent individuals from around the world. In anticipation of hosting the congress, Pueblo built two luxurious hotels - the Congress and Vail - both of which opened just weeks before the Sept. 26 convention started. The Congress Hotel was touted for its large sampling rooms, ideal for men who were selling wares, and a large ballroom. The Vail, which now is housing for senior citizens, boasted 110 rooms equipped with baths and running water. The two new luxury hotels weren't the only construction taking place in Pueblo during this period. The state insane asylum located on Martin between 11th and 15th streets built three new cottages on its campus - two for men and one for women. Each cottage was able to house 100 patients, bringing the capacity of the institution, called the best in the country, to nearly 1,200. The Wachusett Investment Company also built a new $50,000 business building at the corner of Fourth and Santa Fe. In May 1910, the city opened the Lake Minnequa Amusement Park to a record crowd. It was said the demands for the roller coaster and concessions far exceeded what park personnel could handle. In 1911, Lake Minnequa added a stunning carousel. In September 1910, the National Irrigation Congress, which boasted numerous world leaders, filled the city with plenty of excitement. The weeklong convention held at the Mineral Palace also featured an extensive exhibit of various farm and irrigation machinery. A few weeks earlier, Pueblo had hosted former president Theodore Roosevelt. During his one-hour stopover, Roosevelt participated in a parade and laid the cornerstone of the new YMCA building. Upon leaving the city, Roosevelt was quoted as saying, "I like Pueblo." In the spring of 1911, Pueblo also hosted a National Aviation Meet at the Colorado State Fairgrounds. The Pueblo Chieftain reported that the meet featured "the greatest exhibition of aviation works ever seen in the middle west." While the city was gaining national and international exposure, Pueblo's leaders also wanted to secure strong relationships with area communities. In the spring 1910, a group known as the Pueblo Boosters set out on a weeklong train ride, visiting numerous Southern Colorado towns in hopes of boosting trade relations. Pueblo also established a Commerce Club, comprising 500 members, to address and seek solutions to the civic problems that were developing from the growing city. Colorado, like Pueblo, was seeking more growth at the time. Leaders said if there were more citizens, then taxes would be reduced, there would be better roads, transportation services would be improved and there would be cheaper railroad rates. Statewide, Pueblo was recognized as casting the deciding votes in the 1910 renomination of Gov. John F. Shafroth. In the 1911 city elections, Puebloans surprised leaders by electing Democrat John T. West as mayor over incumbent and highly favored Dr. A. T. King. The voters also elected only two of eight Republican alderman despite The Chieftain running a full-page, pre-election section on only the Republican candidates. Voters also approved the charter convention, which was the first step toward forming a commission form of government. Although Pueblo was experiencing great progress, it was not without its troubles. Corruption continued in the police department, and after several months of allegations and investigations, Police Chief C. C. Sullivan resigned and several officers were fired. The Pueblo area also experienced some terrible weather. The winter of 1910 started on a wet note and cold temperatures combined with a quick warming trend caused the Arkansas River to flood its banks in eastern Pueblo County. The rapid melting of several large ice chunks in the river created the overflow that washed out farms and took out bridges. The areas hardest hit by flooding were Boone, Avondale and Nyberg. The next winter wasn't any better. Pueblo experienced some of its coldest temperatures in recent years with several days of below-zero weather. Some of the other interesting stories of the time were: The appearance of Haley's Comet frightened many people. More than 100 men were killed in the Primero mine explosion. Central High School graduated 60 students, while Centennial had 50 graduates. A strike involving streetcar workers in Philadelphia led to riots. King Edward VII of England died and the Prince of Wales, George V, succeeded him. The world's most celebrated tramp visited Pueblo. Representatives for blacks asked Pueblo's Mayor A. L. Fugard to consider hiring black firemen for the city's newest fire company. In sports, one of the biggest baseball stories was Pueblo hosting the Chicago White Sox in a game against the local All-Stars at Selee Park. The Pueblo team, which was described as playing like "a bunch of big leaguers" nearly upset the White Sox before falling 9-4. In football, there were several changes in the rules of the game that were said to eliminate the dangers of the sport. Among the changes: Runners no longer were required to go five yards either side before advancing; the flying tackle was prohibited and the game was divided into four periods of 15 minutes each. They Made a Difference - Nona Lovell Brooks - In the late 19th century, Nona Lovell Brooks, along with two other women studying metaphysics, planted the seeds for the Divine Science Church. After receiving spiritual healing, Brooks, a Pueblo school teacher, and Malinda Cramer of San Francisco used their experiences to formulate a faith known as Divine Science. Brooks and her sisters, Alethe Brooks Small and Fannie Brooks, formed a metaphysical study group in Pueblo prior to moving to Denver where they spread their message of faith. Shortly after moving to Denver, the women formed a Divine Science College to train teachers, organize churches and ordain ministers. Brooks, who received her education at the Pueblo Normal School after moving to Colorado in 1874, was ordained as the church's first pastor. She served for 30 years at the First Divine Science Church of Denver. The Divine Science group that Brooks formed in Pueblo died out in the early 1900s and it wasn't until 1940 that a new group was organized. O. H. P. Baxter - One of Colorado's early pioneers, O.H.P. Baxter moved to the state in 1858 and later settled in Pueblo where he became one of the county's first farmers and one of the city's largest property owners. After a couple years of prospecting and mining in the mountains, Baxter settled on a ranch about 5 miles from Pueblo. A year later, he moved to a ranch at the mouth of the St. Charles River and began farming. In the early 1860s, Baxter joined the U.S. military and later served with the regiment involved in the battle of Sand Creek. After his term expired, Baxter returned to farming. He also developed a strong interest in the stock business, and bought half interest in the Jewett Grist Mill. Baxter also was one of the founding trustees who helped to organize the town of Pueblo. He served as a county commissioner, commissioner of the state penitentiary and a commissioner of the state insane asylum. Baxter died in April, 1910, after a short illness. Photo Caption: Georgia Farabaugh with her family around 1910 at the Turkey Creek Ranch. She grew up to be a longtime city councilwoman in Pueblo.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-15-1999 Our Past Century, 1912 - 1913 - Sinking of Titanic Touched Pueblo - The biggest movie in history was made in 1912. They just didn't know it yet. On April 16, 1912, a major headline on the front page of The Pueblo Chieftain reported: "Thirteen Hundred Go Down When Steamer Struck by Iceberg" "Titanic on Maiden Voyage Sinks in Midocean - Only One-Third Saved." Puebloans read that "some 1,306 people, it is feared, sank to death early yesterday some four hours after she crashed into an iceberg. The mammoth steamer Titanic from Liverpool to New York on her maiden voyage sank to the bottom off the New Foundland banks. Of the 2,000 persons, some of them of worldwide prominence, only 675 are known to be saved." The headlines would continue for months as the investigation into the luxury liner catastrophe unfolded. Puebloans would soon learn that one of the prominent passengers lost had a local connection. Ben Guggenheim, one of the younger sons of Simon Guggenheim, who established the Philadelphia Smelter & Refining Company, was among the victims who went down with the Titanic. In the 1998 blockbuster movie, "Titanic," Ben Guggenheim was featured for his gallantry, walking his mistress and her maid to a lifeboat, while choosing to give up his life on the sinking ship in style. He exchanged a life belt for his best evening wear. With his valet at his side and cigar and brandy snifter in hand, the mining and smelting tycoon was quoted as saying: "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." Guggenheim no longer was living in Pueblo at that time. He had lived here years earlier when the Guggenheims' Philadelphia Smelting and Refining Company prospered during the 1870 to 1900 period. As a Puebloan, Ben Guggenheim was considered a colorful, if somewhat tawdry figure. He caused a local scandal when as chief of staff of the company, he often visited brothels and even took one diamond-adorned madam to the Grand Opera House. The same day the world reeled from the Titanic's sinking, Puebloans were struggling with their own day-old tragedy. On April 15, a Rock Island passenger train derailed north of Pueblo and 20 people were injured. A few months after the Titantic and Rock Island train went awry, another Rock Island passenger train plunged into the flooded Fountain River on July 13, 1912. Vague initial reports were the norm then. "The conductor had not had time to check tickets and the number of passengers on the train is unknown. Several lives were lost," the first Chieftain story reported. There would be some bright moments during the era, too. As 1913 opened, The Chieftain trumpeted the completion of the new Pueblo County Courthouse, calling it the "most beautiful courthouse in the West." The writer took some literary license, calling it a place in which the visitor "floats in the grand entrance" of an "architectural poem set to marble." Cost of the new structure was listed at $699,372.63. Among the news stories in 1912: The sheriff's office had "kept busy" investigating six murder cases; Centennial High School had just been enlarged; Central High School was under construction; and Sacred Heart Church was built at 11th and Grand, replacing the first parish of St. Ignatius, which was built in the 1880s. Sacred Heart Church became a cathedral in 1941. The early 1900s also signaled the beginning of Colorado's shift from a mining state to an agricultural and industrial producer. Rocky Ford cantaloupe and watermelons were grown for a first time. Sugar beets became an industry. And Coloradans began taking a look at the state's spectacular beauty as a tourist and economic boon. But the change wouldn't come easily. Labor problems nationally and statewide already flared now and then, when the United Mine Workers came to Colorado on an organizing campaign in 1913. On Sept. 23, 1913, some 12,000 workers moved out of company-owned houses in Southern Colorado coal fields and into tent towns. CF&I Steel Corp. was among the mining concerns, then mostly owned by the Rockefeller family. The miners walked out in protest over a number of issues: A lack of safety conditions, an 8-hour day, the right to buy outside company stores and a wage of $3.45 a day. Armed guards secured the mines. Coal operators brought in thugs to beat up the strikers. There were murders, and troubles increased as winter's chill turned frigid. The mine owners' employees were recruited into the National Guard and the Guard turned into a state-sanctioned force against the strikers. The year would end with both sides polarized and no end to the strike in sight. Other notable happenings of the period were: In 1912: the birth of Pueblo Rotary Club No. 43, which was the first Rotary club to be established in a city of less than 100,000 in population. Passing of a House bill to impose a graduated income tax on May 8, which would serve as a Senate mandate to enact the bill into law. The April 12 death of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. She was born Dec. 25, 1821. The following year, March 31 would set a record for the new arrival of immigrants at New York's Ellis Island, tallying 6,745 newcomers. Frenchman J. Goux won the third Indianapolis 500, averaging 75.9 mph, in a Peugeot racer. Gerald Ford, who later would become the 38th U.S. president, was born on July 14, 1913. They Made a Difference - Colombo F. Delliquadri - Well-known Pueblo law officer Colombo F. Delliquadri was held in high esteem by Pueblo leaders. While serving as a city detective, county sheriff and deputy state game warden, Delliquadri forged a reputation as a fearless "straight shooter" who was always generous to anyone in need. Delliquardi died at age 52 at the family home on Summit Street. He had moved to Pueblo at age 15. At 31, he was instrumental in having the statue of Christopher Columbus placed in front of the McClelland Public Library. Martha B. Mallaby - In 1914, a publication titled "Representative Women of Colorado" recognized Martha B. Mallaby as a "businesswoman of ability," a most unusual comment for the times. In addition to her business, the Mallaby-Campbell Investment Company in the Central Block Building, Mallaby was a member of the Wednesday Morning Club, and a communicant at the Episcopal Church. She began her career as a teacher. Picture Caption: Pueblo County Courthouse under construction. It opened in 1913 and was called the `most beautiful courthouse in the West.'
Pueblo Chieftain 2-22-1999 Our Past Century, 1914 - 1915 - Death Strikes Ludlow Tent Colony - Violence and death came to Colorado's coal fields with startling fury early in 1914, and revolution raged in Mexico. Both events touched Pueblo. On April 21, 1914, the Pueblo Star-Journal's front page shouted, "3 women and 10 children smother at tent colony." The event is now known as the Ludlow Massacre. In addition to those 13 deaths, the United Mine Workers strike claimed at least seven other people, mostly union organizers. Initial reports pointed blame at hundreds of strikers who were involved in an all-day battle with the militia preceding the deadly fire that swept through the tent colony at Ludlow, 65 miles south of Pueblo. Labor matriarch Mary Jones came to Colorado to help organize the strike, and drew national attention when she was arrested and jailed in Walsenburg. "The appearance of Mother Jones at the door of the jail was the signal for a demonstration by a large crowd of strikers and strike sympathizers that had gathered in anticipation of her release. The aged leader appeared in good health and declared she was feeling well," reported the Star-Journal upon her release. President Wilson ordered 600 federal troops from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Fort Russell, Wyo., into the coal strike district, where virtual civil war existed, according to newspaper accounts. The strike had spread to include Las Animas, Huerfano, Fremont and Boulder counties. By early May 1914, the blame for the deaths at Ludlow shifted to the leaders of the militia. Crewmen of the Colorado & Southern Railroad testified at a coroner's inquest that they had seen a man in a militia uniform put a torch to a tent in the Ludlow colony. "J. S. Harriman, a conductor on the same train, testified that as the train pulled out of the station and past the tent colony, he heard women and children screaming and apparently trying to escape. He said during this time the militia was firing into the colony," the Star-Journal reported on May 2, 1914. Vying for space on the front pages of Pueblo's newspapers with the labor struggles in the coal fields was Mexico's bloody revolution. Elected President Francisco Madero had been assassinated and dictator Victorio Huerta's federal forces were at war against rebel forces led by men who have become icons of revolution - Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. The Constitutional Army led by Gen. Venustiano Carranza and Gen. Obregon also opposed Huerta. U.S. troops were sent to Vera Cruz, Mexico, to intercept a German shipment of several million rounds of ammunition and 200 field guns and keep them from Huerta. During the Mexican Revolution, more than a million Mexican refugees fled to the American Southwest. Pueblo received its fair share. Two of them - Narcisco Rojos and Angilillio Garcia - were married in Pueblo on May 16, 1914. He was a former Carranza soldier who was wounded and cared for by Miss Garcia in a Mexican hospital. He recovered and attempted to return to combat, but soon learned his injuries would not let him. He came to Pueblo in search of the nurse with whom he had fallen in love. Another Puebloan, Dr. Will B. Davis, served a decade as the American vice-consul at Guadalajara, Mexico. When fighting reached that city, he returned to Pueblo. Before he fled the war zone, Davis was instrumental in securing transportation for several hundred other American citizens back to the United States. The June 25, 1914, edition of the Star-Journal reported that Pueblo's Rood Candy Co. had received an order for 2,500 candies from O. L. de La Garpa, financial agent of the Mexican Constitutionalist Army under the command of Pancho Villa. The report said Villa abstained from drinking alcohol and also did not allow his soldiers to drink liquor, but he was generous with the candy he purchased from Pueblo. By the end of 1915, Carranza was Mexico's president and Villa was hiding out from U.S. Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing. It was Carranza who discovered Pueblo's reputation as a saddle-making center. "President Carranza continues to be good patron of local manufacturers," read a report in the Pueblo Chieftain. "A substantial order for saddles, bridles and blankets was received from the Mexican government for the federal army by the S. C. Gallup Saddlery company of Pueblo." Pueblo continued to thrive. By 1915, Pueblo had nearly 1,000 automobiles. The Union Depot was a hive of activity with 75 passenger trains arriving and departing daily. The fire department had made the switch from horse-drawn wagons to motorized fire trucks. Pueblo's factories produced $60 million in goods in 1914. Of that, $15 million was paid in wages and $10 million was spent on raw materials. McClelland Public Library had 27,800 books and 6,500 library card holders. The city also had early gang problems, according to one Pueblo Chieftain account that ran under the headline, "Gang of rowdies rounded up, one gets fine of $100." The story was about a group of young men who, after drinking a keg of beer, broke up a picnic party of girls on the south shore of Lake Minnequa. "The affair was one of the worst which the police have been called upon to handle in some time. The picnic party of young girls, chaperoned by several well-known society matrons, had gathered about a fire for a 'weinie' roast at the lake. Their party was progressing nicely when they were startled by wild yells from a gang of boys a short distance away. The yells were followed by the appearance of several of the men in a nude condition. Some of the gang then proceeded to go swimming." One of the rowdies was caught by police and fined $100 for indecent exposure. Local readers also learned of the tragedy of the Cvar family that began during Christmas 1914 when Frank Cvar was shot and killed while entering a Grove tavern dressed as Santa Claus. A bartender who later was cleared in the shooting said he thought Cvar was a robber. Two months later, Cvar's 8-year-daughter died of spinal meningitis, while in the next hospital room her mother gave birth to another daughter who would never know her father. In November 1914, Colorado voters approved the 22nd Amendment, better known as the Prohibition Amendment. Colorado would become a dry state on Jan. 1, 1916. By the end of 1915, Pueblo's 80 or so bars and handful of liquor stores temporarily were out of business. The Walter Brewing Co. ended production three months earlier. The following election, Pueblo voters approved a bond issue to finance a combined city hall and auditorium by a margin of 1,616 to 1,078. In the same election, Fred Olin edged incumbent City Commissioner Thomas A. Duke by 14 votes - 3,160 to 3,146. A recount resulted in an even closer 6-vote margin, but Olin prevailed. According to the Pueblo post office, the city was suffering from an identity crisis. More than 500 different spellings of the city's name had been received. Some of the spellings were: Paw Wabble, Peyabro, Pubblow, (Colder Rater), Puebler, Peuploe, Peauablo, Poebilo, Proebol, Peeblo, and Pueableauiow. In the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and the Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo on June 29, 1914, war in Europe pushed the Mexican Revolution and local labor wars off the front pages. The war came home on Nov. 11, 1915, when it was reported that Mr. and Mrs. Damano Todaro of Pueblo were among the 150 who died when the Italian-American ocean liner Ancona was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea by an Austrian submarine. Most of the world was at war and both sides turned to Uncle Sam to see if he was going to blink. They Made a Difference - Samuel Gallup - As the horseless carriage edged out the horse as the most common form of transportation, Pueblo's heyday as the "cowboy saddle capital" also came to an end. It was Samuel Gallup, one of Pueblo's early settlers, who had helped form the city's reputation as a saddle center. Gallup also is credited with helping form the city's first volunteer fire department. In 1915, he received an order from Mexican President Venustiano Carranza for saddles, bridles and blankets. S.C. Gallup Co. closed in 1930. Robert Frazier - Pueblo's other premier saddle maker was Robert Frazier, who learned the trade at Pete Becker's saddle shop in Leadville and came to Pueblo in 1880 to work for Samuel Gallup. They worked together for about 10 years before Frazier left Gallup to open his own business. In 1915, Frazier received international recognition when a saddle made by the R. T. Frazier Saddlery Co. of Pueblo took the grand prize at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, named the finest saddle in the world. Frazier died in the mid-1920s. Picture Caption: Striking coal miners and families are pictured at a tent colony near Forbes, Colo. There were many tent colonies in Southern Colorado, including one at Ludlow.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-1-1999 Our Past Century, 1916 – 1917 – Puebloans Rush to Join WWI Fight – A Look Back at Pueblo and Its People – While war ravaged Europe, Puebloans weaned themselves from alcohol, planned for a new city hall and watched the CF&I make some provisions for its workers. The year was 1916. The Western Slope was buried under 2 feet of snow, and an early morning fire Jan. 1 in Pueblo destroyed four houses occupied by "foreigners" at the rear of the Philadelphia Smelter. An overheated stove was thought to be the cause. As the new year dawned, Pueblo's population was 55,000, and the city boasted more than 100 factories whose weekly output exceeded $1 million and whose monthly payroll was nearly $1.5 million. Other statistics touted in a New Year's Day edition of the Pueblo Star-Journal were one of the largest steel mills in the country, two high schools – Centennial and Central – 54 churches, 40 miles of street railway, 90 miles of sewers, 330 acres of parks and eight railroads operating 68 passenger trains a day. The city also had its share of saloons, though the advent of Prohibition in Colorado on Jan. 1, 1916, technically put them out of business. "Police prevent undue outburst of grief at passing of Old Man Booze," the Star-Journal reported. "Supplies ran short (Dec. 31) and at 11 p.m. (only) several of the city's 80 original saloons were open for business." No killings or other serious trouble marred the transition from wet to dry in Pueblo and, in Denver, the women celebrated. CF&I president J.F. Welborn reported progress on the company's new industrial plan to the Colorado Coal Commission, which had been appointed by President Woodrow Wilson after the Ludlow Massacre. Welborn noted that more than $50,000 had been spent replacing "objectionable" dwellings with "model" ones; $15,000 for fences around the houses; $22,000 for bath houses and clubhouses. Welborn also announced that emergency hospitals would be built at the company's mining camps. The first two – at Primero in Southern Colorado and at Sunrise, Wyo. – would be gifts of John D. Rockefeller. The following year, 1917, saw escalation of the war in Europe and America's formal entry into that war in April. "The world must be made safe for democracy," President Wilson said. In May, the Selective Draft Act was passed and, in June 1917, when registration was conducted in Pueblo County, the response was overwhelming. "Thousands of young eligibles for conscription army register quietly – no disorder in this city," read a front-page headline in the June 6 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain. Registration cards ran out in many of the city's 35 precincts, as 4,654 men registered for the draft. Nearly 30 nations were represented among the registrants, including Greece; Anaestasio Horalampopoulos from precinct 29 had the longest name of the men who registered, The Chieftain noted. In the 11th precinct, 207 of the 485 registered voters signed up for the draft. At the county jail, 11 inmates accused of felonies registered. At the state hospital for the insane, 100 patients registered, as did 45 patients at Minnequa and St. Mary hospitals. Stories about the war and the draft were everywhere those hot June days, as the city and the nation were whipped into a patriotic fever, in part, by the press. America was registering "her virile manhood for service in the maelstrom of frenzied hate which is now sweeping Imperial Europe," The Chieftain observed. That year also saw literally land-office business in local filings under the new 640-acre homestead act; the abdication of the Russian throne by Czar Nicholas II and the subsequent banishment of the royal family and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks; and, in December, the United States' declaration of war on Austria-Hungary. In the midst of the huge and dramatic events that swept Pueblo and the world in 1916-1917 was one small happening, which, in its own way, had earthshaking consequences. The case of Zula Vernon prompted no red headlines and only a scant paragraph of type in the Nov. 19, 1916, Star-Journal. Arrested for begging on Union Avenue, the 24-year-old woman from Indiana was jailed, released and then asked to be jailed again – perhaps in a fit of despair. She had been judged by a police court to be of "questionable character" and "not a fit person to have the custody of a young child," and her 4-year-old son was placed in McClelland Orphanage until "some other disposition can be made for him." The child supposedly had given "damaging testimony" against his mother. Mrs. Vernon, who dressed in men's clothing over a long skirt and who caused a stir about town, was trying to get to Oregon where, she said, a man waited to marry her. Her letter to that man was not answered, and Mrs. Vernon's fate was not disclosed by the Star-Journal. They Made a Difference – Fred E. Olin – Fred E. Olin left his native New York in 1884 and came west, settling in Pueblo and running dairy, livery and, finally, grocery businesses. His grocery store was located at 503 Abriendo for many years. Olin was a director of the Bank of Pueblo, a member of the Republican Party and, in 1915, was elected to a four-year term on the city commission. He served as commission president in 1918. Richard W. Corwin – Dr. Richard W. Corwin studied taxidermy as a youth in New York City and was appointed taxidermist to Cornell University. He later studied medicine at Michigan State University, taught anatomy and physiology and then moved west for more study at the University of Denver. In 1881, Corwin moved to Pueblo and accepted the position of chief surgeon for the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., which included management of the sociological department. He served as president of the local and state medical societies and on the Colorado State Board of Health. In 1916, he visited hospitals in France and Belgium to study surgical techniques, which he brought back to Minnequa Hospital in Pueblo. Photos, biographical information from `History of Colorado,' published by S.J. Clarke Co. of Chicago.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-8-1999 Our Past Century, 1918 - 1919 - Pueblo Goes to War and a Deadly Flu Strikes - Look out, Kaiser! Here comes Bessemer!" That was the sign at Union Depot one chilly April morning in 1918 as another contingent of boisterous Pueblo draftees headed off to Army training camps in California and Kansas - just part of the 16,000 Pueblo-area men who registered for the draft in World War I. Pueblo's newspapers were bursting with pride as American soldiers, dubbed "Sammies" by reporters, began heading overseas that spring. There were front-page patriotic cartoons in The Chieftain and the Pueblo Star-Journal every day, typically showing a determined Uncle Sam landing a haymaker or rearing back to stick a bayonet into an evil-looking Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. It had to be a frightening time for Pueblo families because the newspapers were full of stories of terrible fighting in blood-drenched France. Gas attacks and terrible artillery barrages. Meanwhile, Pueblo's boys were writing home about life in Army camps, letters that often were printed in the papers. Innocent and sentimental accounts of "good chow" and high morale. In 1918, Pueblo was a bustling city of 4,000 automobiles. The new City Hall (Memorial Hall) was under construction. Michael Studzinski was the newly elected city commissioner for public safety and he announced his plan to begin an "autopatrol" - actually putting a police officer in a car with the job of roaming the city. The newspapers noted "this has not been done in other cities." Studzinski also announced his intention to "clean up gambling" in Pueblo, saying the city's cigar stores and billiard parlors were little more than gambling dens. Pueblo, like the nation, was on an austerity budget to help with the war effort. There were "wheatless" days and "lightless" nights. When the regional federal fuel administrator suggested that Pueblo citizens might want to "go to bed an hour early" or conduct combined church services to help conserve coal, Pueblo churches immediately sent back a terse "no thank you." All the patriotic fanfare, however, was dimmed a little on Feb. 6 when the troop ship Tuscania was torpedoed and sunk, killing hundreds. On board was Pvt. Paul A. Williams of Pueblo. He was the first of 52 local men who would die in the war. Pueblo families had to be anxious as they knew their sons and brothers (as well as daughters who were Red Cross nurses) came ever closer to the endless trenches and carnage of The Front. On March 1, a dispatch from Gen. John J. Pershing's headquarters in France said that Lt. Robert R. Cooper had been wounded in fighting. "Bob" Cooper, a South Sider, was praised for being the "first Puebloan to take a Hun bullet for his country." But April brought news of U.S. troops in heavy fighting in France and suddenly the Army dispatches became terse and grim. The Pueblo newspapers began printing the daily casualty lists. First of a dozen names. Then another 50 names. The stories only gave the soldiers' names and ranks, not their hometowns. The names were divided by categories: killed in action, died from wounds, missing, died from disease, or wounded. On April 10, a frighteningly long casualty list of 400 names was published, taking columns of print. But that would quickly become routine. By July 1, more than 5,000 "Sammies" had been killed and 6,000 wounded. At the same time, Pueblo's chapter of the American Red Cross was busy sewing bandages and garments and there was a general call for more women to be trained as nurses. Pueblo police were also busy looking for "slackers" - men who failed to register for the draft or who failed to report when drafted. Detective J. A. Grady in particular put the collar on numerous "slackers." When Grady nabbed one Henry Barner, who had deserted the Army, Barner wailed as he was being handcuffed. "I'd rather be shot than leave my wife," he protested. Maybe he meant it. But passions ran high on the war. In Collinsville, Ill., a German-born coal miner was lynched by an angry crowd. All summer, the fighting raged in Europe, even though it was clear that Germany and Austria were at the end of their strength. Of course, the fresh American units were being pushed into the fighting and Pueblo's boys were now appearing on the lists of the killed: Carl Simonson, Dean N. Jenks, Charles Merriam, William Butt, Steve Lucero, Luther Collins. As September passed, however, Pueblo's attention focused on a danger much closer to home: The Spanish flu epidemic, which was beginning to kill hundreds of people along the East Coast, had made it to Colorado. It came quickly, with sudden, soaring fevers and pneumonia-like symptoms. Pueblo lawyer Robert Gast was head of the local Red Cross and he helped the city prepare for what was coming. On Oct. 2, the newspapers reported that doctors had discovered six cases of the flu in a local family, which immediately was segregated for treatment. The city and Pueblo County officials reacted fast. Schools were ordered closed on Oct. 3 until further notice, public entertainment closed - and a strict "no spitting" law enforced. The city waited for the flu storm to strike, and it did. Reports on Oct. 15 said there were 90 cases around the city (6,000 deaths nationally). On Oct. 23, the papers reported that Pueblo nurse Phoebe Allen, 27, died of the flu while on her way to Europe. On Oct. 29, the city commissioners ordered that Clark's Hotel in the Grove be rented as an emergency hospital because the other city hospitals were full. Flu victims were not allowed visitors and were quarantined. Commissioner Fred Olin reported 2,000 flu cases around the city on Nov. 8 resulting in the death of more than 200 people. On Nov. 11, the Great War came to an end in Europe and the world rejoiced - but it was a bittersweet victory in Pueblo. City officials ordered no victory celebration because the flu was so rampant. The disease was killing on a vast scale, not just the elderly or the infirm. The obituary notices in the newspaper were full of young men and women who died "of pneumonia at a local hospital." By February 1919, however, the killer disease had spent itself. It left mass graves at Roselawn Cemetery and hundreds of grieving families in its wake, but schools reopened and something like normal life returned to Pueblo that spring. Nationally, 80,000 people died in the flu epidemic. That is more than the 53,000 American soldiers killed in battle in World War I. As the world began to recover from the terrible losses of The Great War, President Woodrow Wilson began a passionate campaign to create a League of Nations to build world peace. Wilson fought bitterly with congressional Republicans who pointed to the 53,000 dead as proof that America should stay out of European conflicts. Making a cross-country "whistlestop" trip to build support for the League, Wilson came to Pueblo on Sept. 25 to speak at the brand new Memorial Hall. He made an emotional, almost tearful plea for the League in front of a packed house that afternoon. Weary and spent, the president had to be helped back to his seat on stage. Later that night, as Wilson's train rolled eastward and away from Pueblo, the president suffered a severe stroke, which crippled him for the rest of his life - and the hope of American participation in the League. (Local historians Robert Collier and Joanne Dodds contributed some information for this story.) They Made a Difference - Robert R. Cooper - Army Lt. Robert R. Cooper was a South Sider who was among the first Puebloans overseas with the American Expeditionary Force. An infantry officer, "Bob" Cooper was wounded in February 1918 and Pueblo newspapers honored him as "the first Puebloan to take a Hun bullet for his country." Jefferson "Jeff" Evans - Just two weeks before President Woodrow Wilson visited Pueblo, Police Officer Jefferson "Jeff" Evans, 60, was beaten and shot to death about 1 a.m. on Sept. 13, 1919. Police arrested Jose Gonzales, 26, and Santos Ortez, 32, shortly afterwards when witnesses said the two men had been drinking in an illegal Peppersauce Bottoms saloon and killed Evans when he tried to arrest them. Having the alleged killers in jail triggered rumors of a lynching. About 10 p.m., police were lured away from the city jail by false alarms about a South Side shooting. Two dozen men then raided the jail and overpowered the two remaining guards. The mob wrestled Gonzales and Ortez into several cars and drove them to the Fourth Street bridge, where they were lynched.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-15-1999 Our Past Century, 1920 - 1921 - Pueblo's Most Historic Event - The weather forecast was as innocuous as it was prophetic. A small box in the upper right hand corner of The Pueblo Chieftain of Thursday, June 2, 1921, read: Partly cloudy, with local showers. Friday somewhat unsettled. It was more than unsettled. As anyone who has lived in Pueblo for five minutes or more knows, the Flood of 1921 was a killer, washing away the vestiges of frontier Pueblo and bringing in the 1920s with a roar of water heard as far away as Washington, D.C. The big news in that June 2, 1921, newspaper report was that the county was going to retire $50,000 in debt. The next day's edition, before the surging Arkansas River and Fountain Creek turned Main Street into a death swamp, contained a road bulletin warning of washouts and a story about the 25-minute hailstorm that stripped City Park trees and the 20 minutes of hard rain that fell after the hail, almost 2 inches. The temperature dropped to 54 degrees from 76 within a half-hour. By June 4, an estimated 500 acres of land in Irving Place, on Pueblo's West Side, were submerged. Cattle and horses were destroyed, and hogs at the Colorado State Hospital were drowned. A police officer named Pezoldt waded through rushing water on Santa Fe Avenue to "rescue a prominent Pueblo society woman and her three small children in their stalled Dodge," the paper reported. That was to be the last full edition of The Chieftain for about five days. A one-page information sheet was printed daily, with news and orders, because the city was under martial law. But everyone knew what was going on. They called it the largest flood since 1894, with scores feared dead. Hundreds were homeless, their abodes crumpled heaps of sticks after the rivers ripped them apart. There were warnings to merchants to avoid price gouging. Looters, the military said, would be shot on sight. A "colored man," Luther Hudson, saved several people from the rushing waters, the miniature Chieftain reported. The city was dark at night, except for the fires that raged. Aid poured in from throughout the nation. Even labor leader Samuel Gompers appealed for his workers to send help. A well-known Pueblo man, Ernst Withers, was shot and killed by a sentinel, in what was ruled an accidental death. Some estimates peg the number of dead at 500 or more. For days after, the papers ran two lists - the morgue report and the missing report. The paper said 200 were dead or missing in Pueblo County. The $16.8 million in losses didn't include another $8 million in the farming sector. Ten days after the flood, things were getting back to normal. Drinking water was safe again. Citizens were told how to avoid disease, and to "kill every fly you can find." Still, bodies were being found for some time after the water had receded. Crews-Beggs department store held a mammoth flood sale. So did Medill's Shoes, with a small bit of contemplation printed in an ad under the price of shoes: "Thank God We Are Alive," it said. June 19 was declared a day of public thanksgiving. Elsewhere, the '20s came in with a roar. U.S. Attorney General Mitchell Palmer was rounding up every suspected communist anyone could find. Even after the end of the War to End All Wars, Europe was burning again, with street fights between "Reds" and fascists. One group of street fighters in Germany, the National Socialists, were led by a little crackpot named Adolph Hitler, and were destined to become the world's worst killing machine. Prohibition, the Volstead Act, took effect Jan. 1, 1920. Prohibition was to have a sobering effect on the nation, in more ways than one. Organized crime blossomed with the shortsighted law in place for more than 13 years. Rebels took Mexico City in May 1920. The United States sent four ships to Tampico in response. A Pueblo sailor, George L. Scott, died in Tampico the following year. Strikes were worldwide, and so was revolution. Irish Catholics rioted in Belfast, and 13 died and 40 were injured in August 1920. The Poles fought Trotsky's Red Army. In Denver, police opened fire on striking streetcar drivers, killing three and wounding 13. Women in the United States finally got the vote on Aug. 26, 1920, when Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the paperwork placing the amendment into law. No women were invited to the signing ceremony. Later that year, newly elected President Warren Harding said women would be dangerous if they voted as a block. The Black Sox scandal broke, with eight players and many gamblers indicted in Cook County, Illinois, for fixing the 1919 World Series. "Reds" were blamed for a Wall Street bombing on Sept. 16, 1920. It killed 30 and wounded 300. A million miners struck in Great Britain, and days later Cork's mayor and leader of the Irish Republican Army, Terrance MacSwiney, was killed in Brixton Prison. KDKA radio in Pittsburgh began the first commercial regular broadcast schedule, Nov. 2, 1920. The United States-scorned League of Nations held its first meeting in Geneva on Nov. 15, 1920. In Pueblo, state militia left the Minnequa Steel works on Jan. 22, 1920, after a month there, spent stopping violence between labor and management. Daylight-saving time was hotly debated. Most Puebloans voted against it in a Chieftain poll. In the spring 1920, Irving Place schoolboy Teddy Kuykendall, 8, was stomped to death by other kids in the school. A coroner's inquest was held, and the school principal was told to keep better tabs on what his students were doing. They Made a Difference - Hartley O. Baker - Dr. Hartley O. Baker was a successful Denver surgeon who moved to Pueblo in 1917. He worked here to manufacture a steam automobile. He had used steamers in making his rounds as a doctor up north, and was aware of the inefficient steam generators and boilers of the day. His work was widely praised as the best to date. He developed the Baker Steamer, but his company disappeared about 1921. Josephine Pryor - Josephine Pryor was the chief Pueblo telephone operator when the 1921 flood hit Pueblo. She and other operators remained in the office doing the best they could to keep communications open. The Mountain State Telephone and Telegraph office was located on D Street between Union and Victoria, and she and her staff helped save records as the building was deluged with water. They remained at their posts so long that they could not leave and had to remain in the building until the water receded.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-22-1999 Our Past Century, 1922 - 1923 - Rebuilding a Bigger, Better Pueblo - While much of Europe was still recovering from World War I in 1922 and '23, Puebloans were too busy rebuilding damage wrought by the 1921 flood to ponder whether increasing tensions between France, Belgium and Germany could possibly lead to another war. While riots over the occupation of Germany made international news, most of the front page of the Jan. 1, 1922, edition of the Pueblo Star-Journal was dominated by a huge line drawing of a barefoot man, shovel in hand, riding a dragon. "Pueblo Rode The Water Monster Successfully," the main headline read. Smaller headlines on both sides of the illustration bragged that the city was home to "the most modern packing plant west of the Mo. River" and the largest steel plant west of Chicago. Streetcars traveled on more than 40 miles of rail and a new courthouse costing $600,000 was finally complete. "Pueblo, with typical red-blooded Americanism, submitted to its mud bath when dame nature administered the deluge, will, like self-made men who become presidents, now become the most famed city in the entire Rocky Mountain region," predicted an editorial in the same issue. A front-page story the next day informed Puebloans that the Pueblo Conservancy District had been formed and charged with developing an engineering plan aimed at preventing another disaster along the Arkansas River or Fountain Creek flood plains. Pueblo Judge Park ruled on July 31, 1923, that the group's plan be adopted. It included issuing $4.6 million in 5 percent bonds to pay for levee construction along the Arkansas through Pueblo. Aside from the death and destruction it left behind, the flood also spurred progress and a community spirit that was lauded nationwide by the national director of the American Red Cross and prominent lawmakers. Frank Pryor, whose Downtown furniture store already had survived floods in 1893 and 1894, told a Star-Journal reporter: "Experiences like the last flood are the things that never break a business or a town but are really things that make them... Pueblo has been given a unity of spirit and purpose which will offset by far the financial loss we have suffered - Dayton has been a better Dayton after its flood. San Francisco a better San Francisco after its fire. And, without doubt, Pueblo is going to be a better, bigger Pueblo after its flood." It may have been the flood that spurred many Puebloans to buy their first cars. None of the many livery stables along Union Avenue was replaced after they were washed away, and the city began spending more money on new pavement than new rail for streetcars. In turn, new car dealerships, gas stations and tire and repair stores began opening throughout town. A decade earlier, auto advertisements were rare in either Pueblo newspaper, but the '20s brought fierce competition between car dealers and new sources of revenue and competition to the rival newspapers, the morning Chieftain and afternoon Star-Journal. By fall 1923, Pueblo was home to Colorado Motor Co., selling Marmons at $3,500 to $6,000. A pharmacist and two doctors were the first to buy the luxury touring cars, and doctors in neighboring communities were putting in orders faster than they could be filled. A Durant or Star, made by Dodge, could be had for $1,020 at the Walker Motor Co. Down a block or so along Santa Fe, Garrett Motor Co. was selling Studebakers for $1,275. Gilman Motors offered the cheapest car, an Oakland 6, for $995, but R.E. Ortner at O. and O. Garage offered a one-year guarantee on his Gardners. Brennan Motors, on Main Street, didn't advertise a price for an Oldsmobile, which apparently already was a well-known brand by then. Owners of station wagons and "suburbans" were thrilled that year when Congress declared they were passenger vehicles, not trucks, and therefore could be licensed at a much lower rate. Puebloans who had money for cars also had cash for illegal spirits. Front-page headlines nearly every day carried news of President Warren Harding's efforts to strengthen Prohibition laws, including bans on liquor aboard foreign ships in American waters. That ban created friction with European countries, especially Germany and Britain. A June 23, 1922, edition carried this front-page headline: "No Limit on Booze Prescriptions Proposal Before Medical Society In San Francisco." Seems the society wanted no controls on doctor's right to prescribe "alcoholic stimulants as medicine." It was a contradiction in terms that was common at the time. Inside pages carried just as many stories about local authorities trying to keep a lid on underground hooch operations. Detectives that same summer arrested Ignatz Scupino of 416 Park in the Grove neighborhood for possession of liquor in his home. Scupino tried to talk his way out of the scrape by ratting on his next-door neighbor. John Teselic was arrested after the cops found 300 gallons of wine and 400 bottles of beer at his home. Puebloans got more worked up about Harding's stance on temperance than they did when he passed through town on June 24. A story the next day said only a few local dignitaries and railroad officials were at the Union Depot when his train pulled in around sunrise and sat for nine minutes on Pueblo tracks. "Absolute silence characterized the president's brief visit here," a news account said, because Harding slept the whole time. Later that day, three reporters covering his Colorado visit were killed when their car plunged off the highway in Bear Creek Canyon north of Denver. Harding died later that summer and Calvin Coolidge became the country's leader. That news was accompanied by headlines about race riots in Florida, and the spread of the Ku Klux Klan in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Adolf Hitler's swastika was just being introduced in Germany about the time the Klan started trying to recruit new members in Pueblo, in the fall of 1923. A three-quarter page ad in the Sept. 30, 1923, edition contained some of the organization's bylaws and philosophies. "We stand for white supremacy" and "we must keep this a white man's country" the ad said, explaining also that Jews and Catholics were no more welcome than blacks or white politicians who would "sell their noble white birthright for a mess of black pottage" and black votes. Although it was successful in neighboring states, the Klan never caught on in Pueblo, where neighbors of many different ethnic backgrounds had learned to live and work together even if they didn't like each other. He Made The Difference - Frank S. Hoag Sr. - Pueblo Star-Journal Publisher Frank Stephen Hoag, born in Minerva, Ohio, in 1871, moved to Colorado Springs with his wife, Louise, in 1901. Doctors recommended Colorado's dry climate as a cure for her tuberculosis. Hoag sold ads for a time for the Colorado Springs Gazette before staking a similar post with the Star-Journal some time in 1903. He became general manager in 1904 under principal stockholder and general manager John Vail with the understanding that Hoag would be allowed to buy the newspaper as soon as he could raise the money. That happened in 1918, the same year Hoag was appointed by the governor as manager of the state board of corrections. In that post, he was a strong voice for winning state funding for the Colorado State Hospital and prison projects in Southern Colorado. In 1922, he and others convinced the state to expand the hospital (then called an insane asylum) to include "farms" where patients and inmates could work, raising revenue for the hospital and offsetting costs to the state. Hoag bought The Pueblo Chieftain in 1933 from former U.S. Sen. Alva B. Adams.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-29-1999 Our Past Century, 1924 - 1925 - Pueblo Roared Right Along with Roaring Twenties - By summer 1925, the Arkansas River's rechanneling and levee construction was far enough along to ease Pueblo's flood worries. The worst summer drought in a quarter-century also helped. The dry spell hit the summer of 1924 and prompted forester A.G. Hamel to take action never before considered in the Pueblo area: a ban on open fires. "This is the first time such a drastic measure has ever gone into effect on the San Isabel forest reserve," The Pueblo Chieftain reported on Aug. 3. Area cities were also firecracker-hot as the 1920s roared. News pages of the day were dominated by Prohibition battles, protests against prostitution and the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan movement in the state. In Walsenburg, the city's police chief and a state liquor agent were killed execution-style by a bootlegger who later killed himself. In Pueblo, a citizens' group threatened recall, charging city leaders with concentrating too much on prohibition and not enough on stopping prostitution. Meanwhile, Pueblo's love affair with the automobile resulted in a growing rash of serious car wrecks, many involving wealthier Puebloans. In response, Pueblo Police Chief J. Arthur Grady found no opposition to a new ordinance requiring battery-operated brake lights and arm turn signals: "All motorists turning to the right must project an arm at an upward angle from the left side of the vehicle" and so forth, the ordinance stated. It was also a deadly time. In July 1924 alone, three Puebloans drowned and other deaths were reported from a motorcycle crash, poisoning, a railyard accident and scalding. Polio and other widespread disease also were an ever-present peril. Pueblo schools endured a major measles scare in 1924. Better news came in 1925: Local leaders hailed the advent of school vaccinations for diphtheria. Meanwhile, "appalling reverses by the god of love" occurred in 1925, The Chieftain reported. Local marriages dropped by 16 percent and divorces rose to a record rate of 1 divorce for every 4 marriages. (At the time the U.S. average was 1 divorce for every 11 marriages, the newspaper said.) Helping fan the flames of the social unrest - and early signs of road rage - was continued growth within the state's second-largest city. According to the U.S. Census, Pueblo's population in the mid-1920s neared 50,000 people and was growing at a healthy rate of 1.6 percent per year. The rural areas of the county were home to more than 10,000 other residents. The Arkansas River levee project itself provided about 1,000 new jobs, injecting millions of dollars into a community already primed to buy cars and other luxuries. The rechanneling was completed in May 1925 and the levee finished in 1926. The post-flood boom led to the 1925 opening of the private Pueblo College of Business and Technology, which remained in operation until late 1996. Also in 1925, the city christened the Colorado Building on Main Street, which housed the power company and a theater. A "test" airmail flight from Pueblo to Cheyenne took place in June 1925. Relaxation from the hustle and bustle often meant a trip to the neighborhood lunch counter and, in 1925, one of the most famous of all was born. Gus' Tavern was opened at 1201 Elm by the Masciotra family, who lived in an adjacent house. Its cold-cut Dutch lunches remain popular today. Puebloans also enjoyed sports. Two of the city's best-known athletes, boxer Joe "Awful" Coffee and football star Earl "Dutch" Clark, graduated from Central High School in the mid-1920s. Coffee, a Russian Jew, also gained notoriety as a critic of the Klan movement, which in Colorado peaked with Clarence Morley's election as governor in 1924. Pueblo re-emerged on the world stage with the Feb. 3, 1924, death of former President Woodrow Wilson, whose last major speech came in Pueblo in 1919. Newspapers recounted the story of how Wilson became weak during his Pueblo speech and, later, stopped his train for a walk in the Baxter area. In many respects Pueblo's frenzy mirrored the country as a whole. Business was booming as symbolized by two extremes: Ford Motor Co. making its 10 millionth car in 1924 and bootlegger Al Capone's gang wars in Chicago in 1925. Social issues also were whirling. In 1925, Tennessee outlawed the teaching of evolution, leading to the Scopes trial; the Klan marched on Washington D.C.; and Wyoming elected the nation's first woman governor. The period also gave rise to so-called "flappers," a nickname for young women who defied convention by their dress and by such behavior as drinking and smoking in public. A major tragedy struck southern Illinois and Missouri when a series of tornadoes hit in March 1925, killing more than 800 and injuring about 3,000 people. They Made a Difference - Earl `Dutch' Clark - In the fall of 1925, before becoming Pueblo's most-famous athlete, Earl "Dutch" Clark was focused simply on winning a state football championship his senior year at Central High. Disappointingly, the team lost in the semifinals. Clark, a four-sports star (including high school All-American in basketball), went on become an All-American quarterback at Colorado College and a Hall of Fame player and coach for the Detroit Lions. The late sportswriting great Grantland Rice once called Clark the equal of Jim Thorpe or "as close to Thorpe as one could hope to get." In 1976, Clark and his wife moved away from Michigan to a newly built home in Canon City. Two years later, on Aug. 5, 1978, Clark died of cancer at age 71. Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo is named in his honor. Joe `Awful' Coffee - Boxing great Joe "Awful" Coffee was a fighter inside and outside the ring. In the ring, the 5-foot-1, 120-pounder compiled a 95-10 lifetime record in a career that began before he graduated from Central High School in 1925. Outside the ring, he battled the Ku Klux Klan, which opposed immigrants. Coffee, a Russian Jew, changed his last name while in high school because announcers struggled to pronounce Rutkofsky. He helped organize an anti-Klan newspaper, tracing license plates at Klan meetings to expose members. Following his boxing career, Coffee opened the famous Joe "Awful" Coffee's Ringside Lounge on lower 17th Street in Downtown Denver. Coffee died March 7, 1994, in Denver.
Pueblo Chieftain 4-5-1999 Our Past Century, 1926 -1927 - Pueblo in its Prime - Pueblo continued to roar in the mid-1920s. From airmail service to the construction of the country club clubhouse, a new junior high school and the paving of more roads, Pueblo was growing and prospering. A highlight of 1926 was the addition of Pueblo's airfield as one of three Colorado stops along the Pueblo-Cheyenne airmail route. After several "test flights" in mid-1925, Pueblo officially added airmail service on May 31, 1926. The event was cause for huge celebration as welcoming festivities included a parade, a band concert, speeches by several air service officers and even a stunt-flying exhibition. The Pueblo Chieftain noted on June 1, 1926, that the first piece of airmail delivered to Pueblo was a congratulatory message from the New York Times to The Chieftain. The airmail service was expanded in 1927 to include Sunday and holiday service. The spring 1926 also saw the completion of the Pueblo Country Club's new $75,000 clubhouse and nine-hole grass golf course. The clubhouse, designed by local architect Harvey Dakin, was considered to be one of the "most magnificent in the West." It opened to 300 members. Later that year, tennis courts were added to the club. The country club was among several new buildings constructed around the city. Pueblo set a record for new construction in 1926 with 1,051 new building permits issued during the year. Among the notable buildings constructed in 1926 were Central Junior High School, a Knights of Columbus home and a new building for the Hudson and Essex car dealership, which featured a fireproof showroom. In 1927, construction was completed on the new administration building for the 120th Observation Squadron at the Pueblo Airport. That same year, construction began on $1 million in improvements to the open hearth at CF&I Steel. The enhancements doubled the capacity of the operation. All the new construction helped Pueblo to become one of the prime spots for conventions and conferences. In 1927, Pueblo hosted numerous conferences, ranging from Colorado Baptists and Nazarenes to the state's ice cream manufacturers. One of the biggest conferences was a meeting of the Southern Division of Colorado Education Association, which drew nearly 2,000 educators from throughout the state. On the health front, the death rate in Pueblo County decreased dramatically in 1926. Health department officials attributed the drop to vaccinations such as smallpox and diphtheria, as well as the fact that Pueblo was considered a sanitary place to live. Despite those strides, the city struggled with bouts of scarlet fever. Automobiles continued to be one of the hot commodities of the era with new, improved models coming out frequently. Conventions were held throughout the country to discuss the booming automotive industry from sales and service to models and safety concerns. Locally, the increased automobile traffic continued to prompt changes in the streets and roadways. Traffic buttons were placed on 50 "bad corners" in Pueblo. The buttons were metal devices that protruded about six inches from the pavement. When one was placed in the middle of an intersection, the traffic would be required to keep to the right of the buttons. Traffic signal lights also were installed at some intersections to accommodate increased traffic. On the national scene, a British coal strike left 5 million workers out of their jobs in May 1926. The strike lasted only a few days but its effect made headlines for months. Breaking the record for swimming the English Channel became almost a monthly occurrence in the summer 1926. On Aug. 6, the first woman to swim the channel, Gertrude Ederle, completed the feat in 14 hours and 31 minutes. In another record-breaking adventure, Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd, a Navy aviator, was the first to fly over the North Pole. He made the historic flight on May 9, 1926 in 15 hours and 30 minutes. Some other interesting stories of the time: Pueblo police went back to wearing blue uniforms after wearing khakis for more than eight years. The police also brought back billy clubs as part of their equipment. The city began offering engraved birth certificates to anyone who applied for them. The birth certificates were needed for children to enter school. Central High School students Joe and John Tekavec built a midget automobile using a 1913 Indian motorcycle engine block, cylinder and wheels. In 1927, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig battled for the home run crown. Ruth topped his teammate for the title with 60. Gehrig finished with 47. Eighteen-year-old Sam Thomas Jr., son of the county sheriff, drowned while bathing in the Bessemer ditch. By the end of 1926, Pueblo boasted 181 factories and had 10,496 people employed. They Made a Difference - J Arthur Grady - J. Arthur Grady was the longest serving chief of police in Pueblo, working from 1922 to 1952. Grady served during the rough years of Prohibition and his department saw more than its share of bootlegging illegal alcohol. Grady also was chief when automobiles began hitting the streets of Pueblo. As a result, his department was faced with growing traffic problems including more serious accidents. One of Pueblo's most notable criminals, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, was arrested in 1929 - also during Grady's tenure. Floyd, who had come to Pueblo because of prostitution, was arrested for vagrancy and fined $50 and sentenced to 60 days in jail. But after serving only one week, Floyd was taken to the city limits and told to never to return to Pueblo. During the mid-1920s, Grady was credited with creating a very efficient police department. James H. Risley - James H. Risley was superintendent of Pueblo School District No. 1 from 1921 to 1946. He came to Pueblo from Owensboro, Ky., where he had been superintendent since 1911. When Risley arrived in Pueblo, he was faced with a city that was trying to regroup after the devastating flood. Several schools had sustained heavy damage from the flood. His tenure also was marked by rapid population growth, and plans were initiated for building new schools to alleviate the growth Downtown and on the East Side. In 1922, voters approved a bond issue allowing the district to complete many of those projects. In 1926, the first junior high school was built on the South Side and another was built on the East Side. The East Side school later was named for Risley. Toward the latter part of his tenure, Risley was involved in the consolidation of District 1 and District 20 to form the current District 60. He retired in 1946, the year the consolidation took place, but was designated as superintendent emeritus and continued to do work for the new district.
Pueblo Chieftain 4-12-1999 Our Past Century, 1928 - 1929 - Black Thursday Sends Glory Years Crashing Down - Incredible inventions, technological breakthroughs and prosperity's spoils marked the final years of the 1920s. Then came Black Thursday. On Oct. 24, 1929, the country's financial foundation caved in as panicking investors sent Wall Street tumbling in a thunderous crash. The afternoon story in the Pueblo Star-Journal failed to capture the impact of the day's stock market catastrophe. The newspaper's story noted the "crushing blow to the leading stock markets" had been "checked only by prompt reassurances from America's leading bankers." Headlines for the next three weeks trumpeted more record plunges, major banker buys and rallies, some inspired by John D. Rockefeller's support of the market. By Nov. 19 there was no mention of the turmoil. Instead, the year closed out with headlines about Ford Motor Co. giving employees $20 million in raises, and with Pueblo on the threshold of a $2 million building program and a record production year for Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. Apparently, the undoing of Wall Street wouldn't be felt or recognized for some time. But the subsequent Depression would take years to overcome. The financial disaster would mold the generation that would sustain the nation through its most terrible threat: World War II. Before economic doom struck, there had been a lot of sparkle on the horizon. There was the bewitching mystery of the first color television broadcast. The discovery of penicillin foretold a time when man would win the battle over illness. And there was entertainment galore: "talking pictures," classics like Laurel and Hardy and Rin Tin Tin, the wit of Will Rogers and touring musicals like "Showboat." To toast Tinseltown, the first Academy Awards were presented. Smoking was in vogue. National ads touted cigarettes as a way to a trim figure. Johnny Farrell, the 1928 National Open golf champion, was a Lucky Strike spokesman, advising readers to: "Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet." Lucky manufacturers claimed "toasting" their product made it healthier than other cigarettes. The ad continued, "That's why 20,679 physicians are on record that Lucky Strike is less irritating than other cigarettes. That's why prominent athletes have testified that Luckies steady their nerves and do not impair their physical condition." Promoting the health benefits of cigarettes was in stark contrast to the attitudes toward alcohol, here and elsewhere. On Feb. 14, 1929, seven Chicago gangsters were slain by a firing squad of rivals, some wearing police uniforms, in what would be remembered as the Valentine's Day Massacre. Two months later, known members of Trinidad bootleg gangs were questioned in connection with the killing of Ralph Solano and his wife. "The couple was taken 'for a ride' early yesterday, shot and their bullet-torn bodies thrown on the highway three miles east of here (Trinidad)," the Pueblo Star Journal reported. In June, a national news service story noted the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old Detroit "liquor runner," who was killed by border agents as he tried to cross the Detroit River from Canada. Pueblo's national reputation took an unsavory turn. A U.S. Treasury Department chief told reporters that local organized crime would "be woven into the biggest case the federal government has investigated since the enactment of the Prohibition law." Aside from Prohibition violations, the spokesman said local Labor Day raids uncovered at "least 10 different violations of the federal penal code, including bribery, graft, perjury, impersonation of officers and conspiracies." An arrest of seemingly little importance occurred May 9, 1929, when local police arrested Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd and four companions in a raid on a Union Avenue rooming house. Police were looking for a highway robber. Floyd was let go after serving a brief jail term for vagrancy. Four years later - June 22, 1933 - the FBI sought Floyd in connection with the murder of three law officers in the infamous Kansas City Massacre. The only photograph available of him was the one taken at Pueblo's jail. In late 1934, Floyd was gunned down in an Ohio cornfield by a team of federal agents. Still, Puebloans also enjoyed the fruits of cultural, social and economic achievement. The Pueblo Symphony Orchestra and KGHF radio station started up in 1928. The next year, the Hotel Whitman was built and the Pueblo Day Care Center opened - the newest of several agencies reflecting Pueblo's social conscience. Another was a tuberculosis clinic which provided tuberculosis patients with home nursing visits and instruction for people who cared for patients. Puebloans also were gushing at the gurgle of black gold discovered in southeastern Pueblo County. The newly discovered well of Rosella Oil Co. prompted speculators to sink their hopes for wealth and the cash they had into the testing of wells nearby. David Packard was a Centennial High School junior in the fall of '29. Eventually, his name would be part of the industrial giant Hewlett-Packard, but in 1929, Packard's 6-foot-5-inch frame and athletic ability were earning him letters in basketball, football and track. Walter T. Mathis, president of the Colorado Motor Car Co., reflected on his 20 years in business and the current hectic building and business activity, and said the future never looked brighter. Thriving commerce meant there was plenty to be sold and purchased. Newspaper ads touted offers of credit, weekend grocery sales and other frequent markdowns. The Crews-Beggs Dry Goods was a major local retailer. A new upright Eureka vacuum sweeper cost $39.50, with $2 down. In the grocery aisles, two pounds of Gun Powder Tea cost 45 cents. "Two cans tall" of pink salmon cost 35-cents; and a four-pound bag of raisins went for 31-cents. Elsewhere in Pueblo, a Studebaker Commander cost $1,375 at the Van Dyke Motor Co. You could dress in style at Day Jones, which offered "new spring dresses" at $16.75 each and women's oxfords for as little as $2.65. Men could dress up, too, at "Spiro's - The Man's Store." The highest prices at its January clearance sale of topcoats and suit were in the range of $27.60. They Made a Difference - Nettie Freed - Nettie Schwer Freed began her teaching career in Fruita and later taught German and social studies at Centennial High School. In March 1931, she was appointed Pueblo County superintendent of schools, and then elected to that office in 1932, 1934, and 1936. In 1947 and 1949, she was elected state superintendent of public instruction and later Colorado's first commissioner of education. Freed Middle School is named in her honor. Charles Goodnight - In December 1929, a bout of influenza took Pueblo pioneer Charles Goodnight, who then was living in Tucson, Ariz. He was 93. Goodnight had been long gone from Pueblo, but still is remembered today for acquiring part of the Nolan Mexican Land Grant in 1869 for his Rock Canon Ranch 5 miles west of South Pueblo on the Arkansas River. Three years earlier, he and his partner, Oliver Loving, established the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail that ran from the Pecos River through Trinidad, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver, to Cheyenne, Wyo. In 1878, he and others organized the Stockgrowers National Bank in a building that still stands on the corner of Third Street and Santa Fe Avenue. He also was known as the father of the Texas Panhandle.
Pueblo Chieftain 4-19-1999 Our Past Century, 1930 - 1931 - Puebloans Sail Into 1930s - While the Great Depression and a drought in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys pushed the nation's unemployment to 4 million, Puebloans enjoyed relative prosperity in comparison to other Americans at the beginning of the 1930s. Life in Pueblo County was so bountiful in 1930, in fact, that Puebloans spent more money buying cars and gasoline than meat and potatoes. They spent $6.5 million on fuel and maintenance work on their automobiles compared to $6 million for groceries. The Pueblo Chieftain reported the city's 706 retail businesses employed 2,474 people and an annual payroll of $3,186,576 - an average of $1,288 for a full-time worker. The U.S. Census reported Pueblo's population to be 50,102 and total retail business revenues in excess of $27.7 million. Business was solid and plentiful. There were 16 car dealerships, 47 gas stations, 101 grocery stores with fresh meats and 14 independent meat markets, 25 cigar stores and stands, and 64 eating places. Pueblo also was flexing its industrial muscle. In 1930, 180 manufacturers paid a monthly payroll of more than $2.4 million to almost 15,000 workers. Headlines claimed that Pueblo employed an amazing 17.5 percent of Colorado's wage earners and 19 percent of all wages paid in the state. The industrial growth was buoyed by a $14 million railroad expansion that added 380 miles of track to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads, connecting Pueblo to Amarillo, Texas, and the Mexican Gulf. Nationwide, the extended drought of 1930 cut corn output by 690 million bushels. But in Pueblo County, farmers were boasting a record crop. The combined value for all crops produced in the county reached a record $1 million - an average of $30 an acre. The following winter, farmers in the Canon City area who found themselves stuck with large quantities of surplus grains and facing high coal costs, economized by burning their stock of corn and wheat. In a letter, a Kansas coal distributor explained to his supplier why he had purchased 1,000 fewer carloads of coal than the previous winter. "I'm sorry I haven't been able to order more of your fine coal this year but people in our district have quit using coal for the time being," the dealer wrote. He went on to say that the price of wheat and corn was so low and the price of coal so high, due to freight rates, that nearly all of the farmers had taken to burning their surplus grain to heat their homes and cook meals. Not all Puebloans were insulated against the Depression and a relief station was opened in the Bessemer Municipal Building to assist them. In order to receive the daily rations of milk and bread, a family had to be recommended by a reputable grocer. The following spring, tragedy struck a busload of children from Towner, a small town near Lamar, when they were trapped for 33 hours in a blizzard. The bus driver and five children died before rescuers reached the remaining 15 children, who were hospitalized with severe frostbite. A federal grand jury investigation into Pueblo and Denver organized crime figures purported to be involved in liquor violations under Prohibition laws, triggered a series of violent homicides in both cities. In December 1930, indictments were handed up on 176 suspects. Of those, 102 were charged with liquor violations - 21 were from Pueblo and 40 were Denver residents. A list of witnesses who testified before the grand jury appeared in local newspapers. In early 1931, one of the federal witnesses, Leo Madison of Pueblo, was the victim of a dynamite bomb that hurled Madison through the roof of his car. He died a short time later. A second couple who were witnesses, Frank and Margaret Arrigo, were seriously wounded when a car pulled up next to their vehicle and unloaded several shotgun blasts at the couple. They survived the attack and Arrigo later claimed one of the attackers was a former Pueblo police officer who had been indicted by the grand jury. Investigators discounted Arrigo's account by theorizing he was seeking revenge against the former cop because he once arrested Arrigo on liquor violations. At the trial in federal court in Denver, three indicted police officers and two former lawmen were found innocent and set free by year's end. Pueblo and Denver continued to be rocked by spectacular gangster assassinations. Most of the murders remained unsolved. Victims of the gang warfare included a federal agent, reputed mob figures and local bootleggers. The Colorado State Fair set a one-day attendance record of 27,000 admissions at the 1931 Fair. That year, the livestock sale shattered records by doubling the previous high mark for the sale. The newly completed grandstand was one of the Fair's main attractions. Two new schools, Carlile and Bessemer, were built in 1931, thanks to a $250,000 bond issue approved by voters. An inner-city rivalry reached new proportions that year when the Central Wildcats earned the state championship in basketball by defeating Centennial 29-28. The year ended with the Chieftain's banner headline boasting, "Insurance headquarters brought to Pueblo." The Mutual Life Insurance Co. selected the city for its district headquarters and intended to add 15 new employees and lease huge office space in Downtown Pueblo. While names such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Gandhi dominated international headlines, some eyes turned to new frontiers. Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered a new planet and called it Pluto. A New York scientist predicted it would be 2050 before man would walk on the moon and Neil Armstrong was 1 year old. They Made a Difference - J. Charles Schnorr - J. Charles Schnorr was a Pueblo artist of international renown. His historical murals still can be seen in the Pueblo County Courthouse and the Colorado Building. Schnorr's fine murals also adorn the Capitol hotel in Amarillo, Texas, and the Hippodrome in New York. Schnorr was known for inventing the "Tiffany style" of painting, which carried his fame abroad and made him well-known in European circles. Bruce Litton - Bruce Litton was a star of the Central High School basketball team that won a state championship in 1931. The Wildcats captured the coveted state title by defeating cross-town rival Centennial High School 29-28 in the all-Pueblo championship game. He led his team in scoring with 12 points and scored the Wildcats' winning field goal.
Pueblo Chieftain 4-26-1999 Our Past Century, 1932 - 1933 - Nation Begins Economic Recovery - Pueblo entered 1932 with "hope, confidence and resolution." While national unemployment was estimated at 8.2 million, the Pueblo Star-Journal on Jan. 1 editorialized: "Hope begets confidence and confidence breeds resolution, and the will to do, to work, is half the battle." Sounding a more sober note was one of seven writers invited to comment on the nation's state of affairs. This economist said his "very pessimistic predictions for 1930 and 1931 were entirely too optimistic. It has become more and more certain that the present business depression is far greater than was any other in modern times. "A worldwide revolution," he called it, "such as occurs only once in hundreds of years." Perhaps seeking to counter such negativity on the first day of the year and to reassure nervous readers, both the Pueblo Retail Credit Association and the First National Bank bought full-page ads. "There's a new day dawning," proclaimed the first. "A new sunrise and new opportunities ahead." The bank filled its huge ad with only its name and four other lines of type: $500,000 capital; $1.1 million surplus; $15 million deposits; 3 percent interest paid on savings accounts. Elsewhere in that edition, it was noted that Pueblo businesses were "off" 25-30 percent from the previous year, but the decline in building activity was not quite 16 percent. Pueblo had grown to 50,100 people by 1932, according to the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, and its assessed valuation was approximately $40 million. It had five banks and a trust company, 181 industrial concerns, 71 churches, 29 schools and was served by five railroads. While the City Council pared its budget, appropriating $50,000 less than the previous year and pledging "a program of strict economy," and while "National Thrift Week" was observed in town, Puebloans still felt secure enough to build two new schools: Bessemer and Carlile. Improvements were made to Columbian and Central Grade, but Wildeboor School was abandoned "in the interests of economy." In July 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the Democratic nomination for president and pledged relief for unemployment, saying he favored the use of public works projects. He said local governments had the primary responsibility for the welfare of their citizens but the federal government should help. He promised a "new deal" for the American people. President Herbert Hoover signed the Relief and Reconstruction Act that month and Congress passed the Federal Home Loan Act. In Pueblo, new construction valued at $365,000 buoyed some residents' spirits. Work was started on five public buildings and three road improvement projects. A Fourth of July inmates' parade at the state hospital featured "operations at depression prices" and "doctors" with hacksaws, knives and stethoscopes. Roosevelt's landslide victory in November 1932 was followed by Adolf Hitler's ascent to the German chancellorship in January 1933. The Pueblo Chieftain noted Hitler's new position but made no editorial comment. In the weeks to follow he was called "picturesque" and "fiery." In 1933, work was scheduled to begin on the Twin Lakes water diversion tunnel, which would bring water for irrigation from the Roaring Fork River to the Arkansas Valley. Approximately 300 men were to be employed on the $1 million project funded by the Reconstruction Finance Corp. Nine-hundred men were back to work at the CF&I early that year after not working for six months to a year, and by midyear, The Chieftain stated that business was on the "uptrend" based on retail auto sales. A small group of civic-minded businessmen established Pueblo Junior College in 1933, and the first classes were taught on the top floor of the courthouse. Construction at the Orman Avenue site began a few years later. In March of that year, Congress passed the Reforestation Relief Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); in June, Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act; and, in September, he unveiled a program to feed and clothe the needy and pledged millions of dollars to the effort. Pueblo boys were among those in residence at the South Hardscrabble CCC camp in June 1933 when it was rated the best in the state. That summer, Arkansas Valley and San Luis Valley farmers crossed their fingers in hopes that midseason predictors of a good harvest would prove true. The beet, potato, melon and lettuce crops all were better than they'd been for several years. While Pueblo and the country struggled forward, Hitler's deadly influence began to drag Europe downward. The year 1933 saw the first Nazi concentration camp built at an old powder factory near Dachau, Hitler's government publicly aligning itself with the boycott of Jewish merchants, Nazis banning and burning books - all forerunners of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of "perfecting the Aryan race." A demon of another sort - "Demon Rum" - held sway once again when Prohibition was repealed with passage of the 21st Amendment in December 1933. They Made a Difference - Walter DeMordaunt - Born in Butte, Mont., in 1894, Walter DeMordaunt came to Pueblo in 1921 and joined the firm of architect William Stickney. When Stickney retired, DeMordaunt continued the business, designing many area buildings. Forty buildings at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo were designed by DeMordaunt, as were the Hotel Whitman, the YWCA, the Star-Journal Model Home at 2920 High, McClelland Orphanage, the Chaffee County Courthouse at Salida, Lincoln School in La Junta, the main post office and Maxwell Hospital in Lamar, and a women's dormitory at the University of Colorado at Boulder. DeMordaunt also designed the first building at Pueblo Junior College (now Pueblo Community College), which was built in the mid-1930s. He was a member of Ascension Episcopal Church, Pueblo Elks Lodge 90 and Pueblo Rotary Club. He died in 1962. Ray Talbot - Ray Talbot was born in 1896 in Chicago, and his family moved to Pueblo the following year. He attended public schools here and worked for Southern Colorado Power Co. before becoming a public servant. Talbot served in the Colorado Legislature in the 1920s and 1930s, and was elected lieutenant governor in 1936 and completed the term of Gov. Edward Johnson. At home, Talbot served as city commissioner for parks and highways, which included the engineering, power and water departments, and after his resignation in 1948 was appointed postmaster. Talbot was an advocate of work relief during the Depression, and under his direction Pueblo participated in both federally and locally sponsored projects. Among them are Runyon Field, barns, walls and grandstand at the Colorado State Fair and local school buildings. Talbot died in 1955.
Pueblo Chieftain 5-3-1999 Our Past Century, 1934 - 1935 - Dust Bowl Adds Misery to Depression - President Franklin Roosevelt beamed smiles of confidence at the American public in 1934, but his grin could not penetrate the dense clouds of dirt that swept across the nation that spring, adding dust storms to the misery of the Depression. FDR began his second year in office by throwing dollars at the nation's unemployment through the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and other federal programs. Still, the economic slump refused to budge. Pueblo city employees took a 15 percent pay cut in 1933 and faced another cut in '34. Roughly 1,500 men were employed by federal CWA projects around Pueblo County, but that was only half of those who had filed for federal "relief." CWA projects ranged from working on U.S. 50 and the Beulah highway to moving the Mineral Palace zoo out to City Park. There were glimmers of good news, though. Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. was still in receivership, but in January it called 600 men back to work. U.S. Rep. John Martin, D-Pueblo, led a Western-state coalition to persuade FDR to "remonetize" silver, meaning silver as well as gold could be used to back the U.S. currency. That meant jobs for Colorado miners. Locally, Dr. John Farley headed a countywide campaign to immunize 4,000 children against smallpox, typhoid and other diseases. The program was hailed as a national model. At the Colorado State Penitentiary, an 18-year-old convicted murderer, Walter Reppin, told reporters he was terrified about being the first man executed in the new "gas chamber." Warden Roy Best, who routinely had unruly prisoners whipped, said he'd tested the gas chamber on animals and declared it more humane than hanging. Reppin had confessed to shooting a Colorado Springs taxi driver to death but he didn't want to be Best's "experiment." Overjoyed when the Colorado Supreme Court awarded him a new trial a week before his execution, Reppin declared with relief, "I've turned a corner, boys." He was right, too, receiving a life sentence instead. Crime was big news in 1934. Readers of The Pueblo Chieftain could follow the exploits of bank robber John Dillinger on a daily basis as he shot his way out of one police ambush after another until FBI agents gunned him down outside a Chicago movie theater on July 23. Pueblo had its own local crime as well. Fighting between two rival gangs over illegal gambling led to the dynamiting of a Bessemer pool hall, at 307 W. Northern, on July 6. Four were injured. It would startle readers today to see how commonplace kidnapping was in 1934. Wealthy men or their children were snatched for ransoms every other week. It was a national event when New Jersey authorities arrested a German veteran of World War I - Bruno Hauptmann - on Sept. 21 for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's toddler son two years earlier. The worst news came in May, however, when the dry spring was followed by terrible dust storms from the Midwest. Dirt clouds brought a halt to Downtown traffic in Pueblo and coated the crops in the field under a blanket of dirt. Right behind the dust came masses of buzzing, ravenous grasshoppers in a plague that had Pueblo County farmers spreading poison on their fields or setting fire to crops in an effort to destroy the insects. The Chieftain noted that area stores were selling gasoline on credit to farmers to help them truck poison to the fields. But you could still have fun, even when broke or covered with dust. Hundreds of Pueblo youngsters turned out for the Fun Fest in Mineral Palace Park that July. Sponsored by The Chieftain and the city recreation department, kids competed in such glamorous events as tire rolling, roller skating and softball. Kids hauled along their dogs for the best-looking mutt competition. The drought and dust lit a fire under Southern Colorado officials, however, to start pushing Congress for a dam project on the Arkansas River (what would become the John Martin Dam in 1948). More than 1,600 officials gathered in Pueblo that August to mobilize support for what was then called the Caddoa Dam project. Some things never change, however, and there was a growing "Legion of Decency" movement in Pueblo and elsewhere to protest the lack of morality in Hollywood movies. That fall, Gov. Ed Johnson faced a novelty of sorts - a Democratic primary challenge from Josephine Roche, owner of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Co. and the first woman candidate for governor. Colorado Democrats, however, weren't ready to switch and Johnson easily won the primary as well as the general election. A new year, 1935, didn't bring much change, however. In April, the dirt storms came back with a vengeance. Storm after storm of choking dust blew across the state, closing highways and shutting schools and businesses. Railroad crews reported that western Kansas was a wasteland of dirt. People wore wet cloths over their faces so they could breath. One April day, residents from Lamar to Dodge City, Kan., reported visibility was less than 15 feet. The drought was so severe the Arkansas River literally stopped running on April 6, forcing city officials to issue an emergency no-watering order for nearly two weeks. Adding insult to injury, the drought was followed by a flash flood in the last week of May that turned Denver and Colorado Springs streets into rivers. The death toll reached 36, including an unfortunate Pueblo couple who were caught in their car in Colorado Springs on May 31. In the summer of 1935, Pueblo residents could buy pot roast for 12 cents a pound, eggs for 15 cents a dozen, two Hershey bars for 25 cents, a man's dress shirt for 95 cents and a used 1933 Chevrolet Coupe at Jackson Chevrolet for $570. If they had money, that is. The classified section of The Chieftain was laced with ads from housewifes saying they would "do work of any kind," particularly laundry or cleaning. There were federal Civilian Conservation Corps crews working on the Beulah Highway that summer, while CWA crews remodeled Edison, Lakeview and Minnequa schools. FDR established the Social Security Administration that August, keeping a campaign pledge to provide the public with some guarantee of unemployment insurance and retirement income in the future. As 1935 drew to a close, Pueblo was keeping its fingers crossed. The Chieftain noted that CF&I was getting more rail orders, that federal payrolls were increasing and there was a new construction project under way at the Colorado State Hospital. City officials reported the 1936 budget would be above $500,000 for the first time in several years - although city employees would still be receiving reduced wages. And one of the big plans for 1936 was a radical notion to build a sewage treatment plant so the city could stop dumping sewage into the Arkansas River. They Made a Difference - John A. Martin - A former railroad worker, newspaper editor and Pueblo city attorney, John A. Martin was first elected to Congress in 1909 from the 3rd District. He served two terms before returning to Pueblo. This photo was taken during World War I, when Martin organized the first Colorado volunteers for service. A Democrat, Martin was re-elected to Congress in 1933 and was a supporter of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs. He died in office at age 71 on Dec. 23, 1939. D.Z. Phillips - Daniel Z. Phillips was the owner of D.Z. Phillips Music Co., 627 N. Main, and the leader of the popular "Phillips Crusaders" boys bands throughout the 1930s in Pueblo. The Crusader bands, wearing their distinctive military uniforms, were a staple of Pueblo parades during that era and hundreds of local boys took part in the parades and concerts. Phillips was named an honorary colonel on the staff of Gov. Ed Johnson in 1934. Phillips attracted boys to the organization by pledging "to make a good boy better."
Pueblo Chieftain 5-10-1999 Our Past Century, 1936 - 1937 - Good Times Begin Returning - Prosperity was returning to Pueblo in 1936, as the Great Depression that had ruined lives - and brought about an American form of socialism - began to ebb. But by the end of 1937, signals were mixed, as the stock market sank and layoffs increased. The state of Colorado, beset by scandal, had a fiscal emergency of its own. But Pueblo construction tripled that year and farmers in the San Luis and Arkansas valleys had their best harvests since the late 1920s. Anyone who associates that period with the good old days, should check out the front pages of the Pueblo Star-Journal for those years. Murders, kidnappers, robberies and strikes were even more prominent then than they are now. Sensationalism and celebrity-mongering rivaled anything we have today. People were intensely interested in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and the subsequent execution of the convicted kidnapper, Bruno Richard Hauptmann; King Edward VIII's ascension to the British throne, abdication and marriage to an American divorcee; and the death of movie star Jean Harlow. What we don't have today is Hitler, Franco, Mussolini and Stalin, threatening not only European but world peace. We don't have massive violence against American labor unions by the corporations. We don't have Supreme Court nominees like Hugo Black, who admitted he had belonged to the Ku Klux Klan but was named to the high court anyway by the most liberal president in history, Franklin D. Roosevelt. For sports-minded Coloradans, 1936 had a great start, with the first professional football game in the state's history pitting an exhibition between the NFL champion Detroit Lions against an all-star team led by Don Hutson and George Sauer. The Lions, led by Pueblo's own Dutch Clark, won 33-0 in Denver on Jan. 1. A "complete cleanup" of the insane asylum - the Colorado State Hospital - was called for in January 1936. It wasn't with the patients in mind that the call was made, but for the treatment of the workers, who should be unionized, said a report to Gov. Ed Johnson. Later that month, the future Dame Judith Anderson brought a stage play to Pueblo, called "The Old Maid." Even though the Star-Journal hated FDR's New Deal, it was proud to announce that $500,000 in Work Projects Administration jobs were slated for the area in 1936. Pueblo had the second-highest banking surplus, per capita, in the nation, the Business Week magazine reported in February 1936. Slot machines were outlawed by City Council that month, which could only help banking surpluses. Quoting Deuteronomy, the Star-Journal ran a story predicting taxes "into the fourth generation" because of Roosevelt's social programs. On March 1, 1936, Crews-Beggs department store reported the best sales day since 1928. Later that month, the administrators of Pueblo County welfare were charged with "widespread chiseling," by the paper. Later, two of those administrators received three-to-five year prison terms and hefty fines. Dutch Clark was named manager of the Colorado State Fair in March. He lasted a little more than a year in the job but the crowds at the Fair loved him. In April 1936, CF&I's Minnequa plant reported the highest production in years. Also that month, it was reported that 2,027 Puebloans had taken driver's tests and not one had failed. Within weeks, the state OK'd a $26 million highway expansion bill. Coincidence? Gov. Johnson, who even when he became a U.S. senator in 1937 kept meddling in local affairs, sent the state's National Guard to the New Mexico border to keep out "indigent and alien workers." Later in the year he relented, but not before he was roundly criticized by FDR. The biggest problem in America was juvenile crime, the Star-Journal reported many times, and to prove the point, a 14-year-old Pueblo boy stole three cars, including a police cruiser, on May 4, 1936. Puebloans were paying $2.61 each annually in sales taxes, according to a state study in May 1936. Ads in the Star-Journal said that smoking Camels aided digestion and smoking Lucky Strikes helped throat irritation and that nasty cough. The paper had a story about four local surviving Civil War veterans on Memorial Day 1936. Police Chief J. Arthur Grady said that drunken drivers were as bad as murderers and issued a declaration of war against them in June 1936. One traffic fatality was recorded in 1936. Twenty were recorded in 1937. Softball was huge here. Six or seven games a night were slated at two city league parks, and detailed reports of the games and linescores were a daily event in the sports pages. In June 1936, a local hotel clerk caught an "international con-woman and World War spy," the paper gloated. By the middle of July, the paper reported that more than 3,570 people had died in a heat wave that covered the whole nation. Temperatures reached 120 degrees in the Midwest. In August, three women were murdered in their beds in Pueblo. Both convicted killers were executed within three years. Despite the Star-Journal's prediction of an Alf Landon victory, FDR somehow squeaked past the Kansan for the presidency, 523 to 8 in the electoral college. Even though prosperity seemed to increase in 1937, the state ran into large budgetary problems, mostly due to social spending. Closing the schools for a year was one suggestion tendered to help balance the budget. At a teachers' conference in Pueblo in the fall of that year, the president of the State Teacher's College at Greeley blamed teachers for society's ills, because they didn't teach "right living" in their classrooms. The news of 1937 was full of a scandal in state government, starting with allegations that a Denver lawyer and newspaper reporter bugged the office of Gov. Teller Ammons. It soon spread to a bribery scandal involving civil service and the Legislature, and there were allegations of widespread corruption in the General Assembly, where Ammons served before being elected governor. Even though there was another sizzling summer in 1937, enough rain fell to produce another record crop. A Bessemer School teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Fox Stefanich, was reinstated in her job by a district court judge, who ruled that she was unjustly dismissed because she got married. It was a good Christmas gift, she said. They Made a Difference - P.A. Gray - P.A. Gray was the secretary and manager of the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce for 30 years, said to be the second-longest tenure for a chamber manager in the nation at the time of his retirement in 1936. "Pete" Gray left his job on the Santa Fe Railroad to work on the Pueblo Transportation Association, the forerunner to the chamber. He said he "worked for industry and tourism in the town," a remark that could easily be made by a civic leader today. Edwin C. Johnson - "Big Ed" Johnson, born in Kansas in 1884, moved to Colorado in 1909 because he had tuberculosis. After beating the disease, he became a legislator from Craig and in 1933 began his first term as governor. He was re-elected in 1934, and in 1936 Colorado sent him to the U.S. Senate. He retired in 1954, but not for long: The Democrats drafted the 70-year-old Johnson for yet a third term as governor. In 1936, Johnson sent the state's National Guard to the New Mexico border to keep out "indigent and alien workers." Even when he was in Washington, Johnson dabbled in local affairs. He was credited with getting interstate 70 extended through Colorado, and eventually, to the West Coast. Before his death in 1970, he said, "Being governor of Colorado was the best - and toughest - job I ever had."
Pueblo Chieftain 5-17-1999 Our Past Century, 1938 - 1939 - A Time of Recovery - Pueblo continued a slow recovery from the Great Depression through 1938 and '39, while farmers throughout the region were still digging out from the Dust Bowl years and the state wobbled unsteadily on the brink on bankruptcy. Local businessmen joined the national chorus in blaming President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies for most of the nation's economic troubles. Even the Works Progress Administration, though it funneled millions of dollars into local projects and fed hundreds of families, became a target here. Amid allegations of fraud and abuse and isolated investigations in other states, some Colorado counties claimed that Pueblo consistently got more than its share of WPA monies, prompting a probe by the state in 1937, according to Pueblo Chieftain stories that followed the issue beginning in February. Paul D. Shriver, the state's WPA administrator, called Pueblo's unemployment situation a "grave one" but agreed to the probe anyway. At the time, there were nearly 2,000 WPA "relief" recipients and more than 700 on a waiting list. Only 30 in the local force qualified for that year's wage increase, which was only for skilled and semiskilled workers. Later that spring, Pueblo welfare commissioner J.W. Goss announced a crackdown on "relief fraud" at grocery stores. The following year, relief recipients who were found to have credit lines anywhere in town were taken off the rolls. Pueblo didn't join in, though, on a nationwide drive that started in New York to make relief workers ineligible to vote. During that year, the state continued juggling its Old Age Pension payments against actual revenue, announcing at the last minute several times that the regular $45 payments would be cut by as much as $10 because of shortfalls in the fund. Although the makings of World War II made news almost daily throughout the two-year-period, Puebloans were more enthralled with local crime, including the murder trial of candy salesman Everett B. Hughes. He was accused of killing his wife, Ann, and then disposing of her body and all of her belongings to make it look as though she had simply packed up and left. A "goodbye" letter he wrote and signed her name to was his undoing. The typewritten missive contained too many spelling and grammatical errors to have been written by Mrs. Hughes, a published writer whose poetry was familiar to Chieftain readers. Hughes finally was found guilty in April 1938, following a nine-day trial during which jurors were sequestered in a courthouse dormitory, according to Chieftain accounts. In Pueblo that September, an estimated 4,000 Puebloans packed a demonstration of television sponsored by The Chieftain and Pueblo Star-Journal and put on by Midland Television Co. Local audiences were thrilled with the "newest spectacular miracle of science," but they wouldn't receive a real TV broadcast until the mid-1950s. Meanwhile, Hitler's Germany had invaded Austria and was making moves on Czechoslovakia and Poland. The Nazis reclaimed Sudeten in October and immediately began deporting Jews from throughout the rest of the country to Poland, where their lives would be in peril again within months. Jews from throughout Eastern Europe were being deported and fleeing out of fear into Spain, Brazil and whichever other countries would have them. On Nov. 8, the Young Nazis went on a rampage throughout Berlin, smashing windows and ransacking Jewish storefronts and burning synagogues in what was to be remembered as Crystal Night - the night of shattered glass strewn like millions of crystals against the black streets of Berlin. When Cuba refused entry to 907 Jewish refugees on June 25, 1938, FDR announced that his administration was working on plans to help settle up to 30,000 in the Philippines. By Easter of that year, the Reich also had laid claim to Moravia, Bohemia and Slovakia. The pope named three new saints on Easter Sunday. The week before, Puebloans planning spring nuptials could buy a "perfect match bridal pair" of rings, with eight diamonds, for $29.75 at Ramor's. The Main Street jeweler's ad further tempted young grooms-to-be with the promise of credit, and payments of only $1 a week. Housewives shopping for the holiday dinner could get a half-pound of cheese for 16 cents at Safeway/Piggly Wiggly, or bacon for 23 cents a pound and lettuce for a nickel a bunch. Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, and Britain and France declared war the next day. But for many more months to come, FDR told the nation and the world that the United States would remain neutral in the war while helping the "non-belligerent" parties strive for peace. Thus assured, apparently, Puebloans were more concerned with how to pay for better streets and protection from drunken drivers. Chieftain stories indicate bond issues were just as hard to sell then as today. Voters late in 1937 rejected 3-1 a proposal that would have built a new jail and police department, a "contagion" hospital and fire department. Days later, though, the same voters said yes to a $210,000 proposal to expand Pueblo Junior College, only a few years old at the time. They were enticed by the promise of a $90,000 WPA grant if the bond issue passed. They Made a Difference - Dr. John Farley and Mary Farley - Dr. John B. and Mary Farley founded one of Colorado's most influential political families. The son of an Army Indian fighter who was Denver's chief of police near the turn of the century, young Farley met Mary Tancred when he was a student at St. Louis University and she was studying at nearby Webster College. They married in 1932 and moved to Pueblo, where his family had lived for several years during World War I. His father had worked as a private investigator for the Rockefellers, probing incidents of sabotage at the steel mill. John Farley worked in the Open Hearth and Wire Mill himself before launching his medical career during the Depression. He was paid $150 a month as the county physician, treating thousands of unemployed Puebloans and many more who were on the relief rolls but had no money for medical care. A countywide infant immunization program that he directed was hailed as a national model. It was the forerunner to programs offered later - and continued today - by the Pueblo City-County Health Department. Many of his Depression-era patients stayed with Farley's practice until he enlisted in the Navy during World War II and left for assignment in San Francisco. Ever loyal, they returned as his patients when he came home. (The Farleys, including 4-year-old son Tom, came back just as the war was winding down. Now a Pueblo lawyer, Tom served several terms in the state Legislature and his wife, Kathy, recently completed two terms as a county commissioner.) After returning home, the senior Farley became more deeply involved in Democratic politics. He was a delegate to his party's national convention several times and was urged to run for governor from supporters in every corner of the state. But he refused, preferring instead to stay behind the scenes. Mrs. Farley, now 94, told The Chieftain in 1984 that her husband's first love was medicine, and politics was simply an avenue for furthering issues related to health care. Mrs. Farley's lengthy philanthropic and volunteer career began in earnest after the war, as well. That career included leadership posts with the local, state and national medical auxiliaries; the DAR and numerous other history preservation groups; and early and continuing concerns for the environment.
Pueblo Chieftain 5-24-1999 Our Past Century, 1940 - 1941 - Pueblo Pounds Chest as War Effort Begins - A defining moment in Pueblo's long history came as the United States entered World War II in response to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. "This is no time for our citizens to become panicky," Pueblo City Council President Bert Beaty said in a prepared statement released immediately afterward. "A well organized plan has been set up here to meet any emergency that may arise. The greatest service our citizens can render is to be calm," Beaty said. No one in Pueblo panicked. They were too busy. Within two weeks, the government announced plans to build a military supply depot east of the city. Pueblo Army Depot would employ 8,000 at its peak. Also put into motion was a previously announced plan to begin the Pueblo Air Base and B-24 aircraft training near Pueblo Memorial Airport. Entry into the war solidified the future of CF&I Steel, which employed 6,000 at its peak but was prone to slowdowns before and following the war. The mill's first wartime order actually came six months in advance of Pearl Harbor when cautious U.S. leaders ordered a supply of large shell casings. The plant eventually would make 3.5 million of them. On the same front, hundreds of young Puebloans began answering the call to duty, a trend that would continue in subsequent U.S. wars. Among them were 1940 Central High graduates Carl Sitter, who would receive the Medal of Honor in the Korean War, and future Navy Capt. Kay Keating. By the time the Vietnam War ended, Pueblo would boast of four Medal recipients, an unheard of number for a city its size. As for the local soldiers already in uniform on Dec. 7, their families began the emotional wait for news from the battle zones. One local family was told their son died at Pearl Harbor - the city's first death - only to learn the day before Christmas that the report was in error. Also at home, The Pueblo Chieftain immediately launched an editorial campaign to cool any resentment against local Japanese, Italian and German immigrants. "We believe that their allegiance to the American flag and what it stands for will come first with them," The Chieftain said in a Dec. 9, 1941, editorial. Italians were the largest immigrant group in Pueblo in 1940, slightly larger than Mexicans and Yugoslavs, according to the U.S. Census. Overall, the impact of the war on Pueblo County proved astounding. Where many cities remained slowed by the Depression, Pueblo boomed. The county population grew to 90,188 from 68,870 by decade's end, extending Pueblo's place as the second-largest Colorado city behind Denver. The local unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent. To help Pueblo cope with the growth, the government promptly named the city a "preferential defense area," relaxing wartime limits on home construction. As 1942 began, The Pueblo Chieftain rightly told readers, "This year probably will see more changes and growth of the city than any period." Unfortunately, the boom would eventually ease and lead to a slow economic decline that would gnaw at Pueblo until the mid-1980s. Colorado Springs and its new Fort Carson also hurried into construction right after Pearl Harbor and would become the region's biggest city. Today, the steel mill employs fewer than 700 workers, the military supply depot is closed and the B-24 center lives on only as an aircraft museum. A lull in Pueblo also preceded the war. In contrast to the explosive growth to follow, the previous decade saw Pueblo County grow by less than 3,000 people, according to the Census. Arguably, the biggest local news of 1940 was the success of the Centennial High School boys basketball team, which went undefeated in winning the state title. Pueblo schools didn't win another state hoop title until 1979. Also from the sports pages, legendary Babe Ruth visited in 1940 to kick off baseball-crazed Pueblo's annual semipro baseball tournament. Elsewhere, the Works Progress Administration in 1940 started construction on the Palace of Agriculture at the Colorado State Fair. Still, the city felt in a rut. While many parts of the nation recovered from the Depression, Puebloans remained heavily in debt. "Sooner or later, we are sure that the improvement noticed elsewhere will hit this trading center of the Southwest," The Chieftain said on Jan. 1, 1941. One of the lingering problems was the Dust Bowl's damaging toll on the area. "The aerial warfare of high velocity winds and power diving water has caused widespread destruction to the land," noted The Chieftain. Even the area's participation in the earliest version of the Soil Conservation Program caused little optimism. "The war against erosion is being fought for future generations to come," area conservationist W.R. Watson said. Fitting for the times, the most-touted product of 1940 was the Jeep, its name taken from the sound made by combining the first letters of "general purpose." They Made a Difference - Rev. Thomas Wolohan - In 1941, the Vatican announced the formation of the Pueblo Diocese, a landmark event to honor both Southern Colorado's growing Catholic population as well as the Rev. Thomas Wolohan. Raised in Leadville, Wolohan arrived in Pueblo in 1910, spearheaded the construction of the ornate Sacred Heart Church in 1913 and led the long drive for a diocese split from Denver. (In 1942, the Vatican appointed Rev. Joseph Willging the city's first bishop. The church was renamed Sacred Heart Cathedral as part of the changes.) Wolohan served the Pueblo community for 36 years. Following his death in 1946, he was buried in a crypt at the southeast corner of the cathedral. Sen. Alva B. Adams Jr. - In the week before Pearl Harbor, the nation's attention turned west for another somber event: The death of longtime U.S. Sen. Alva B. Adams Jr. of Pueblo. The son of one Colorado governor and nephew of another governor, Adams died in office Dec. 1, 1941, of a heart attack. His body was returned to Pueblo by train for a Dec. 4 funeral at the family home attended by local, state and national leaders. A memorial service also took place in the Senate. "No man in public life ever took his responsibilities more seriously," a fellow senator from Pennsylvania said. Adams chaired the Public Lands and Surveys Committee. Just before his death, Adams helped pass a bill important to Colorado's sugar industry. He first served in the Senate in the early 1920s (he was appointed to fill a vacancy) and later was elected to two terms. A graduate of Yale, he previously worked as a private lawyer, county attorney and city attorney.Picture Caption: Pueblo Army Air Base hangar used during World War II. The War Department purchased the land in 1941 for the air base, which later was converted to Pueblo Memorial Airport.
Pueblo Chieftain 5-31-1999 Our Past Century, 1942 - 1943 - Pueblo Prospers at Outset of WWII - Pueblo, like the rest of the nation, spent 1942 engrossed in World War II. However, unlike many communities, the war brought a lot of employment, growth and better times to the city. In two years, Pueblo County's population increased 10.5 percent to more than 76,000 residents by the end of 1942. The city's growth was attributed to the opening of the new Pueblo Ordnance Depot, the Pueblo Army Airbase and the numerous jobs made available at the CF&I as a result of the war. Hundreds of new homes were built in Pueblo to keep up with the influx of new residents. After nearly a year of planning and construction, the Pueblo Ordnance Depot opened in 1942 east of town, employing thousands and giving Pueblo the distinction of being a military town. The depot initially included 1,200 units and nearly 140 miles of road. A few months later, the Pueblo Army Airbase opened, specializing in training B-24 pilots. The first B-24 to be stationed at the base was the Liberator. The base didn't open officially until September 1942, but the first soldiers began arriving for training in late August. It was predicted that more than 25,000 people would train at the field in 1942 and 1943. Less than four months after the base opened, it experienced its first tragedy. In late December 1942, seven soldiers were killed in a midair collision of two B-24s about 15 miles south of Manzanola. All seven crew members in one bomber died, while the five members in the other plane were able to parachute to safety. In August 1943, another bomber from the base crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, killing all 10 people aboard. The ordnance depot and the airbase not only brought in servicemen from throughout the country, but it brought jobs and notoriety to Pueblo. In early 1942, a USO lounge opened at the Union Depot for servicemen. The servicemen's presence in the city also prompted the Pueblo chamber's war committee to require a cleanup of Union Avenue after the Army had made it off limits to any Army personnel. In 1943, two noted Hollywood stars came to Pueblo - one as a soldier and the other an entertainer. In March, First Lt. Clark Gable was stationed at the airbase for training. Gable operated a 50-caliber aerial machine gun. Three months later, singer Bing Cosby visited the airbase and entertained troops in the officers club. Cosby had been vacationing in Colorado Springs and was asked to make a visit to Pueblo to help spread cheer to those stationed here. While the war brought a lot of prosperity to Pueblo, the city was not immune to the effects the conflict was inflicting on the rest of the nation. Puebloans took part in war rationings as meat and sugar, gasoline and rubber were cut back. Automobiles were required to only have one license plate in an effort to conserve steel. Like much of the nation, the city was deeply involved in various collection drives from metal to rubber. The Pueblo Chieftain reported in 1943 that in four days Puebloans had collected more than 60 tons of rubber in one drive. In April 1942, Pueblo hosted a "Victory Week" celebration that included a parade and speeches by many notable military and state officials. The celebration also was used to urge citizens to buy war and savings bonds. By mid-1943, it was reported that Pueblo had raised more than $3 million for the nation's war bond drive. The war was taking its toll on Pueblo as well. The Colorado State Hospital was actively recruiting a number of psychiatric aides as a result of men going off to fight in the war. By late 1942, CF&I began hiring women to work in the machine shop to replace the large number of men who had left for the war. In Southern Colorado, cheese production soared as the United States could no longer import cheese from Italy during wartime. Avondale schools adopted a six-day week so students could finish the school year earlier to work at the farms. As the number of Puebloans who went off to war continued to increase - 7,000 by the end of 1943 -the Chieftain began running almost a daily column on what the local servicemen and women were doing. The feature included promotions, new enlistees, special awards and citations and who was home on furlough. It was noted that in January 1942, Charles H. Cornelison became the first Puebloan to be decorated in the war. Cornelison, who served in the Navy, was cited for his acts of bravery during a Dec. 7, 1941, torpedo attack. In December 1942, Commander Bruce McCandless of Florence was awarded the Medal of Honor and less than two years later, Pueblo had its first Medal of Honor recipient in William Crawford. The war also dominated pleasure and recreation in Pueblo as the 1943 Colorado State Fair was centered on the theme to "promote victory of the United Nations." The fair included several exhibits of war machinery and weapons as well as displays of captured German and Italian tanks and airplanes. The war was not the only happening in Pueblo at this time. Frank Cash, a former Western League pitcher who had come to Pueblo to play semipro baseball, was killed in a "gangster type" drive-by shooting as he left his job at the Senate Bar one night. The slaying was the first gangster shooting since the prohibition days. The city was put in a panic when a 16-year-old Catholic High student Alice Porter was kidnapped as she walked home from night classes. Police conducted a statewide search and arrested a 26-year-old Pueblo man, Donald Fearn, in connection with her death. Fearn confessed to the kidnapping, beating and slaying of Porter, whose body was found in the bottom of a cistern on an abandoned farm 25 miles southeast of Pueblo. He later pleaded guilty to the murder and was executed in the gas chambers at the Colorado State Penitentiary. Other interesting stories of the time were: Monsignor Joseph Willging was named bishop of the new Pueblo Catholic Diocese on March 12, 1942. A public ceremony honoring Willging was held at the City Auditorium and was attended by thousands. The Pueblo Police Department began its first traffic unit under the direction of Sgt. Harold Boulds. The unit included five officers who were to devote their time solely to controlling traffic in the city. Corwin Hospital became the first hospital in the state to establish a blood bank. The bank was started after 1,000 CF&I employees volunteered to donate blood that was stored in refrigerators until needed. The 1942 Central High School graduating class was the first Central class to wear caps and gowns at the graduation ceremony. Centennial graduates had been wearing caps and gowns for the past 18 years. Pueblo hosted the 70th anniversary of railroad transportation to the city by inviting top executives from the major railroads to come to Pueblo. Four Manzanola freshmen students were killed after their car was hit by a train. The students were on their way home after decorating the school for baccalaureate services. The services were canceled as a result of the tragedy. East Mesa residents voted to establish a suburban district and a sewer and sanitation system. A similar proposal for Minnequa residents was defeated. More than 50 hospital patients and 10 nuns were sickened by food poisoning after eating a lunchtime meal at St. Mary's Hospital. The November 1943 election had voters approving a $25 per month salary increase for city employees. In that same election, Bert Beaty was re-elected as county commissioner. They Made a Difference - William J. Crawford - Crawford became Pueblo's first Medal of Honor recipient for his actions on Sept. 13, 1943, in Altavilla, Italy, while serving as a private in the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry Division. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative, moved over a hill under enemy fire to singlehandedly destroy several enemy machine guns, killing three and allowing his company to advance. When the platoon was delayed again by enemy fire, Crawford advanced to the front midway between two hostile machine gun nests. With a hand grenade, he destroyed one gun emplacement and killed the crew. He continued to work his way under enemy fire and with another grenade and his rifle, he killed another enemy and forced the remainder to leave allowing him to seize the enemy machine gun. Crawford later was taken prison of war and survived a 30-day, 500-mile march in freezing weather. Crawford, a 1936 graduate of Central High School, now lives in Palmer Lake. Charles Herman Klipfel - Klipfel, a Republican candidate, defeated incumbent J.W. Goss by a mere five votes in 1942 for a seat on the Pueblo County Commission. It had been predicted that Goss would easily retain his seat but as election results came in, it showed a close race between the two candidates. It took officials a few days after the election to declare Klipfel the winner. Goss contested the election, postponing the official announcement of Klipfel's victory until early January 1943. At that time, it was announced that Klipfel had garnered 10,959 votes to 10,954 for Goss. A few days later, Klipfel was sworn into office. He served on the county commission for three years, before he resigned to accept an appointment as city commissioner under the old form of municipal government. He resigned as city commissioner in 1947 to devote full time to private business. In March 1955, Klipfel was named interim postmaster in Pueblo and a year later was named the postmaster. Klipfel was born April 19, 1903 in Pueblo, and attended schools in Beulah where his father operated a farm. He died July 21, 1966.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-7-1999 Our Past Century, 1944 - 1945 - 'Gung-Ho' Effort Produces Victory - Puebloans were as "gung-ho" about the war effort as the Marine Raiders who coined the slogan during World War II. By year's end in 1945, the United States and its allies would be celebrating victory and looking to the future with the greatest optimism, confidence and unity that the nation had ever or since has experienced. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Victory was hard-fought. For those final two years, the nation was transfixed on the war. Headlines appearing in The Pueblo Chieftain editions during March 1945 bear that out: "MacArthur's Men Make Another Landing - Eighteenth Invasion In Philippines And Fifth In Little More Than Week Puts Yanks on Lubang." "Allied Nonstop Air Attacks Stir Up Fierce Battle In London Sky." "Yanks Reach For `Hell's Suburbs' - Americans Now Hold Most of Ruhr Basin West of Wide River." "One Mustang Pilot Charges 15 Nazis, Shoots Down Five." And there was plenty of local tie-in to the war. One story noted how thorough training at the Pueblo air base saved the lives of 22 bomber crewmen who parachuted from two planes when one hit an air pocket and clipped the other plane's wing. It was apparent the Army's handling of such matters went unquestioned. The reporter closed the story by saying that the Pueblo air base "declined to release names of the 22 crewmen, contending that it would cause 22 mothers a lot of unnecessary worry." Other local angles were less exciting, but still considered vital. They showed how every faction - small and large communities alike - were involved in the war. The La Veta Livestock Sale that year set a $5,000 goal for Red Cross donations. At the same time, Walsenburg students were scouring the city in a salvage drive for tin cans and waste paper. In eastern Otero County, the Red Cross Drive was going slowly, while in Antonito, a Marine garnered a story because he spent his spare time carving in wood. A regular Chieftain column, "With Our Boys In the Service," reminded readers of issues soldiers were facing. Another offered veterans a guide to benefits. Some days were milestones. The June 6, 1944, edition trumpeted the Normandy invasion. The large, front-page headline screamed: "Allies Invade France - General Eisenhower's Men On Way To Berlin." The story opened: "Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters announced today that Allied troops began landing on the northern coast of France this morning strongly supported by naval and air forces." The public then was reminded of the soldiers' immense sacrifice. Eisenhower was quoted as telling his men beforehand that they were "embarking on a great crusade toward which we have striven these many months." He warned them that they were facing a tough, well-prepared enemy. Less than a year later, the plans and hopes of a postwar America began to fall in place. In May 1945, Germany surrendered. Weeks earlier, the nation had mourned the sudden death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His successor, President Harry S. Truman, would lead the nation to victory. Truman would help the Allies' division of Germany into four zones and make the decision to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. (Coloradans later would learn that much of the bombs' uranium was produced in western Colorado.) Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945, and World War II officially was over. Truman declared a three-day national holiday. The postwar era began with a nation overwhelmed with shifting priorities. The nation paused over its war debt of $278 billion. Gas rationing ended. Congress would tussle for months over whether price-fixing on rent and commodities should end, too. Statewide, Coloradans counted a loss of 3,500 men. Colorado filled with tourists. Veterans and other new enrollees at the state's colleges created housing problems. Locally, city fathers contemplated postwar projects at a cost of $8 million to $10 million. The list included elimination of railroad crossings by constructing overpasses and underpasses, underpasses for pedestrians at school crossings, widening Main Street, creating arterial highways for both through and local traffic, and construction of a municipal swimming pool. Other projects under consideration included the construction of a health clinic, city hospital, new police station and city jail, new fire stations, road improvements, improvements at the Pueblo Mountain Park near Beulah, and the building of a memorial civic center in "the old river channel." They Made a Difference - John E. Hill - John E. Hill, born in Muncie, Ind., and raised in Colorado Springs, moved to Pueblo in 1920 at age 19. A banker by profession, Hill left a banking career to run for county commissioner in 1936. He won that race and continued to serve until 1956 when he made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives. Hill returned to the county board as an appointee of then-Colorado Gov. Steven R. McNichols and remained a commissioner until his retirement in 1975. At his death in July 1978, then-City Council President Mel Takaki described the 76-year-old Hill as "the heart and conscience of the Democratic Party in Pueblo." Hill was known as a wry, wisecracking force in local politics - the Will Rogers of Pueblo politics - for nearly 40 years. Dr. William E. Buck - Dr. William E. Buck was Pueblo's health department director from 1918 to 1952. Buck began life on a Kansas farm and put himself through medical school, and then worked faithfully in medical service. But he believed in moderation, especially after he was warned that a heart condition would kill him before age 45. At 95, he was still caring for his home at 330 W. Abriendo and doing yard work. Buck moved to Pueblo in 1902 at 31. A Kansas City College-educated physician, he walked on calls or borrowed a bicycle until he was able to buy a horse and buggy, and in 1906, a Ford. When he was unable to pass the physical examination to serve in World War I, he took the health department job as a public service. He initially served part time, but in 1925, gave up his private practice for full-time work as a medical director. Following World War I, Buck stepped up education on the prevention of disease and offered inoculations of schoolchildren for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus and vaccinations against smallpox.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-14-1999 Our Past Century, 1946 - 1947 - The Post War Years - A Time of Explosive Growth - World War II was over, but living was far from easy at home, where labor strikes, shortages of everything from food staples to coal, and the threat of polio touched essentially every household. Local CF&I workers went on strike in January 1946 along with 800,000 Steelworkers nationwide. Despite post-war demands, automakers' assembly lines came to a halt. Mines, railroads and meat-packing plants also were hit, creating critical shortages. In New York, the United Nations was being formed under the chill of the Cold War. In Washington, the House Committee on Un-American Activities sought out communists among labor activists and Hollywood stars. In Europe, war criminals were tried and hanged. Returning U.S. servicemen created a baby boom, demanded new homes and sent school officials scrambling to accommodate the population explosion. As usual, Pueblo was a microcosm of the nation as local miners, Steelworkers and others joined in the national strikes. By year's end, the national miners' strike had resulted in a severe coal shortage that saw the Pueblo County Courthouse being heated only two hours a day and area schools being closed indefinitely for lack of heat. City crews chopped firewood to augment the dwindling supply of coal. Despite the hardships, 1946 proved to be a pivotal year for Pueblo as it continued to thrive in the postwar economy. The Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, seeking a sense of direction, sponsored a slogan contest. Katherine Ann Mikatich had the winning entry, "Pueblo: Pacemaker of the West." One of the early highlights of the eventful year was the vote to consolidate school districts No. 1 and No. 20 into Pueblo School District 60. An editorial published in The Pueblo Chieftain on March 3, the eve of the consolidation vote, urged voters to follow the lead of 9 of 10 board members for the two districts who maintained that the merger would be good for the district and the city as a whole. "In their public statements, these nine directors have made it plain that the interests of both districts will be managed and directed so that each district will never be the worse of the consolidation in any manner, shape or form." When consolidation won in a landslide, The Chieftain congratulated the community in a Page One editorial. "It was a magnificent victory and marks one of the most important steps Pueblo has ever taken," said The Chieftain. The consolidation began immediately with acting Superintendent James H. Risley, who had been superintendent of District 1 for 25 years, at the helm. The new district had a budget of $1.75 million. After the national steel strike was settled, CF&I advertised for hundreds of additional workers. Men between ages 21 and 45 were preferred and veterans were given a preference. Starting pay was 94 cents an hour. Also in 1946, CF&I made an unsuccessful bid to take over the government-owned Geneva steel mill in Utah. The proposal failed despite receiving wide support from the Colorado press and local business community. On another front, CF&I was the successful low bidder for three sections of fence on the U.S.-Mexico border at Columbus, N.M., and Douglas and Naco, Ariz. The Pueblo Ordnance Depot east of the city became a parking lot for more than 11,000 military Jeeps, tanks, trucks, buses and ambulances; and another 9,000 vehicles reportedly were on the way. Pueblo was selected as a storage site for the surplus vehicles because of its dry climate. Thousands of Puebloans visited the depot on Memorial Day weekend and toured the acres of the mothballed war machines. By the end of the year, the depot employed 1,400 workers, 575 of them veterans, and had an annual payroll of $1.25 million. Pueblo's population climbed to 82,960 and there were 2,310 births recorded in 1946. While the city was gaining folks, the rural population of Pueblo County dwindled by 13 percent between 1940 and 1945. There were 150 fewer farms in the county at the end of the same period. The postwar years saw unprecedented growth in Pueblo. New building permits eclipsed even the building boom that had followed the 1921 flood. In 1946, 1,300 new construction permits were issued; 827 of those were for private residences. To keep pace with the demand for skilled tradesmen, the federal government sponsored apprenticeship programs in the building trades to help returning GIs gain employable skills and help build houses. After receiving 144 hours of training in night school, the apprentices worked on construction of homes for other veterans. One of the numerous commercial buildings built in 1946 was a new bus station at West Fifth and Court streets, operated by National Trailways bus system and Southwestern Greyhound lines. An average of 37 buses arrived and departed each day. The electric trolley system operated by Southern Colorado Power Co. began to make the switch to diesel-powered 32-passenger buses. By the end of 1947, the electric trolleys that had run since 1890 when they replaced horse-drawn cars were stripped and sold for $200 each. Pueblo rated high as a convention destination with an average of 25 major conventions being held in the city in 1946 and 1947. In addition, Forbes Magazine ranked Pueblo as one of the nation's top 10 cities in business growth in December 1947. Pueblo tied with Detroit, Kansas City and Tulsa with 15 percent growth. During the summer of 1946, polio threatened essentially every public event from the Colorado State Fair to public schools. In July, confirmation of a new polio case in Pueblo prompted the closing of the city's swimming pools. A month later, the state health board ordered State Fair administrators to ban youngsters from the Fair, and the opening of school was postponed. State Fair Manager Frank Means defied the ban, saying children's attendance should be decided by their parents. The military was a major attraction of the Fair that year. More than 1,200 members of the 38th Infantry, 611th Pack Infantry and the 179th AGF Band, all from Camp Carson, bivovached across Northern Avenue from the Fair. Two years after it ended, the war came home to Pueblo in the form of the body Henry Villa, Army technician 5th class, in November 1947. Villa's body was the first of Pueblo's war dead to be returned to U.S. soil from Europe. He was a Central High School graduate, played center on the football team and was the son of Cedas Villa of the 1400 block of East Routt. As 1947 ended, Pueblo was poised for continued growth. A new 15,000-seat memorial stadium dedicated to servicemen who died in WWII was on the drawing boards. Initially, the stadium was to be located at West 16th and Craig streets. Voters approved a bond issue for the construction of a new police headquarters, central fire station and health department in the vicinity of City Hall. The bond issue was limited to $750,000 and an interest rate of 1.75 percent. The Colorado State Hospital was beginning construction on a $5.5 million hospital building for elderly ambulatory patients. The Palace of Agriculture at the Fairgrounds was in its final stage of construction. At the ordnance depot, hundreds of concrete igloos were under construction to store ammunition. St. Mary-Corwin Hospital was in the process of a $1 million expansion. Southern Colorado Power Co. began construction of a $2.5 million power plant on South Victoria, and CF&I began a $7 million expansion. Pueblo truly was living up to its billing as the "Pacemaker of the West." They Made a Difference - George M. Kirk - George M. Kirk, a public relations director at CF&I, was named to a national committee of four people selected to visit war-stricken Europe as representatives of the board of foreign missions of the Presbyterian churches in the United States. The committee made recommendations concerning restoration of damaged properties. Kirk, a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pueblo, had long been an active layman in the church's work. Damian P. Ducy - In 1947, Damian P. Ducy was president of the Water Development Association of Southeastern Colorado and a strong proponent of the Gunnison-Arkansas project that evolved into the Fryingpan- Arkansas project and the building of Pueblo Dam in the 1970s. He was born in Trenton, Mo., in 1900 and moved to Pueblo when he was 2. He graduated from Centennial High School and after a stint in the Army returned to Pueblo where he became a community leader in the areas of banking and real estate. He served as president of the Chamber of Commerce during World War II. 1946 - March 4: Pueblo school districts No. 1 and No. 20 consolidated into District 60. June 13: Five hundred delegates filled Memorial Hall for the Colorado AFL (American Federation of Labor) Convention. Labor Day: Pueblo's labor unions announced cancellation of Labor Day activities because of the threat of polio. Aug. 26: The State Fair opened to the worst cloudburst since the 1921 Flood. In only 20 minutes, 2.31 inches of rain fell. Dec. 10: Damon Runyon, 62, died in New York hospital. The famed author and columnist started his career as a cub reporter on the Pueblo Chieftain. Dec. 14: Centennial Bulldogs defeated Boulder High School for state football championship, 13-7. Dec. 19: Union Bus Station at Fifth and Court streets opened. It featured a cafe and waiting room for 72 passengers. 1947 - January: City officials passed an ordinance requiring lights on bicycles ridden at night. Also bicyclists were prohibited from riding on sidewalks. July 14: Radio station KCSJ went on the air. KCSJ's call letters reflected its ownership, The Pueblo Chieftain and Star-Journal daily newspapers. November: As the last of the buildings and lumber were sold off, little remained of the Amache Japanese Relocation Camp near Granada except for the building foundations. Many of the Japanese inhabitants have settled on farms in the surrounding area. Dec. 6: Central Wildcats defeated South Denver 7-6 in state football championship. Dec. 14: Pueblo Catholic High Shamrocks were defeated by Denver's Holy Family in the Catholic schools' state football title game.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-21-1999 Our Past Century, 1948 - 1949 - Social Change Marks End of '40s - Society grew along with Pueblo in the postwar years of 1948 and 1949, but at a slower rate. Jan. 1, 1948, saw Southern Coloradans embrace law-and-order and rejoice at the capture of 11 inmates who'd escaped from "Little Siberia" - an isolation cellblock at Canon City's territorial prison. One had been beaten with a claw hammer by a rancher's wife and another had been shot in the head; photos of their bloodied bodies were prominently displayed in the pages of The Pueblo Chieftain. Capture of the inmates - a 12th, 28-year-old murderer James Sherbondy, was back behind bars by Jan. 3 - was ranked the second most important story in the state at year's end. Although President Harry Truman pledged to Congress that the nation was "on the road to peace" in 1948, the world was plagued by shortages, inflation, civil wars in Greece and China, bloodshed in Palestine and unsettled conflicts in India and Indonesia. The "Red" threat crept like an evil spider into the public consciousness. Puebloans read about Hollywood writers John Lawson, Dalton Trumbo, Ring Lardner and others being charged with contempt for refusing to divulge their communist "associations." Pueblo learned about such "subversive" organizations as the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief, the American Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born, the Congress of American Women (remember that one), the International Labor Defense, the Jewish People's Committee, the League of American Writers, the People's Institute of Applied Religion - even the Peace Movement of Ethiopia. Mohandas Gandhi, the Hindu who made nonviolence a rallying cry and led India to independence, was killed by an assassin's bullet on Jan. 30, 1948. Closer to home, students at the University of Oklahoma at Norman protested the exclusion of blacks from the all-white school, while in early February, black students were eligible for the first time to enroll at the University of Delaware. Women were making small gains as midcentury neared, but Chieftain readers had to look carefully to recognize them. A bathing-suited beauty seemed to be featured at least every day in the newspaper. Advertisements that seem inane by today's standards had women talking on the phone, "calling for flakier crackers." Weddings and engagements and parties and babies got big play, but photos of young women earning scholarships and teachers getting awards and women campaigning for and being elected to office were starting to appear. They may not have been paid for it, but women did much of the fund-raising for local charities that aided victims of polio and tuberculosis, and they threw their energies into church and hospital work, including fund-raising for construction projects at three hospitals. President Truman signed legislation in 1948 making women regular members of the Army, Navy and Air Force. That same year, the All-American Redheads world's champion women's baseball team visited Pueblo and played the American Legion men's team. Elizabeth Guyton was named city attorney for Rocky Ford in 1948, and Georgia Farabaugh was elected to Pueblo's new City Council in 1949; both were firsts. In a strange commentary on the times, photos of alleged abortionist Edith Halcomb and her accuser, a 27-year-old divorced waitress, were published in the newspaper in 1949. It was the fifth time Halcomb, a 66-year-old former osteopathic physician, had been arrested by local authorities for supposedly performing an abortion. Pueblo's economic growth was the big news in 1948 and 1949, eclipsing any social change that might have been occurring. The city blasted ahead with an unprecedented building campaign that included schools, hospitals, the CF&I, public utilities, police and fire, sports venues and private businesses. Pueblo's population was 85,000 at the beginning of 1948, and the city counted 14,900 homes. Pueblo automobile dealers had waiting lists comprising 5,000 buyers, and Western Electric hired 21 new switchboard operators at the D Street office to handle up to 150,000 telephone calls a day. Colorado Gov. Lee Knous said Highway 85-87 should be the top road development project for the year - the current north-south highway was called a "ribbon of death" - and Pueblo set aside $50,000 toward purchase of the right-of-way in the northern part of town. The northern segment would be the first part of a $5 million highway project stretching for 9 miles along the east edge of town.The Gunnison-Arkansas water diversion project got a big boost in 1948 when the Colorado River Basin Compact was signed, and by 1949, the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce was a leader in promoting it. The chamber predicted the project, which evolved into the Fryingpan-Arkansas, would cause Pueblo and the rest of the Arkansas Valley to grow, farming conditions to improve and opportunities for industry to expand. A few of the long list of building projects undertaken at the time were: A $1 million addition to St. Mary Hospital; A new Catholic high school ($500,000 had been pledged); A $7 million expansion and improvement program at the CF&I, including a new rod mill (8,000 men were on the company payroll at the end of 1948); A $6 million expansion at the Colorado State Hospital, which then served 4,700 patients; New police and fire stations; The $450,000 Park Hill (Risley) Junior High School; An addition to Parkview Hospital; Completion of the Palace of Agriculture at the Colorado State Fairgrounds; A vocational arts building at Pueblo Junior College (enrollment was 1,150 in 1948); A new Southern Colorado Power plant; Construction of or additions to Shrine of St. Therese, St. Patrick, Ascension Episcopal and Bethlehem Baptist churches. In the fall 1949, Puebloans voted to change their form of government from three city commissioners to a city manager and a council, and called for a convention to rewrite the city charter. They were eager to tackle the second half of the 20th century and wanted new leadership to help them forge the way. They Made a Difference - Georgia Farabaugh - Pueblo's first woman City Council member, Georgia Farabaugh, was elected in 1949 when the city changed its form of government to a city manager and a council. She was appointed city council president - also a first for a woman - in 1964. Mrs. Farabaugh was born on Election Day in 1898, the daughter of a local Democratic politician, and lived to be 99 years old. She grew up near Stone City and attended Turkey Creek School, worked at Fink's Grocery in Pueblo during high school and took extension courses through the University of Colorado. Anna Maud Garnett - A Central High School teacher for 39 years, Anna Maud Garnett, served as head of the school's English department. She also was director of secondary curriculum for District 60 for four years. Miss Garnett, who retired in 1960 and who died in 1981, was active in the teachers' union, serving as president of the Pueblo and Colorado education associations and as a director of the national association. In 1948, Miss Garnett expressed optimism about local schools and public education in general, saying schools were becoming more democratic and students were learning more about the world around them. 1948 - January 24: Branch Rickey, president of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball club, visits home of the Pueblo Dodgers. Rickey speaks at a baseball dinner, saying it's important for Pueblo to build a new ball park. January 25: St. Mary Hospital kicks off fund drive for $500,000 building campaign. May 25: Freedom Train rolls into Pueblo Union Depot carrying 127 historic World War II documents. June 15: Construction of CF&I rod mill starts; part of $7 million expansion program. June 20: Lake Minnequa Amusement Park opens; nine rides, a mouse circus and boating on the lake attract 8,000 people to the festivities. August 30: Selective service registration starts. Men between ages of 18 and 25 must report to draft board office in Colorado Building. September 12: Colorado State Hospital launches $6 million building program. October 5: Women's Christian Temperance Union state meeting convenes in Pueblo. November 24: Groundbreaking for new police building. 1949 - April 14: World-renowned pianist Arthur Rubinstein performs at Memorial Hall. April 20: Spurr Homes reveals plans to build housing project at northwest edge of Pueblo, between 29th Street and U.S. 50; as many as 800 homes could go up. May 23: Opening session of Colorado Public Health convention at Memorial Hall; 500 delegates hear Dr. Fred T. Foard of the U.S. Indian Health Service. June 12: Artists Oscar Berninghaus and Victor Higgins (now numbered among `Taos Ten') announced as judges for State Fair art show. July 27: City of Pueblo takes over management of Pueblo air base. November 8: Puebloans vote to change their form of government. November 19: Local restaurants boost coffee price to a dime; diners in mourning.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-28-1999 Our Past Century, 1950 - 1951 - Fifties Usher in a New Era - City Gets New Form of Government - Korean War Breaks Out - The Cold War couldn't get much colder in January 1950 as the nation shivered through a national coal strike. Even so, Pueblo went into the new decade with some confidence. After all, voters had just approved a new 14-member City Council, scrapping the old system of three city commissioners. Each councilman represented a district and together they hired Pueblo's first city manager - John Hall of Muskogee, Okla. - for the lucrative salary of $12,000 a year. Not everyone likes change, of course. Former City Commissioner Jack Craddock challenged the legality of the new council and refused to give up his City Hall office. Quietly, the new administration had Craddock's name scraped off the door and impounded his city car. Across the street, the police department - all 68 officers - was moving into its new building. Pueblo Junior College had its new Vocational Technology Building under way. The Santa Fe Railroad was finishing its $2 million rail yard north of Fourth Street. Pueblo voters also had elected 21 delegates to write a new city charter. By mid-March the convention had drafted a new plan for city government that called for a nine-member council, with five members elected at-large. Backed by local business groups, the charter proposal ran into strong labor opposition, however, from city employees and others. Labor won the day and local voters turned down the proposed charter on April 19 by a sizable margin. Current readers would laugh at the issues that confronted Pueblo's brand new City Council because they are so familiar to city issues in 1999: The new council discussed turning the city dog pound over to a humane society, but settled for hiring a new dog catcher and instituting an animal licensing fee ($1 for male dogs, $3 for females). It established a civil service test for hiring new police officers. And council agreed to pay for extensive repairs to damaged city sewer lines along Fountain Creek. Pueblo's political outlook brightened that spring when President Harry Truman appointed Gov. Lee Knous to the federal bench, opening the door for Lt. Gov. Walter Johnson, a Democrat from Pueblo, to move into the governor's chair. All of that, however, was set against a national political climate of intense partisanship and hostility. Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis., was making daily accusations that particular federal employees, college professors and Hollywood writers were communists and aiding the Soviet Union in learning the secrets of the atomic bomb. The war of words, however, exploded into real bullets on June 25 when North Korea sent its armies into South Korea. Caught by surprise, Truman rushed underequipped and inexperienced U.S. troops to Korea and into war again. For Pueblo veterans, Korea meant the likelihood of being recalled to combat. The Chieftain reported on June 26 that there were 89,000 draft eligible men in the state, including 28,000 World War II veterans. The North Korean army, however, ground up the United Nations forces thrown at it that summer and it didn't take long for Pueblo to start suffering casualties. On Aug. 20, Army Pvt. Eddie Yengich was reported missing. (He was killed in action.) Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, put in charge of the U.N. forces, outsmarted the enemy in September when he launched an amphibious landing at Inchon, putting a massive U.N. army behind the North Korean lines. The attack quickly forced North Korea into retreat and prompted Chinese armies to come over the border to assist them. Several Republicans in Congress called on Truman to use nuclear weapons against the Chinese hordes, but overshadowing that was the harrowing question of whether the Soviet Union would defend its Chinese ally. Among the Pueblo veterans back in combat was Marine Capt. Carl Sitter. On Nov. 29, Sitter led his company during a savage three-day battle against repeated attacks by larger Chinese forces. Recognized for his leadership and heroism in the fighting, Sitter would be given the Medal of Honor the following year. Back in Colorado, Gov. Johnson was the easy Democratic nominee to hold on to the governor's office. Yet, opposition to Truman's leadership in the Korean War was swelling Republican ranks. When the Republican candidate, former Gov. Ralph Carr, unexpectedly died in September, the GOP quickly turned to Gunnison cattleman Dan Thornton - and easily defeated Johnson anyway. Among the new Republicans who came into office that November was U.S. Rep. Edgar Chenoweth, who represented Pueblo and Southern Colorado. When 1951 began, the Korean War was a regular, bloody story on the front pages of the nation's newspapers. MacArthur and the U.N. forces were pushing the Chinese and North Koreans backwards again, but at a dear price. Nearly 6,000 U.S. troops had been killed by Jan. 1. But home life went on. When the new year began, City Manager John Hall privately informed council that he'd been offered a $15,000 contract by Niagara Falls, N.Y. Suspecting that they were being prodded into a raise, council met behind closed doors and then informed Hall they were willing to help him pack. The city manager changed his mind, however, and agreed to stay on in Pueblo at $12,000 a year. Relations between council and the Pueblo County commissioners were not much better than today. In February, the commissioners complained to council that the jail walls were cracking because city crews were continuing to use dynamite to blast a path for a new sewer line. In June, council declared that it was out of patience with sending city fire crews out to rural fires. On June 5, council adopted an ordinance that said city fire engines would only fight rural fires if they involved public buildings. The no-help policy reached its hottest point in August when the Jess Hunter Motor Co., located on the county side of Santa Fe Avenue, burned down while city firefighters watched from across the street. For many residents, however, the summer of 1951 will be remembered as another terrifying polio summer. In July, the mysterious, crippling disease had sickened 38 people around the city. Five were dead by the first week of August and the sick roll quickly climbed to 54 cases, then to more than 100. Once again there was talk of delaying or even canceling the State Fair but it opened anyway with Gov. Dan Thornton on hand to encourage the crowd. It didn't help much because the Fair only attracted 48,000 people -half the crowd that came in 1950. School districts 60 and 70, however, did not hesitate to delay opening school that year out of fear of spreading polio. The districts pushed the first day back to Sept. 17 and canceled their early season football games. As autumn arrived, the illness went into its usual retreat, leaving a trail of a dozen dead, 245 people hospitalized and 125 people getting home care. In November, city voters approved a $600,000 bond issue to repair the Fourth Street and Main Street bridges and to build a new Downtown fire station. And they were also willing to endorse consolidating the city and county health departments. There was a huge crowd of 43 candidates for the 14 council seats and voters dealt with that by re-electing most of the incumbents. A new councilwoman, Betty Hudspeth, joined Georgia Farabaugh as the only women in the group. Candidates Eric Kelly and Joe Harriss, however, tied for the District 1 seat, with 305 votes each. Still deadlocked after a recount, the candidates unhappily agreed to settle the election with a coin toss. Harriss won. They Made a Difference - Ella M. Orman - In the long struggle against polio, Ella Matty Orman was a tireless volunteer. Born in Denver, she married Pueblo businessman Frederick Orman (whose father was Gov. James B. Orman) in 1901. Her decades of civic work included serving on more than 40 boards and commissions, including the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, the Colorado Society for Crippled Children, the Child Welfare Board of the Colorado Department of Public Welfare and the March of Dimes. Well-known for her activism, she was appointed to the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1940, 1950, and 1960. Mrs. Orman lived to be 99 and died in 1980. Walter W. Johnson - Johnson was the last Puebloan to serve as governor of Colorado. Born here in 1904, he attended local schools before going to work at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. Later, he began his own insurance company. A lifelong Democrat, Johnson was first elected to the school board in 1937. He was elected to the Colorado Senate in 1940 and elected lieutenant governor in 1948. When President Harry Truman appointed Gov. W. Lee Knous to a federal judgeship in April 1950, Johnson became governor. Two months later, the nation became snarled in the Korean War and Johnson was among the Democratic lawmakers who were swept out in a Republican groundswell. He was defeated for governor that November by Republican cattleman Dan Thornton. Johnson was reappointed to the state senate in 1951 when Sen. Curtis Ritchie died. He was elected again to the Senate in 1954. He finished his political career on the State Industrial Commission. Johnson died in 1987 at age 82. 1950 - January 26: City Council hires Pueblo's first city manager, John Hall, from Muskogee, Okla. April 15: Gov. Lee Knous steps down to become a federal judge and Lt. Gov. Walter Johnson, of Pueblo, becomes governor. May 15: City Council decides to spend $2,500 to install free "kiddie rides" at City Park, prompting a protest from the Minnequa Lake Amusement Park. June 25: Korean War breaks out. September 1: Pueblo Junior College's new Vocational Technical Building is ready for classes. September 7: 193rd Tank Battalion is activated, drawing Pueblo reservists into active duty. September 15: School District 60's new stadium (now Dutch Clark Stadium) is opened. November 29: Marine Capt. Carl Sitter of Pueblo is nominated for the Medal of Honor after leading his company in a bitter three-day battle. 1951- January 16: U.S. Supreme Court overturns conviction of Irving Blau of Pueblo, who was sentenced to six months in jail for refusing to answer grand jury questions about his wife's political beliefs. February 4: State prison warden Roy Best is found "not guilty" of using pipes, boards, cement and other state property to improve his ranch. April 11: President Truman fires Gen. Douglas MacArthur for advocating pushing the Korean War into China as well. May 4: Interior Department approves $147 million Frying Pan-Arkansas water project. June 10: Bessemer Park dedicated. August 3: Anthony Spittle, 16, is the fifth polio victim to die in Pueblo. October 23: Longtime Pueblo religious leader, the Rev. Cyril Zupan, dies in Canon City at age 89. October 29: President Truman awards Medal of Honor to Marine Maj. Carl Sitter.
Pueblo Chieftain 7-5-1999 Our Past Century, 1952 - 1953 - Ecomony Booms; Corruption Rocks City - Pueblo joined the nation in prosperity and paranoia in 1952 and 1953. On the national scene, Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy saw bogeymen everywhere but in the mirror. Puebloans dealt with their own demons in the forms of corrupt cops and gambling. The two Korean War years saw President Truman vilified by Republicans and Big Labor alike. Americans didn't merely like Ike - they loved him, electing Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower president in a landslide win over Democrat Adlai Stevenson in November 1952. In Pueblo, four city managers reigned over a 14-member city council during the two-year period. Honesty first took a beating and then triumphed when a longtime police chief finally hung it up. But before all that occurred, Puebloans must have received a charge when one of their own, Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Carl Sitter, was one of the grand marshals of the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day 1952. That year was the last one before the one-eyed bandit of time, television, crept into Pueblo living rooms. The economy of the area boomed along with the rest of the country during the period, and Pueblo set records for people working (43,000 in 1953), population (topping 100,000 for the first time), and new building and sales. Business grossed $131 million in 1952, an all-time high. But, as the national communist witch hunt led by McCarthy proved, not even affluence can blunt all the problems. The biggest local problem in 1952 and 1953 concerned gambling and what the local police force, led by J. Arthur Grady, would do about it. Not much, many city councilors said. Grady had been chief for 30 years, his tenure a national record and local tragedy. In February 1952, Grady and Capt. Everett Horne were suspended because Grady allegedly allowed Horne to be paid without doing his duties. In August, Grady suspended two officers who said they wanted to raid a gambling parlor, but the vice squad and Grady told them to look the other way. Council hearings exonerated the two suspended officers. Then, the vice squad officers were suspended by City Manager William Loman for dereliction of duty and destroying evidence. Council held hearings on the suspended vice-squad cops and upheld one suspension. An October 1952 raid of the nefarious Grove Pool Hall on Santa Fe Avenue, just after Grady was put out to pasture, turned up a craps table, dice, cash and gambling records. Roy Harper took over as police chief Nov. 1, 1952, to try to turn around the allegedly corrupt force. City Council had troubles of its own. While they dealt with booming property taxes and expanded building, they lost two city managers to other jobs and hired the mayor for a stint as manager. In April 1952, City Manager John O. Hall, Pueblo's first under the city-manager concept, confirmed he had been in Miami looking for a new job. Some on council wanted him fired. The drama was so rich that more than 600 Puebloans showed up at city hall to see if Hall was going to resign. He resigned the next day to take a U.S. government job in Ecuador. Three city managers succeeded him by the end of 1953. Pueblo County had the highest polio rate in the United States in 1952, said the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis president. Pueblo's property tax was highest in Colorado and third in the Rocky Mountain region. That year, Braniff Airlines stopped its daily flights to Pueblo, citing short runways at the Prairie Avenue airport. Nine patients, including a murderer, an arsonist and a "morals offender," escaped from the Colorado State Hospital over the weekend of April 12-14, 1952. Most were caught quickly. The arsonist and a robber escaped three times in 1952. CF&I workers joined a national strike after a federal judge voided Truman's seizure of the steel industry. Strikers went back a few days later, "in the national interest," but later struck again, for 52 days from May through July. On Sept. 12, workers signed a two-year contract. Work on the Treasure Island shopping center began in the spring 1952 in the area between the Colorado State Fairgrounds and Prairie and Northern, the first of its kind in Southern Colorado. Local grocer and businessman Chet Haga was the principal owner. It was "located in the hub of Pueblo's huge mass housing development," a Chieftain story reported. That mass development included a public housing boom in 1952, with 224 units built. From 1951 through 1953, 350 blocks of Pueblo streets were paved for the first time. In 1952, Olson Construction secured a $1.5 million contract to build 120 ammunition igloos at Pueblo Ordnance Depot. Later in the year, permanent structures worth $6 million were built there. The first TV broadcast in Pueblo occurred in December 1952 on KKTV. Things were calmer in 1953, but just as prosperous. One-way traffic Downtown went into effect on Jan. 14. Main, Court, Third, Fifth and 13th were designated one-way streets. A new lighting system of mercury vapor lamps made those streets brighter in May. The airport was moved to its current location from Prairie Avenue, and a new central fire station opened. Four new District 60 schools opened in 1953 - Bradford and Irving elementary schools and Corwin and Freed middle schools. Ben Franklin Elementary was almost completed by year's end. In August, the Sisters of Charity announced a new $3 million expansion to their St. Mary's Hospital. On Aug. 29, Pueblo's first Korean War prisoner - Marine PFC Louis Romero Jr., who had been captured 16 months before - was freed by the Communists. A truce halting the fighting had been signed a month before. The truce remains in effect, and the war is not officially over. Pueblo's war heroes would grab the headlines again in October when Marine Lt. Raymond G. "Jerry" Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Eisenhower. Murphy had been wounded on Feb. 3, 1953, while leading a team called on to rescue wounded Marines on a hill held by North Koreans. Murphy was wounded by fragments from an enemy mortar but refused medical aid and personally made several trips down the hill to carry wounded Marines to safety. Locally, 1953 was a terrible year for fires. In January, Colorado Supply at Baystate and Evans burned, a loss of $294,000. Also that month, there was a $20,000 fire at KC Furniture. In March, Herman's Department Store at Northern and Abriendo, was torched by an arsonist. Loss: $136,000. But the largest fire of all occurred on Aug. 29. The historic Central Block, housing many state and federal offices as well as businesses, went up in flames. Standard Paint & Glass on Second Street and McCarthy Block Co. nearby went down in flames. Losses totaled $1 million - and the life of prominent lawyer Orion Pope, 89. Later in the year, a fire at the Pepsi-Cola plant brought the 1953 fire loss total to almost $2 million, compared with $75,000 for 1952. They Made a Difference - George Spann - It's not often that a school is named in memory of a janitor. But the work and caring of George Spann allowed that unlikely event to take place in Pueblo in March 1953. A large crowd gathered at the new Spann Elementary on March 26, 1953. The auditorium was filled with neighbors, old friends, teachers and pupils who knew Spann as a worker and friend during his 34 years in the school system. The Chieftain the next day called Spann "a happy man with an infectious smile, who fixed bicycles, umpired baseball games, repaired skates and took children to the their homes after school during his 28 years as a janitor at Risley Junior High." Spann, which opened in September 1952, was named for a man who affected generations of schoolchildren and teachers, even though he was never a teacher or administrator himself. The paper said it was the first time it could find that a school was named for a custodian. Roy Best - Born in Rocky Ford, Roy Best was a champion bronco rider and steer wrestler before he became a Colorado Courtesy Patrol officer (now State Patrol) in 1927. After serving a stint as Gov. Billy Adams' driver, Best was named acting warden in Canon City in 1930, and eventually warden. Best had inmates build the growing prisons area in Canon City, and his dictum was "Discipline Without Tyranny." He developed the single-cell system in Colorado, to give inmates a little privacy, but he would not allow privileges without first getting good behavior and work from the convicts. Prisoners who had grudges were made to fight them out in the boxing ring with gloves and with a referee present. Best tried any method he could to avoid putting an inmate in solitary confinement. Despite all this, the warden was best known for flogging prisoners who tried to escape or attacked his guards. In the early 1950s, Best was prosecuted for federal civil rights violations because of his whippings. The Pueblo Chieftain firmly backed Best, and Best was acquitted, partly because he never hid the fact that he whipped inmate offenders. Best was the man who dropped the cyanide pellets that began Colorado's executions of the time, yet he opposed the death penalty and testified against it in the Legislature. Best, who lived with his wife, Mabel, on prison grounds, took in 12-year-old Las Animas murderer James Melton when the boy was sentenced to Canon City in the 1940s. They raised the boy as their own child. (Information from "Deadly Innocence," by Robert Perske.) 1952 - Jan. 6: A flu outbreak causes 1,823 kids and 29 teachers to miss school during the first week of 1952. Feb. 8: Elizabeth II becomes queen of England, following the death of her father, George VI. May 10: Olson Construction gets $1.5 million contract to build 120 ammunition igloos at Pueblo Ordnance Depot. July 24: U.S. steel strike ends after 53 days. CF&I workers join 600,000 nationwide in returning to work. Sept. 24: Republican vice presidential hopeful Richard Nixon makes his famous Checkers speech, successfully defending an expense fund set up for him by supporters. Nov. 1: Roy Harper takes over as police chief in an attempt to turn around the allegedly corrupt force that had been led by J. Arthur Grady for more than 30 years. 1953 - Jan 14: Puebloans need refresher course in driving when the city switches to one-way traffic in the Downtown area. Main, Court, Third, Fifth and 13th are converted to the new directional driving. Feb. 3: Pueblo Marine Lt. Raymond G. "Jerry" Murphy earns the Medal of Honor when he is wounded by enemy mortar fire while leading a team in evacuating wounded Marines from a hill occupied by North Koreans. May 21: The city brightens considerably when incandescent lamps are converted to mercury-vapor lamps. The new lights give the Downtown a "soft glow," according to city engineers. Aug. 29: Pueblo's first Korean War prisoner Marine PFC Louis Romero Jr., is released. He had been captured by the communists 16 months before, just days before his mother died in Pueblo. Aug. 29: A huge fire destroys the Central Block Downtown. More than 100 firemen and volunteers fight the fire, which wipes out state and federal government offices and several businesses. Picture Caption: Fire destroyed the Colorado Supply Co. store at Baystate and Evans in 1953. At the beginning of this century, Pueblo had both retail and wholesale CF&I company outlets. Some of the other retail stores were located in Sopris, Floresita, Orient, Cardiff, Brookside, Coal Creek, Walsen, Primero and Segundo. Trinidad also had both retail and wholesale Colorado Supply Co. outlets.
Pueblo Chieftain 7-12-1999 Our Past Century, 1954 - 1955 - Pueblo Flexes Blue-Collar Muscle - Pueblo enjoyed Happy Days in the mid-1950s. The city - its population racing past the 100,000 mark - rocked around the clock, stopping only long enough to collect a coveted All-America City award. Planners predicted a doubling of the population to 200,000 by 1980. CF&I Steel maintained its peak work force of about 8,000 employees. Pueblo Depot Activity settled around 4,500 employees after an 800-worker layoff in early 1954; and the Colorado State Hospital counted 1,700 workers. Work was under way on more housing in Sunset Park, Belmont and the East Side. Retail centers led by J.C. Penney in Downtown and the Midtown Shopping Center and its Sears store were under development. On the social scene, drive-in movie theaters and restaurants bustled. Pizza also came to Pueblo, courtesy of a local restaurant family named Ianne. Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly approved a $5.3 million bond issue that would fund the 1959 construction of South and East high schools. The next year voters approved a 1-cent city sales tax. Puebloans in 1954 also took the landmark step of calling for a city charter convention to modernize local government. The effort resulted in the charter that guides local government to this day. In general, the new charter halved the size of City Council to seven members and made clear that the city manager appoints department heads. Opposition to the proposal generally came from two directions. One group complained the charter didn't go far enough in limiting the city's power in the areas of tax hikes, bond sales and discretionary spending. Another group led by the United Steelworkers' union and police chief opposed a part that left city department heads exempt from civil service protections. In the end, voters approved the document. Six months later, the effort earned Pueblo a respected All-America City award from the National Municipal League. The chief worry of the day? A Pueblo-led proposal to divert Western Slope water to Southern Colorado and a reservoir to be built outside Pueblo was stalled in Congress. A major vote by the House of Representatives in 1954 fell short by five votes as most Democrats opposed the Fryingpan-Arkansas water project. "There can be little hope for the project if there is Democratic control of the House," decried The Pueblo Chieftain editorial pages. Adding urgency to the situation, 1954 and 1955 produced a second "dust bowl" era in Southern Colorado with hundreds of miles of farm land buried. A special session of the Legislature resulted in new dust-control measures. Another worry for Pueblo rested with the highway system. The state's 2-year-old plan to build the South Freeway - the portion from the Central Avenue exit to Pueblo Greyhound Park - was a year behind as of 1955. Local leaders could do little but listen after the state explained the holdup was due to stalled negotiations with CF&I Steel over land purchases. However, The Chieftain was skeptical. The newspaper asserted Pueblo was becoming a victim of political power plays by cities to the north: "Anyone who drives... the northern part of the state will see more four-lane highways being constructed where none were... scheduled two years ago." An economic development trouble spot also emerged at Pueblo Memorial Airport, recently relocated to the site of the Pueblo Air Base from the South Side. One of the reasons the city moved the airport was Continental Airline's insistence on longer runways for its larger passenger planes. Three months later, Continental pulled its flights, citing low passenger demand. While the Fryingpan water project and highway would eventually get done, an even bigger threat to Pueblo's growth began quietly emerging to the north. Colorado Springs and its Fort Carson were now as big as Pueblo and growing faster; and in 1954, Colorado Springs landed the Air Force Academy. Still, relations between the two cities had not yet soured. The cities worked together on everything from the academy bid to the Fryingpan project. Elsewhere in the mid-1950s, the nationwide hunt for Communist Party sympathizers hit paydirt in Pueblo in dramatic fashion. A young Pueblo couple and a former Puebloan were abruptly arrested in August 1954 as part of a statewide FBI probe into Communist Party activities. Even more shocking to Puebloans, the next year a young Pueblo County High School teacher stepped forward as the key witness in the case. Unknown to the county school board, the male English teacher was a former leader of Communist Party activities at the University of Colorado. He had later renounced his activities and worked secretly with the FBI to identify 32 people as active Communists, including the trio from Pueblo. The teacher - a Boulder native - was not rehired the following year due to poor performance, according to the school board. They Made a Difference - John Bonforte - Aeronautical engineer-turned-land developer John Bonforte lived in Colorado Springs, but in the early 1950s he came south for his next real estate venture - and the Belmont neighborhood in Pueblo was born. In building where others would not, Bonforte brought life to the prairie. The neighborhood now includes thousands of homes, the University of Southern Colorado (built on land donated by Bonforte) and a string of small businesses. Belmont's emergence also shifted Pueblo's development focus to the North Side. Back in Colorado Springs, the influential-and-wealthy Bonforte served on the site-selection committee that resulted in the city being awarded the Air Force Academy in 1954. Bonforte died in January 1987. Betty Kirk West - Late in her career she drew attention for wearing a black veil and dress to protest the death of a series of pro-labor bills but Betty Kirk West was best known as Pueblo's first female state lawmaker. (Correction: Betty Kirk West was not the first woman legislator from Pueblo, as reported in this ongoing history series. Carrie Clyde Holly was elected to the Legislature in 1894, the year a Populist Legislature gave women the vote.) A native of Nebraska who moved to Pueblo in 1937 to open a savings and loan office with her husband, she was first elected to the state House in 1954 and served for 12 years. She lost bids for the Colorado Senate in 1966 and 1968. As a state representative, Kirk West, a Democrat, served as chairwoman of both the House labor and finance committees and played a role in securing a 40-hour work week for state employees. She died in January 1984. Roy Harper - >From 1952 through his retirement in 1967, one-time steel worker Roy Harper preached a get-tough-on-criminals approach to his job as Pueblo police chief. "The do-gooders are constantly pointing accusing fingers at us. The courts are making it more difficult for us to track down and convict the violators - the killers, the rapists and the thugs. And the young punks are getting away with hell, thumbing their noses at men in uniform," Harper said late in his career in an article published for "Front Page Detective." Upon his retirement from the police force, Harper won a single at-large term on Pueblo City Council with a get-tough-on-taxes message. However, his 1969 proposal to lower the city's property tax rate lost on a 5-2 vote. Harper died in November 1977. 1954 - January 5: Pueblo voters name 21 delegates to City Charter Convention. January 15: The Pueblo Chieftain and Star-Journal begin use of "honor box" newspaper racks around city. February 5: Federal government announces layoff of 800 more workers at Pueblo Depot Activity; employment levels off at 4,500. March 1: Pueblo County one of seven counties selected for Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine trials; U.S. detonation of H-bomb signals start of Atomic Age. April 6: Pueblo voters approve current city charter to replace one adopted in 1911; charter reduces number of council members to seven. May 17: U.S. Supreme Court outlaws South's school segregation. August 2: Pueblo couple arrested as alleged Communist sympathizers. August 22: State Fair's five-day run includes first-ever weekend dates. 1955 - January 17: Pueblo named All-America City by National Municipal League. May 11: Developers announce plans to build Midtown Shopping Center. May 19: Two-day rain in Southeastern Colorado causes flooding in Pueblo and other cities; North La Junta declared disaster area. September 24: President Eisenhower suffers heart attack in Denver. October 14: Developer announces 500-house addition in Belmont. November 8: Pueblo voters approve one-cent sales tax. November 26: Soviet Union announces successful test of its own H-bomb. December 3: Union megamerger results in 16 million-member AFL-CIO.
Pueblo Chieftain 7-19-1999 Our Past Century, 1956 - 1957 - Puebloans Turn Their Attention to Space - The 1956-57 period launched the space race and the arms race, with the USSR taking the lead in the former and the United States barely leading in the latter. Russia's Sputnik and a second satellite, carrying a dog, already had become the galaxy's first "space junk" by the time American scientists finally made their first contribution. But military know-how kept the U.S. a step ahead in the development and testing of the hydrogen bomb and intercontinental missiles capable of delivering them to faraway targets. Nuclear fission was only a heartbeat away, so schools, businesses and homeowners began building bomb shelters and planning for survival of an attack by a mysteriously frightening new weapon. Puebloans by the hundreds participated in a July 1957 drill and partial evacuation in response to a mock attack on Denver. The drill involved Civil Defense and government officials from cities in four surrounding states. Congressional detractors of the growing Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs predicted developing technology would make fighter pilots obsolete and lead to the institution's demise. Early 1956 brought Elvis Presley's first major hit in "Heartbreak Hotel" and predictions that his wild gyrations would propel the country's youth further into moral decline. His first performance on Ed Sullivan's Sunday night TV show renewed a national debate about media censorship that is laughable by today's standards. The release of James Dean's movie "Rebel Without a Cause" later that year fueled the furor and ignited fashion trends that captured more concern from many local parents (according to submissions to the locally written Mae Manners column) than the ongoing U.S. Supreme Court battles that finally outlawed racial desegregation of schools in the South. Otherwise, Pueblo families were enjoying continued prosperity while civic and government leaders scrambled to keep pace with the city's growth. The population had topped 100,000 and economic indicators showed no stagnation or decline in the coming decade. Research and development of guided missiles promised new jobs at the Pueblo Ordnance Depot, and CF&I Steel was on the cusp of a multimillion-dollar expansion that promised fewer layoffs and perhaps even an expanded payroll by 1960. Southern Colorado Power Co. spent more than $3 million on upgrades over two years to serve its growing customer base throughout the region. As 1957 dawned, Colorado State Hospital was home to 5,720 patients sharing space built for a maximum of 4,900. Yearly negotiations for more state funding reached a peak as the hospital fought the first of several lawsuits from former patients who had undergone involuntary sterilization during their stay. While the city's planning and zoning commission pleaded with City Council and the administration to hire a full-time planner, its members angered businesses along Elizabeth Street by deciding, after several heated public hearings early in 1957, to ease traffic congestion by restricting Elizabeth and Greenwood to one-way traffic flowing in opposite directions. School District 60 was searching for a site for a new elementary school to relieve overcrowding at Washington and Beulah Heights, while Central High School graduated its largest class in history on June 3, 1956. School District 70, which had been formed a few years earlier through the merger of several smaller rural districts, closed its last one-room schoolhouse and was beginning to feel the pinch of "urban flight" to the St. Charles Mesa, where new subdivisions were sprouting on land that had grown only corn or hay for generations. Even so, agriculture remained a strong force in the region. With the ruination of the Dust Bowl days still evident on many ranches and a growing urban thirst, water was on everyone's mind. Officials of the North Side Water District in June 1956 warned customers that meters would be installed if they couldn't follow landscape irrigation rules. Meanwhile, the district's board of directors embarked on a water-rights acquisition plan that culminated in the 1960s with an ample supply envied by numerous Front Range cities today. Meters weren't installed, though, until after voters approved a merger of the North Side and South Side districts in April 1957. That's the same year the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservation District was formed in anticipation of Congressional approval of the long-awaited $163 million Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The district would serve as a repayment vehicle for the project, proposed to divert water from the Fryingpan River on the Western Slope into the Arkansas on the other side of the Continental Divide. From there, it would be routed to a reservoir in Pueblo and stored as insurance for farmers all the way to the Kansas border. The Fry-Ark was one of many Bureau of Reclamation proposals on the drawing board that faced stiff opposition from politicians in more populous and less arid Eastern states, who didn't comprehend the value of water in the West. President Dwight Eisenhower visited Pueblo on Jan. 15, 1957, as part of a six-state Western tour of the damage done by drought in the previous two decades. Thousands of Puebloans crowded the runway at Pueblo Memorial Airport hours before his plane landed and hundreds more caught a glimpse of his motorcade on its way to the Broadacre Ranch, where an abandoned house and barn and stock tanks filled with tumbleweeds did their part to sell Ike on the Fry-Ark Project. Even so, the project's fervent proponents waited until 1962 for their dream to be inked into law, and history, by President John F. Kennedy. They Made a Difference - Morey Bernstein - Businessman Morey Bernstein focused the eyes of the world on Pueblo in 1956 with the publication of "The Search for Bridey Murphy." The book, based on hours of tape-recorded interviews with Pueblo housewife Virginia Tighe, was an overnight best-seller. It even brought a team of journalists from Time magazine here to try to uncover the true identity of "Bridey." The book detailed Mrs. Tighe's recollections, under hypnosis induced by Bernstein, of a former life in 17th century Ireland. The Pueblo Chieftain even cooperated with Bernstein's efforts to protect Mrs. Tighe's identity, referring to her as Ruth Simmons in stories related to the controversial novel. Chieftain readers were treated to a "serial" printing of the book, which was published in 34 countries and 30 languages. Bernstein spent much of his time in New York City for a few years after the book and a subsequent record album taken from his "interviews" sparked public battles over reincarnation and the afterlife. In later years, he split his time between Pueblo and Miami, leading an increasingly solitary existence until he died in April 1999. Although he owned a huge home on Elizabeth Street, he spent his last 25 years in an apartment at the Abriendo Arms. During those years he and Uncle Abe, who with Bernstein's father operated Bernstein Bros. manufacturing, quietly gave financial support and land upon which the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center and the convention center eventually were built. Bernstein also is credited with playing a key role in the establishment of Colorado City, where he requested his ashes be spread. At his request, there was no memorial service or even an obituary notice. Elizabeth Hudspeth - Residents of Regency Park neighborhood are still waiting for the development of Hudspeth Park on a 10-acre plot given to the city 20 years ago by Phil and Elizabeth Hudspeth. Both were active in the city's politics and civic affairs, but Mrs. Hudspeth's influence outlasted her husband's. He died in 1981. The two met in California, where he was studying the dairy business on behalf of his family's Superior Dairy in Pueblo and she was an aspiring actress. They married in 1927 and returned to Pueblo, where Mrs. Hudspeth unleashed her talents as a City Council member and a delegate to the charter convention that changed Pueblo's government from a mayoral system to the current city manager setup. Years later, following unsuccessful runs for seats in both houses of the state Legislature, she was a vocal opponent of a move to return to a mayoral type of government. She also served as president of the YWCA and the City Federation of Women's Clubs. She created and managed the speaker's bureau for the Community Chest (now United Way) and the Pueblo Civic Symphony. A member and first reader at First Church of Christ, Scientist, she and her husband donated the land for the church on Pennwood Lane. They gave the land for the park to the city in 1979. When Mrs. Hudspeth died in 1996, family members requested memorials be made to the city to develop the park, which has become an issue of contention among Regency residents. 1956 - April 11: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Colorado River Bill, authorizing $760 million for the project to supply power and irrigation water to several Western states. June 18: In hopes of averting a strike, CF&I President Alwin F. Franz announces plans for a multimillion-dollar expansion that would bring employment to 9,000 and reduce the need for seasonal layoffs. June 30: 650,000 Steelworkers strike at mills across the nation. July 20: Pueblo participates in "Operation Alert," a drill regarding fallout preparedness in the event of a hydrogen bomb falling on Denver. Sept. 9: A record 54 million Americans watch Elvis Presley's performance on Ed Sullivan's "Talk of the Town." Oct. 4: USSR launches Sputnik, first satellite in space. 1957 - Jan. 11: John Gilbert Graham of Denver is executed in Canon City for the bombing of a United Airlines plane that killed 44, including his mother. Jan. 15: President Dwight D. Eisenhower visits Pueblo. March 13: Teamsters vice president Jimmy Hoffa is arrested on suspicion of bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. May 9: CF&I President Alwin F. Franz receives Horatio Alger award in New York City. July 1: North Side and South Side water districts merge to form Pueblo Board of Water Works.
Pueblo Chieftain 7-26-1999 Our Past Century, 1958 - 1959 - City Undergoes Growth Surge - The end of the 1950s brought plenty of growth and prosperity to Pueblo. New shopping centers were being constructed across the city; schools were being built at a record pace, businesses were expanding and neighborhoods were being developed citywide. By the end of 1958, Pueblo County's population had grown to 129,101 - 3,356 more than the 1957 count. The city census climbed to 110,952 as 1958 drew to a close. Aiding the population growth was the increase in births attributed to the baby boom. On New Year's Day 1958, nine babies were born, setting a record for the most on a New Year's Day. Four months later, Pueblo welcomed its first set of triplets - Celina, Cecilia and Celestia Chacon - in more than 23 years. The girls' progress was chronicled in The Pueblo Chieftain up until they were dismissed from the hospital in June. New neighborhoods like Belmont, Highland Park, Sunset Park and Lynn Gardens were growing at a rapid pace, along with several rural communities. In the county, Blende was touted as a place for city workers to live in a small-town atmosphere, while Boone was said to be thriving once again following a year of moisture that resulted in strong bean, corn and soybean production. In 1958, Pueblo was awarded $2.1 million to build low-income housing throughout the city. The late 1950s were a time for local businesses and industry - with the exception of the steel industry - to thrive. The Colorado State Hospital continued its rapid growth. In 1958, the patient population was at 5,750 and there were 2,650 employees - the highest numbers in the history of the institution. The Pueblo City-County Health Department moved into its new $357,000 building on Central Main Street in May 1958. The new building featured a sanitation and nursing section, lab facilities, a vital statistics department and a dental and mental health division. It also had outdoor playground equipment for children. Pepsi Cola also announced a $300,000 expansion of its plant, which would allow for additional production. St. Mary-Corwin Hospital entered the final phase of a $9 million building project. The improvements included a kitchen, physical and occupational therapy records, pharmacy, doctor's lounge, new surgical units and a new emergency room. Not to be outdone, Parkview Hospital underwent a $1.2 million expansion project that would add 50 new beds. The only negative for the city was the continued lagging of the steel industry. In early 1958, the CF&I laid off 500 workers because of production cutbacks. For the first time in many years, the number of employees at the mill dipped below 7,000. Most of those laid-off employees were brought back later in the year. In July 1958, 400 employees of Triplex Corp., a piston manufacturing plant, went on strike after eight days of unsuccessful negotiations. The strike lasted a week, but would be repeated again in October before a contract eventually was settled. But the biggest blow was yet to come. In 1959, more than 7,500 CF&I employees walked out as part of a nationwide steel strike. The strike lasted until Nov. 7 when the Supreme Court upheld President Dwight Eisenhower's authority to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act and require United Steelworkers to return to their jobs for a "cooling off" period. But those setbacks did not dampen the enthusiasm of the rest of the city as construction continued to abound with new schools, recreation sites, streets and shopping centers being erected throughout town. Work continued on a new freeway through Pueblo, which was completed in 1959. The Sunset Plaza, Belmont and Pueblo (Midtown) shopping centers also were being built with several large chain stores anchoring the centers. The Belmont Center, which opened in the summer 1959, featured a Miller Supermarket, a Rexall Drug and a half dozen other retail shops. A new King Soopers Store, the first in Pueblo, was planned for a shopping center at Elizabeth and U.S. 50 West. The store was to be the biggest in the store's chain. Plans also were made to build a 32-lane bowling alley in the Pueblo Shopping Center. Not long after, it was announced that another 32-lane alley would be built in a new shopping/amusement center at Prairie and Northern. That shopping center also would have Pueblo's second King Soopers store. The new South Side shopping center, combined with Sunset Plaza, Treasure Island and South Arapahoe, would make southwest Pueblo the largest business district aside from Downtown. The growth of the city led to changes in both school districts 60 and 70, as well as Pueblo's parochial schools, with the addition of several new school buildings. In the fall 1958, Assumption School opened to help serve a growing Catholic student population. Plans also were announced in 1958 to build a girls Catholic high school on the grounds of the old St. Mary's Hospital. In 1959, South and East High Schools opened under the leadership of principals Emil Paripovich (East) and David Wilkerson (South). Work also was being done to Beulah Heights, Hellbeck, Belmont, and Goodnight elementary schools where more classrooms were added. The growth also spawned the end of a well-known education landmark. In January 1959, Riverside School, located at Mechanic and Richmond, was closed after 70 years. Students were moved to Hinsdale, Fountain and Central elementary schools. District 60 had traded the site of the school to the city for land in Sunset Park to build a new school. In District 70, seven new elementary schools were being built following the passage of a $970,000 bond issue. Another $600,000 bond issue was defeated in 1959, requiring the district to postpone making additions such as multi-purpose rooms and kitchens to the schools. With the advent of the space age, the schools also were forced to alter the curriculum to emphasis more science and math to enthusiastic students. At Pueblo College, a new student center was being built to accommodate the increasing enrollment at the school. Elsewhere in the city, the City Park swimming pool was completed and opened in the summer of 1958, compliments of a voter approved $125,000 bond. City Park also saw the completion of a miniature farm and the addition of several more amusement rides in 1959. City Council approved more than $900,000 to repair runways at Pueblo Memorial Airport, which was needed to help bring larger aircraft into the airport. The city also began work on installing a new treatment building at the sewage plant. Also in 1958, District Judge Philip Cabibi approved the creation of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, marking an important step in the future Fryingpan-Arkansas water diversion program. Other items of interest that happened during this period were: Clyde Fugate of Fruita was named the manager of the Colorado State Fair. Fredel Amos, a 13-year-old Keating student, won the spelling championship for Colorado and Wyoming. She correctly spelled "braggadocio." Randolph Montgomery, a Denver insurance salesman, was found guilty and given a life sentence for the March 1958 murder of Beverly Jean Bair. Bair was killed at a local motel, where she apparently had gone with Montgomery. The Pueblo Diocese's first bishop, Joseph C. Willging, died unexpectedly March 3, 1959. City voters soundly defeat a proposal by firemen and policemen for a 20 percent raise in April 1959. They Made a Difference - Gordon Allott - U.S. Sen. Gordon Allott grew up in Pueblo to become a high school state champion in track. Following his graduation from the University of Colorado, Allott kept on running - to a three-term career as a U.S. senator. Allott, who moved to Lamar as an adult, served in the U.S. Senate from 1954 through 1971. He was the highest ranking Republican on the Interior Committee and also was a powerful voice on the Appropriations Committee. Allott lost his bid for a fourth term, which would have left him the Senate's senior Republican. Born in Pueblo on Jan. 2, 1907, Allott graduated from Central High in 1923 and the University of Colorado's law school in 1929. At Central, he won state championships in the 100- and 220-yard dashes and the 120-yard hurdles. In college, he was named an All-American. Soon after college, Allott was offered a job in private practice in Lamar. He later became Lamar city attorney, Prowers County attorney and Prowers County district attorney. He was Colorado lieutenant governor from 1951 through 1955. Allott died in January 1989 in Denver. Charles H. Boustead - Charles H. Boustead died before dynamite and bulldozers finished boring through the Continental Divide during construction of the first phase of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The project was still making its way through Congress when Boustead, a city councilman and tireless Pueblo booster, was named the first director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The organization was established in 1958 to manage the water project in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, though it still hadn't received Congressional approval. Boustead, who was the industrial conference coordinator at CF&I Steel Corp., made countless trips to Washington, D.C., during the years before President John F. Kennedy finally signed the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project bill in 1962. He also sold his share of gold-plated frying pans to raise area funding support and awareness of the project. That campaign was a major effort during his term as president of the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce. He also was director of Pueblo Single Fund Plan in 1957. The diversion tunnel near Leadville was named in Boustead's memory after it was finished in 1969, three years after his death. Boustead was succeeded at the conservancy district by Charles L. "Tommy" Thomson. 1958 - January 11: CF&I lays off 500 workers because of production cutbacks. February 29: District 60 gym opens with Central-Centennial basketball game. March 15: Fire destroys N.O. Nelson Plumbing Building on River Street. Building is estimated at $250,000. May 29: City Park swimming pool opens. June 2: Shopping/amusement center is planned for land at Prairie and Northern Avenues. The 17-acre site will include a King Soopers store and a 32-lane bowling alley. August 29: Evangelist Oral Roberts begins a "Crusade for a Million Souls" in Pueblo. More than 77,500 people attend the 10-day event held at the State Fairgrounds. November 29: Central loses to the South Denver Rebels 7-6 in the Class AAA football championships in Denver. 1959 - January 14: Groundbreaking is held for Belmont Shopping Center. January 23: District 60 closes Riverside School after 70 years of operation. February 1: Continental Airlines resumes southbound and northbound flights through Pueblo. April 21: District 70 voters reject a $600,000 bond issue, which was to be used to finish the construction projects at several schools. July 15: 500,000 Steelworkers nationwide go on strike. In Pueblo, more than 7,500 members of the Locals 2101 and 3267 are among those who strike. August 24: George Fellows is named city manager. His salary was $15,000. November 29: U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy visits Pueblo on a trip through Colorado and Wyoming.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-2-1999 Our Past Century, 1960 - 1961 - Amid Prosperity, Cold War Rumbles - Of all the colorful stories heard today about youthful unrest in the late 1960s, little is heard about the nation's young people in the decade's early years. A poll of the nation's young people concluded they were "a bunch of unreconstructed optimists, having little in common with the lost generations that you hear about," The Chieftain reported in 1960. Locally, the start of the decade saw Puebloans riding high with postwar optimism; they shared the nation's confidence that developing technology could remedy just about any ill. Yet, Puebloans like citizens nationwide were shaken every so often by some unpredictable Cold War rumblings. President Dwight Eisenhower's last days in office were tense, with the Soviet Union formally charging American U-2 reconnaissance pilot Francis Gary Powers with espionage, after shooting his plane down the previous May. In Cuba, Fidel Castro came to power and nationalized American property in his country. In Berlin, the communist government suddenly threw up a concrete wall to keep East Germans in East Germany. In August 1961, The Chieftain reported 250,000 military reservists were on alert because of the Berlin crisis. Meanwhile, Puebloans were relishing an era of progress. A major 1960 event was the dedication of seven new District 70 schools, and Navy Adm. Arleigh A. Burke visited each school by helicopter. Businesses were expanding and new homes were springing up in Belmont, Sunset Park, La Vista Hills and Lynn Gardens. Among the building projects of the early 1960s were a $1.25 million expansion of Parkview Episcopal Hospital; construction of $4 million maintenance shops at Pueblo Ordnance Depot; $300,000 in city street and sewer upgrades; and a new $600,000 building to house The Pueblo Star-Journal and Chieftain. Nationally, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as president in January 1961, after squeaking past Republican Richard Nixon in the November election. In April, the United States lost a dramatic round in the space race when the Soviet Union put a man in orbit for the first time. The same month, the nations would again clash after the U.S.-supported Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles raised Russia's ire. Soon Russian ships, sitting miles off the Florida coast, pointed missiles at U.S. cities. The standoff ended when the Russians blinked on the brink of war. The possibility of nuclear attack became dinner-table conversation and American families talked about fallout shelters. Nations built their arms supplies and that was good news for steel industry cities like Pueblo. The civil rights movement continued to gain attention in America. The treatment of minorities soon would undergo great change. For instance, a January 1961 headline of "Kennedy Puts Negro In Housing Post" strikes a note that today would be taboo. On the local scene: The Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, city of Pueblo and Pueblo Industrial Development Corporation were working to make some 810 acres of industrial property available at Pueblo Memorial Airport. CF&I was buoyed by a 21_2 (?) year contract settlement reached in December 1960 between the Steelworkers Union and the nation's big steel producers. The next year, the company proposed a $15 million expansion. Prospects were also bright in 1961 for Pueblo's 72-year-old local Walter Brewery. The company took over the Omaha-based Metz Brewery to widen production to Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa. More schools were in the works. District 70 added 16 classrooms to accommodate expanding enrollment. Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish expanded its educational facilities with a new $313,000 school at 10th and Grand. The community took pride in the high number of kids taking swimming lessons at City Park pool, along with the other recent improvements completed at the park's Happy Time Ranch and Kiddie Rides. A School District 60 curriculum committee studied the possibility of Saturday classes in Pueblo. A volunteer teacher group with pupil backing made the suggestion. Teachers would be allowed to teach their pet subjects and pupils would have a chance to study subjects outside the normal course. The Fryingpan-Arkansas water diversion project showed signs of progress toward congressional approval, and Pueblo College boosters began to talk of converting to a four-year institution. Another milestone was noted Dec. 2, 1961, at which time the recently built Pueblo Public Schools Stadium was first filled to capacity. The throng wasn't disappointed as Pueblo Central's Wildcats defeated the Lakewood Tigers 34-0 for the 1961 State AAA Football Championship Title. They Made a Difference - Frank E. Evans - Frank Evans was born in Pueblo in 1923 and went to high school in Colorado Springs. His college education was interrupted by service as a pilot in the Naval Air Corps in World War II, but he completed law school at the University of Denver and returned to Pueblo to practice law. In 1960, Democrat Evans was elected a state representative, and he served four years before running for Congress in the 3rd District. He remained in Congress for seven terms and was a strong supporter of Colorado water projects including the Fryingpan-Arkansas project which built Pueblo Dam. He became known as a national authority on water policy. The U.S. Government Printing Office Distribution Center and the Department of Transportation test track were both established in Pueblo County during Evans' 14 years in Congress. Evans retired from the House in 1979. He and his wife Eleanor now reside in Santa Fe, N.M. Mary E. Shomer - Mary Shomer was the first woman to serve as Pueblo County treasurer. She was associated with the treasurer's office for 33 years. She was appointed to the treasurer's post in 1955, following the death of J. E. Creel. A Democrat, she won re-election in four successive terms and retired in 1974. Mrs. Shomer is credited with modernizing the treasurer's operations, including the installation of computers in anticipation of a data processing center for all county offices. Outside of work, she was involved in numerous professional and community organizations, including the Lambda Alpha Lambda Sorority, Eastern Star, Pueblo Quota Club International and Qui Vive Club of the YWCA. A Walsenburg native, she moved to Pueblo in 1942. She was in her 90s when she died in March 1998. 1960 - March: Western Colorado Congressman Wayne N. Aspinall carries the fight in Congress for Fryingpan-Arkansas project. March 19: Seven new District 70 schools are dedicated. August 18: Fire destroyed the Labor Temple at Richmond and Union. September 7: Heaton and Pitts Junior High Schools open. December 4: City officials announce that Pueblo's Municipal Golf Course is operating "in the black" three years after City Council returned control to the parks department. December: The Food and Drug Administration approves first birth control pills. 1961 - March 18: The Pueblo Junior College basketball team defeats Tyler (Texas) Junior College 79-66 in the National Junior College Tournament championship in Hutchinson, Kan., in what remains today as Colorado's lone national collegiate basketball championship. Harry Simmons was the PJC coach. May 25: Communist East Germany constructs the Berlin Wall. August 31: President Kennedy asks Congress to approve a program to send men to the moon. December 2: Central wins state AAA football title. December 7: 33 city bus employees go on strike until Dec. 14. December 22: James Davis is the first U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-9-1999 Our Past Century, 1962 - 1963 - When Camelot Lived, and Died - The early 1960s belonged to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. For four consecutive years, JFK was voted by journalists as the world's top newsmaker. Youth and vigor were his trademarks. The president earned high marks in 1962 when he angrily forced U.S. steelmakers to roll back their price hikes on steel and stared down Soviet leader Khrushchev and Cuban President Fidel Castro over removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. Back at Camelot, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy captured the hearts of Americans by opening the White House to television cameras. Like a house of cards, Kennedy's Camelot came crashing down on Nov. 22, 1963, that fateful day when shots rang out in Dallas and Americans were told the unbelievable news that the president had been murdered. As the nation's 35th president was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, a shaken nation began to sense that indeed the times were a changin', but not necessarily for the good. The images of those dark days are permanently etched in the memories of every American who was alive at that time. Haunting images were seen on newspaper front pages or flashed on television news broadcasts. For Puebloans, the events in Dallas in November 1963 seemed especially personal. Only 14 months earlier, an estimated 50,000 enthusiastic citizens had endured 100-degree temperatures, lined the streets of Pueblo and crowded into what is now Dutch Clark Stadium for a glimpse of the popular president. At the invitation of Chieftain publisher Frank S. Hoag Jr., Kennedy came to Pueblo to help celebrate the passage of the Fryingpan-Arkansas water diversion project, the sweeping $170 million water project that would result in construction of the Pueblo Dam and a reservoir to store water to irrigate parched farmlands downstream on the Arkansas River. The controversial project started high in the mountains near Leadville where 69,200 acre feet of water from the Fryingpan River on the Western Slope was to be diverted into the Arkansas River via a 5.3-mile tunnel blasted through the Continental Divide. At Pueblo, a $43.6 million reservoir would be built to store 400,000 acre-feet of water. A series of hydroelectric plants along the project would someday provide about 500 kilowatt-hours of electric energy, planners said. To Puebloans and farmers downstream, the Fryingpan-Arkansas project promised protection from drought in dry years and flood during wet years. In 1962, when Kennedy signed the legislation, Pueblo was experiencing a mild drought with only 8.39 inches of moisture recorded by the National Weather Service. The wettest year on record was 1921, the year of the great flood, when 20.38 inches was recorded. Also that year, Pueblo continued to grow as 661_2 (?) acres were added to the city by the annexations of the East Mesa Sanitation District and the Country Club Heights area. Southern Colorado Power added 776 new customers during the same time, bringing the total number to 50,037. At the polls that year, Colorado experienced a Republican uprising as John A. Love defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve McNichols by 80,000 votes. In the same election Democratic U.S. Sen. John A. Carroll was beaten soundly by challenger Peter H. Dominick. For CF&I Steel, 1963 was the best year since 1957. In the decade before 1963, more than $150 million in modernization had taken place and the Pueblo steel maker was holding its own against foreign competition. In Colorado, Gov. Love's tax cut proposal was passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and voted the top news story in the state in 1963. The measure cut state income for fiscal years 1964 and 1965 by more than $16 million. The state's "man of the year" was a medical team in Denver responsible for as many as 50 kidney transplants. At year's end, 31 of the patients still were alive. The team also performed a series of liver transplants and capped the year with medical history's first successful transplant of animal kidneys to a human. Pueblo retailers heralded 1963 as the best year in history, and construction was booming. Estimated value of construction in the county almost doubled the previous year - $16.6 million, compared to $8.5 million. Only weeks before Kennedy died, hope for the peace and prosperity promised by Kennedy was shadowed by another November presidential assassination that would set the tone for America. On Nov. 1, South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem was killed in a military coup. In the next year, Vietnam would become a household word as a major U.S. troop buildup began. They Made a Difference - Dallas Bordeaux - Dallas Bordeaux, also known as Chief Eagle of the Teton Sioux, was born on the Rosebud Reservation, S.D., and moved to Pueblo after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. In a Feb. 16, 1955 feature story in The Pueblo Chieftain, Bordeaux was described as a former professional boxer who lost only three of 25 professional fights. At the time, he was working at CF&I and was renowned as a cake decorator. During the '60s, Bordeaux completed 18 years of research on his book, "Winter Count" and was a frequent lecturer on Native American culture. In "Winter Count," Bordeaux related the Sioux version that Gen. George A. Custer committed suicide at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. Bordeaux also was a native dancer who organized powwows in Pueblo and at the Colorado State Fair. He appeared in the movie, "A Man Called Horse." Bordeaux died July 22, 1980, following a heart attack. He was 54. William Daney - Children of all ages who have enjoyed a ride on the City Park Lakeshore Line miniature railroad owe a debt of gratitude to William Daney. The CF&I steelworker built the City Park engine in 1951 and built more than a dozen miniature railroad engines during his career. He and his family operated the City Park line until 1975 when the city purchased the railroad for $15,000, about one-third of its true value. Daney said the little railroad put his children through college. He died at age 97 on May 5, 1996. Raymond Jones - Raymond Jones, a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals since 1987, graduated from South High School in 1963. During his senior year, Jones was one of 12 Eagle Scouts selected to deliver a national report on scouting to President Kennedy. While in Washington, Jones also met FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Jones attended Colorado College on a football scholarship and later worked his way through Harvard Law School as a social worker with teen-age street gangs. He served as Denver traffic judge and district court judge before he was appointed to the appeals court. 1962 - February 20: John Glenn orbits Earth three times in Friendship 7 after mission was postponed 10 times. March 30: President names Colorado's Byron R. White to Supreme Court. White was in Pueblo the day the appointment was announced. He was the first Coloradan to serve on court. June 24: U.S. Supreme Court bans prayer in school. August 5: Actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home of a drug overdose; suicide was suspected. August 17: President Kennedy visited Pueblo. September 9: Mrs. Jerry Manka became Pueblo's first female mail carrier under Kennedy's policy of non-discrimination in federal hiring. October 28: President Kennedy went on national television to tell America about the Cuban missile crisis: The week that shook the world. 1963 - April 1: Construction began on BTC towers, 150-apartment building now named Villa Pueblo Towers. May 18: JFK sent troops in to Birmingham after violence errupts in Civil Rights demonstration. June 3: Pope John XXIII died on June 30 and was succeeded by Pope Paul VI. June 12: NAACP leader Medgar Evers slain dead in ambush in Mississippi. August 10: Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the newborn son of President and Mrs. Kennedy, died of respiratory distress. August 28: More than 200,000 demonstrate at Washington Mall where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. November 22: President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas. Communist sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald held. Lyndon Baines Johnson sworn in as president. November 30: Photo: Beatles "She Loves You" hits third on charts.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-16-1999 Our Past Century, 1964 - 1965 - Vietnam Grabs National Spotlight - Pueblo got a new college campus, a new library building and the first evidence of a new dam and a reservoir-to-be in the years 1964 and 1965. The nation got another four years with Lyndon Johnson, the Civil Rights Act and an unwanted familiarity with place names in North and South Vietnam. City, nation and world tragically intersected in the 1965 deaths of former Puebloan Army Pfc. Kenneth D. Johnston, 24, and Pueblo Marine Lt. Larry R. Taylor, 28, in Vietnam. Another Puebloan, 21-year-old John R. Peralta, told Newsweek magazine in August 1965, "I've never seen so much blood in my life." Peralta was a Navy medic in South Vietnam, and he spoke about the battle of Van Tuong in which Marines launched a major push against the Viet Cong. Vietnam was on the mind of President Johnson when 1964 began, and he announced a new "peace offensive" and a "hard line on communists." A few days later, he worried aloud about draft ineligibles - an estimated one-third of American 18-year-olds weren't fit for induction - and described an effort to correct their mental and physical flaws. Johnson called it "the most important human salvage program in the history of the country." As 1964 dawned, Nikita Khrushchev still was at the helm of the Soviet Union; Pope Paul VI headed the Roman Catholic Church; Sen. Barry Goldwater announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the presidency; and Gov. John Love led the state of Colorado. Pueblo had approximately 95,000 people, and a staggering 43,000 of them showed up at clinics across town Jan. 5 to get the new oral polio vaccine - a testament to how badly the disease had frightened them in the preceding years. Americans learned that smoking could have deadly consequences. A secret report signed by the U.S. surgeon general was released that January, but news of it had been leaked earlier by a London tabloid. Ten scientists - five of them smokers - had worked for 14 months on the report that cited cigarette smoking as a major cause of lung cancer, cancer of the larynx and chronic bronchitis. Pueblo was poised for the construction that would be brought by the Fryingpan-Arkansas project. On New Year's Eve, 1963, President Johnson had signed a Public Works Administration bill which included more than $1.5 million for the project. Six months later, Army engineers built a temporary Bailey bridge across the Arkansas River west of town so survey crews from the Bureau of Reclamation could work on both banks. And the city had taxpayers' approval on bond issues that would fund the construction of a new McClelland Library, a swimming pool in Mineral Palace Park and more Downtown parking. Public school enrollment was 29,000 in February 1964, and Southern Colorado State College counted just shy of 2,000 students and looked forward to the groundbreaking for its new Belmont campus in May. First phase of the SCSC project would include site development, installation of utilities, construction of the central heating plant, library-classroom building and science building; $3.3 million was budgeted. The first students attended classes on the new campus in January 1966. Other 1964 construction projects included additions to Sunset Park Elementary, Pitts Junior High and South High School; two new Catholic schools, one of them a boys high school; the $1.6 million BTC Tower House apartments (now called Villa Pueblo); Presbyterian Towers; $3 million in improvements to the Colorado State Hospital; and a $400,000 cattle barn at the Colorado State Fairgrounds. Vietnam still was on President Johnson's mind at the beginning of 1965, along with NATO, Africa and civil-rights strife at home. By year's end, the Vietnam War buildup had become the No. 1 story, according to the Associated Press, while a riot in the Watts district of Los Angeles was the No. 2 story. The August rioting started after a highway patrolman arrested a young black on suspicion of drunken driving. At the riot's peak, an estimated 7,000 rioters faced 900 policemen and 14,000 National Guardsmen. Thirty-four people died and more than 1,000 buildings were damaged. Enactment of the voting rights law and intensive registration drives resulted in approximately 500,000 blacks becoming voters during 1965. Black protest marches, pickets and boycotts were scattered across the South. The year also saw resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and a Congressional investigation into its activities. In Pueblo, a black Methodist church and a white one joined hands and agreed to worship God as one congregation. The new McClelland Library opened in June 1965, a time when Pueblo County employment was at a five-year high: 39,400 people were at work. Also in June of that year, Southern Colorado State College graduated its first four-year class of 260 in a ceremony on the Orman campus. But all the other June events were eclipsed by the Fountain Creek flood, which occurred June 17. The flood washed away the Pinon bridge, buckled the bridge at the Fountain-Arkansas confluence, cracked a pillar supporting the East Eighth Street bridge, closed the freeway, forced evacuation of lower East Side and Park Hill residents, and swept into the North Santa Fe and North Main area near 13th Street. Telephone, mail and transportation services were stopped or slowed by the flood, and some parts of the city were without electricity. Pueblo was not the only community hit by flooding. Brush, Sterling, Greeley, Fort Morgan and La Junta, Las Animas, Lamar and Holly suffered property damage that climbed to more than $100 million. President Johnson declared the state a disaster area, which qualified it for federal aid. In November 1965, Coloradans returned the show of support to Johnson. Petitions expressing approval of his Vietnam policy were signed by 25,000 people despite the prediction that "bigger, bloodier battles" were ahead. Washington officials talked of doubling the U.S. fighting force in Vietnam (it already totaled 165,000), while Pueblo boys approaching the soldiers' age played a game and cloaked themselves in glory. Central High School won the Class AAA football championship that December. They Made a Difference - M. Edward McCabe - M. Edward McCabe, son of an Irish immigrant who helped build the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, was born in Pueblo and died here in 1965 at the age of 81. He was executive vice president of Pueblo Bank and Trust at the time of his death. McCabe graduated from Pueblo schools and attended business college in Salt Lake City, returning to a job at CF&I. He became assistant cashier at the bank in 1917 and served in that capacity until he was promoted to vice president. McCabe devoted many years to community service, working on behalf of the Community Chest from its inception, the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and the Red Cross. McCabe served as deputy county treasurer from 1906 to 1917, and he served for 39 years on the Pueblo Board of Water Works. A Catholic, he was invested in the Knights of St. Gregory, a high honor for a layman, in 1949. Opal M. Keenan - Opal M. Keenan was Pueblo County's first woman justice of the peace. She retired in 1965 when justice of the peace courts became county courts. She served as a justice for seven years, but lacked the necessary law degree to become a county court judge. She initially was appointed as justice of the peace following the death of her husband, and was re-elected twice. She prided herself on helping, not just convicting, wrongdoers brought before her. Mrs. Keenan came to Pueblo from Kansas in 1913 with her parents. She worked on early "computing machines," taught piano lessons and devoted much time to local organizations. She was secretary of the Pueblo County Democratic central committee for 16 years and a member of the Jane Jeffersons. She held offices in the American Business Women's Association and the auxiliary to VFW Post 61, and she also belonged to Quota Club, Pueblo Business and Professional Women's Club and women's Masonic organizations. She died in 1968. 1964 - January 5: An estimated 43,000 Puebloans get Type II Sabin oral polio vaccine at clinics across city. June: Tenth anniversary of Pueblo Memorial Airport at site of former Army Air Base. July 1: Army engineers erect temporary bridge across Arkansas River 6 miles west of the city so survey crews can begin work for Pueblo Dam and reservoir. July 6: Bennett Cerf, star of television's "What's My Line?" and president of Random House, appears at Columbia Savings to autograph copies of his "American College Dictionary." August 26: Beatles set off small riot in Denver when they arrive for a performance; 2,000 screaming teen-agers break through police lines around the group's hotel. November 3: Democrat Frank Evans dethrones 11-term Republican J. Edgar Chenoweth for Third Congressional District seat. November 13: Jack Linkletter's "Hootenanny" show brings folk music to Memorial Hall. 1965 - January 15: New $4.5 million general hospital building dedicated at Colorado State Hospital. February 9: Fund-raising drive starts for educational TV station at SCSC; goal is $50,000. June 1: New McClelland Library building opens. June 13: White St. Paul Methodist and black Scott Methodist churches merge. June 17: Rampaging Fountain River roars through Pueblo; after a week of flooding, state's damage total is $102 million. September 18: Mineral Palace Park museum opens in former park caretaker's house; McClelland Collection items displayed. November 24: Shutdown started at CF&I's basic oxygen plant and blast furnace department because of trainmen's strike; 100 men laid off from oxygen plant. December 4: Central High School wins Class AAA state football championship at Pueblo Public School Stadium.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-23-1999 Our Past Century, 1966 - 1967 - Vietnam Takes Toll on Pueblo's Sons - Pueblo Police Chief Roy Harper decided to purchase riot helmets for city police officers in March 1966 just to be on the safe side. There hadn't been riots or demonstrations in the Steel City, but there had been in many American cities that year. The tension between the white, crew-cut Establishment and the nation's long-haired college students and angry minorities was deepening. Young people shopping at Pueblo music stores were buying the new "Help" album by The Beatles. Yet, they were also buying Army Sgt. Barry Sadler's "Ballad of the Green Berets." Even in pop music, it was impossible to ignore the growing war in Vietnam. The war was on the front pages of The Chieftain and Star-Journal every day, complete with combat photos and maps where the heaviest fighting was taking place. More chilling were the small stories that were cropping up showing the smiling faces of young Pueblo men, in Army caps or Marine helmets, along with the news they had been killed in action. Over the next two years, 16 Pueblo men would be killed in action: Cpl. James Spinuzzi, Sgt. Alex Montoya, Sgt. David Garcia, Pfc. John Robbins, Pfc. Pete Martinez, Pfc. Phillip Wiley, Pfc. Manuel Herrera. The list would go on through the war until it totaled 58 dead. U.S. Sen. Gordon Allott, R-Colo., harshly criticized President Lyndon Johnson for continuing to send more U.S. troops to Vietnam without congressional approval. Colorado's other Republican senator, Pete Dominick, scorned war critics, saying U.S. troops were winning. In New York City that March, more than 20,000 anti-war protesters took to the streets, only to end up fighting with older veterans who claimed the "draft dodgers" were supporting the North Vietnamese. Pueblo was much calmer on the surface. The city was celebrating the fact that the Belmont campus of Southern Colorado State College had just opened for classes and a new $1.5 million Judicial Building would be open that May. Even so, more than 300 people turned out in support of forming a Pueblo Council for Human Relations, charging that minorities were being victimized by police brutality. Several organizers said that Chief Harper needed to resign. In response, another citizens group formed: The Pueblo Committee in Support of Local Police. It's organizer, the Rev. Jack Green, told reporters that allegations of police brutality were a tactic used by "the Communist Party." In April, Vice President Hubert Humphrey stopped in Pueblo for a quick Democratic fund-raiser. Among the ambitious young Dems was state Sen. Roy Romer, who announced he would challenge Allott in the fall. City Manager George Fellows surprised City Council on June 1 by announcing that he would take the same job in Colorado Springs, but for $22,000 a year (he was paid $18,000 in Pueblo). That triggered a six-month search through more than 50 applicants before council hired Fred E. Weisbrod in December. The summer of 1966 was horrifying for its random violence. On July 14, Richard Speck broke into a Chicago apartment and stabbed eight nurses to death. Police were able to identify him by a tattoo on his arm that said, "Born To Kill." Two weeks later, former Marine Charles Whitman - who was suffering from a brain tumor - climbed the University of Texas tower in Austin and used his sharpshooting skills to kill 12 bystanders and wound 30 before police gunned him down. On Aug. 16, Puebloans were stunned by the death of William M. White, 54, president of Minnequa Bank and a CF&I board member. White was killed in a car accident near the Pueblo Army Depot. Businessmen from across the nation attended his funeral. On Sept. 24, Sen. Ted Kennedy came to Pueblo for a fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Frank Evans, D-Colo. Kennedy was escorted to the Fairgrounds for the event when he was given a telegram that said Ethel Kennedy's brother, George Skakel, had been killed in a plane crash in Idaho. Kennedy made his apologies to the local Democrats and left the dinner. In the November 1966 elections, Allott easily defeated the upstart Romer and Gov. John Love defeated former Lt. Gov. Robert Knous to stay in office. Out in California, former actor Ronald Reagan was elected governor. In a tragic turn of events, Dr. Robert Marsh was elected Pueblo County coroner but was killed in an airplane crash the next day. The year ended with yet another dark reminder of the growing cost of Vietnam. Sgt. Allen Ford of Pueblo was killed on his way to a Bob Hope Christmas show when the helicopter in which he was riding lost a rotor and crashed. Just before the new year, Colorado state health officials warned city officials that Pueblo's sewer treatment plant was dumping too much raw sewage into the Arkansas River. Council took the brave step in December of narrowly approving a $2 a month sewer fee ($1 for senior citizens) to pay for expanding and improving the sewer plant. Angry citizens started a petition campaign to repeal the fee and forced a special election in February 1967. They easily won the election and the sewer fee was set aside. Colorado's General Assembly stunned many voters and the nation that spring by narrowly approving one of the most liberal abortion laws in the country. Authored by state Rep. Richard Lamm - the future three-term governor - the legislation permitted abortions for mental or physical health reasons, if the fetus showed signs of birth defects, or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. State Sen. Vincent Massari, D-Pueblo, was among the many critics who scorned the legislation as legalizing "state murder." The culture war between young and old, black and white, was raging all over the country in the summer of 1967. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court abolished all state laws that prohibited interracial marriages. It also reversed the conviction of a rapist, Carlos Miranda, saying he had not been adequately informed of his rights when arrested. On July 23, Puebloans held their breath as 25-month-old Julie Rodriguez became one of the first people to receive a liver transplant in a pioneering surgery at Colorado General Hospital. The little girl survived the surgery and was a statewide celebrity until cancer ended her life in August 1968. Hoping to ease racial friction in Pueblo, council gave initial approval in August to formally appointing the Pueblo Council on Human Relations as the city's tool for dealing with discrimination complaints. Police Chief Harper blocked that, however, complaining that the human relations council would become a citizens committee to oversee the police department. On August 25, Pueblo celebrated the groundbreaking of the proposed Pueblo Dam, the biggest cog in the $203 million Fryingpan-Arkansas water project. A long list of dignitaries, including Gov. Love, attended the event, which began work on the 357,000 acre-foot reservoir. In a sign of the times, the Colorado State Fair added Fiesta Day to its week of events. The new addition was intended "to celebrate Mexican costumes, food and music." Police Chief Harper surprised city residents that fall by announcing his intention to run for a seat on council. Harper took leave from his police job to campaign and after easily winning a seat, announced his retirement as chief. In the same election, city voters also agreed to double the city's sales tax to two cents. By the year's end, another eight Pueblo fighting men had been killed in Vietnam, including Air Force Capt. Jerome Starkweather, son of Pueblo County Commissioner Marvin Starkweather. They Made a Difference - John A. Rosales - Rosales, 72, grew up as a farmworker in the Pueblo area but became the first member of his family to graduate from high school and college. He received his bachelor's degree in 1950 from what is now the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree in 1960 from The Colorado College. He taught in District 60 schools for 18 years before joining the faculty of Southern Colorado State College (now the University of Southern Colorado). Rosales was elected to City Council in 1965 and was an advocate for Pueblo's Hispanic community and businesses during his four-year term. He helped to organize the Fiesta Day celebrations that became part of the Colorado State Fair in 1967. Rosales left Pueblo in 1971 to teach multicultural studies at UNC in Greeley. He returned to Pueblo in 1983 as a planner for the University of Southern Colorado. Among his many awards, Rosales and his wife, Patricia, who also is a teacher, received the National Education Association's Human Relations Award. Rosales currently lives in Greeley where he is a professor emeritus at UNC. Vincent Massari - There are few Pueblo political legends to rival Vincent Massari, the Italian immigrant who came to Southern Colorado to work in the coal fields and ended up becoming an institution in the General Assembly. Massari was born in Italy in 1899, but his family brought him to the Trinidad area in 1915. He later found a job as a reporter with the Italian language newspaper, L'Unione, in Pueblo. Later, he became a part owner of the newspaper. Politics attracted Massari from the start and in 1954 he was elected to the state House of Representatives. He served there for 10 years before getting elected to the Senate in 1964, where he served until his death in 1976. Massari was known as "Mr. Pueblo" at the State House, where he fought for local institutions such as the Colorado State Fair. In particular, Massari was an advocate for Pueblo Junior College, which he nurtured and protected through its transformation into Southern Colorado State College and finally, the University of Southern Colorado. The school's fieldhouse is named for him. 1966 - January: The Belmont campus of Southern Colorado State College opens for classes. February: North American Air Defense Command unveils its new $142 million complex inside Cheyenne Mountain. March: Pueblo police acquire new riot helmets. April 14: Vice President Hubert Humphrey visits Pueblo. May: New $1.5 million Judicial Building opens. June: City Manager George Fellows resigns to take job in Colorado Springs. August: Beatle John Lennon apologizes for sayings The Beatles are more popular than "Jesus Christ" after religious leaders call for a national boycott of Beatle records. 1967 - January: Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a sudden fire in the command module during a test. February: City voters reject proposed $2 sewer user fee. May: Navy invites city officials to dedicate USS Pueblo, a new "research" ship, at Puget Sound, Wash. July: Surgeons successfully transplant liver into 25-month-old Julie Rodriguez at Colorado General Hospital. August: Ground breaking for the new Pueblo Reservoir and dam.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-30-1999 Our Past Century, 1968 - 1969 - Rage, Love and Peace Fill the Air - These were the Days of Rage and three days of nothing but peace, love and music. These were the days of Helter Skelter and the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground, Yippies, SDS, hippies, LSD, and the Chicago Democratic Convention. There were assassinations, moratoriums, peace marches that ended in violence and college semesters that ended with students occupying the schools. There was an intelligence ship named Pueblo seized by the North Koreans and there was the moon, reached by American know-how and bravery. And then there were the Tet offensive and My Lai, just about a month apart. It was 1968 and 1969, years that go down with the post-World War I 1919-21 period, the Great Depression and the early 1950s as the most awful and fascinating of the 20th century in America. Pueblo was spared the street violence and rage that came as close as the University of Colorado and Denver. But even in the Steel City, things began to change. As always, Puebloans were concerned about their county's growth, their schools and how they were perceived by the outside world. More outrage was expressed over a book about Colorado that disparaged the city as being "lunch bucket, unsophisticated, called 'Pewtown' because of its mills," than about Pueblo boys getting killed in Vietnam, a war that many thought then and still think now should not have been America's to fight. The deaths of Southern Colorado's sons were reported solemnly, succinctly and on Page One of the city's papers, a place seemingly reserved for the chaos that had hit the nation and the world. On Jan. 23, 1968, the North Koreans grabbed the USS Pueblo, which surrendered without a fight. It was armed with just two machine guns. One man was killed and others were wounded in the attack. Puebloans immediately rallied for the namesake ship and its 82 crew members, and when they were finally released in December of that year, local headlines screamed with delight. Before their release, the skipper's wife, Rose Bucher, was flown to the city and feted by citizens. In 1969, her husband, Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, visited to a hero's welcome, much better than the one the Navy afforded him after the crew's release. During those years, public school teachers from around the state threatened mass resignations and "sanctions" against school districts, including teachers in District 60 and their more militant counterparts in District 70. In February 1968, Pueblo's City Council discussed what it should do if riots broke out in the city, as they had in many major U.S. cities. But, according to the Pueblo Star-Journal and Chieftain, it was quiet here. When Martin Luther King was gunned down in Memphis in April 1968, a group of 450 Puebloans took to the streets for a silent march. During the nationwide anti-war moratorium on Oct. 15, 1969, Puebloans again gathered respectfully, at the Southern Colorado State College campuses at Belmont and Orman. But SCSC coeds did successfully demonstrate against dorm curfews in March 1969. And a soon-to-be-familiar citizen, Al Gurule, led a demonstration in September 1969 at the District 60 administration building to quit embarrassing kids on welfare for getting free lunches at schools. Tickets for free lunches were a different color than the other kids' tickets. Gurule and others also worked to get local authorities to recognize events that were important to Hispanics, like Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day. The heyday of La Raza Unida was just beginning as the 1960s were coming to a close. Despite the political uproar in the nation and in Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Prague, Tokyo and London, life in Pueblo went on. The economy was booming, with 40,000 people at work, and the Pueblo Army Depot was going full blast because of the war. The State Fair in 1968 was the longest yet, 10 days, with free admission on the last day as a "thank you" to Fairgoers. Pueblo native David Packard was named as an assistant secretary of defense in the new Nixon administration. Puebloans had voted for Nixon over Hubert H. Humphrey, 57 percent to 35 percent, with another 8 percent voting for segregationist George Wallace in the November 1968 presidential election. Construction projects dotted the city. The Judicial Building was finished and SCSC moved to its Belmont campus; the Pueblo reservoir was being built, and the runway and terminal at Pueblo Memorial Airport were renovated and enlarged. There were student riots at CU and at Colorado State University, and the state Legislature in February 1969 enacted a law making it a crime to interfere with anyone trying to get to class. In 1968, the state outlawed LSD. During late February 1969, Pueblo got a bad dose of the worldwide influenza epidemic. In one week, the number of reported flu cases increased to 262 from 154, strep throat to 205 from 83 and respiratory infections to 311 from 257. In March 1969, Frontier Airlines cut two flights from its Pueblo Airport boarding times that had attracted two-thirds of the 1,558 travelers who flew out of Pueblo the previous January. Like the rest of the world, Puebloans celebrated proudly on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. President Nixon proclaimed a national holiday and the city and county offices also shut down for the day. Ironically, the day before the lunar landing, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy's political career splashed down, when a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne died after he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy's brother, President John F. Kennedy, earlier in the decade had promised to put an American on the moon by 1970. In August 1969, Puebloan Dutch Clark was named to the NFL's all-1930s team. Those TV rock 'n' roll pretenders, the Monkees, played two nights at the 1969 State Fair. Audiences reportedly went wild during the group's performances. During the 1969 World Series, the Star-Journal ran linescores and stories on the front page as the Miracle New York Mets defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles, just another amazin' event that year. By the end of 1969, the '60s were already being written about as a magic, tragic decade. The two years that ended the period were the wildest of them all. They Made a Difference - William F. Rule - In 34 years at the Mineral Palace Park greenhouse, William F. Rule grew more than 1.7 million plants as city florist. He began his service to the city in 1930 as a laborer for the city's roads department, and he was transferred to the parks department to become city florist in 1934. To get the job, he outscored others on a city test. Reared on a ranch, Rule knew how to make things grow. "My work here has been enjoyable," he said when he retired March 13, 1968, his 70th birthday. When Rule began the job, the city greenhouse had about 25,000 plants growing. When he left, the number had grown, along with Pueblo, to 65,000 bedding plants each year. He and his wife of 53 years, Doris, lived in Mineral Palace Park the entire time he ran the greenhouse. They brought up their two daughters there. When he left the job, Rule lauded his crew, and said it would be hard to get used to not working to make the city look beautiful. John O. Holden - John O. Holden began his career at First National Bank in 1918 as a runner and collector, delivering messages and collecting debts on foot and by bicycle. When he left the bank in May 1968, he was its vice president. Following his running and biking days at the bank, Holden became a posting machine operator and bookkeeper, and in 1930 became confidential secretary to Mahlon D. Thatcher. Holden then took on jobs as assistant cashier and cashier. In 1957, he became a vice president. He handled the bank's public relations and worked at developing outside revenues for the bank. He headed the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and was a member of many business and philanthropic associations. 1968 - January 6: California doctors do first successful heart transplant in the United States. Patient Mike Kasperak died 15 days later. March 31: President Lyndon Johnson announces he will not seek re-election in November. April 4: The Rev. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis. Rioting erupts across the nation. June 5: New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles by Sirhan B. Sirhan hours after winning the California presidential primary. August 28: Riots break out during the Democratic Convention in Chicago. More than 175 protesters are arrested. October 18: U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are stripped of their medals at the Olympic Games in Mexico after they give the Black Power salute during the medal ceremonies. December 24: The 82 surviving crew members of the USS Pueblo are released by North Vietnam. 1969 - January: Seven planes are hijacked from U.S. and South America. Destination: Havana. May 22: College students seize campuses across the U.S. in response to Nixon's not ending the Vietnam War fast enough to meet their demands. July 21: Americans land on the moon. Another Apollo lunar mission is successful in November. August 9: Helter Skelter: Five people, including actress Sharon Tate, are slain by Charles Manson's followers. August 17: More than 400,000 attend the three-day Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. Among the performers were Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Who. September 4: North Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh dies. November 19: Story of the My Lai massacre breaks. An Army sergeant says that in March 1968 U.S. troops led by Lt. William Calley killed 567 unarmed Vietnamese villagers in 20 minutes. A murder trial is ordered for Calley.
Pueblo Chieftain 9-7-1999 Our Past Century, 1970 - 1971 - 1970s Dawn Amidst Tension - Wrapped in a bitter cold, the nation was still embroiled in violent debate over Vietnam as the turbulent 1960s gave way to the '70s. Although President Nixon had begun ordering some troops home, front-page headlines continued recounting American attacks and casualties as winter melted into what would become one of the bloodiest springs in history - on college campuses nationwide. With cynicism and anger being fueled by new details of the My Lai massacre as preliminary court-martial proceedings got under way, California Gov. Ronald Reagan became increasingly frustrated by the difficulties of controlling almost daily protests at the University of California at Berkeley. Early that spring, he told a gathering of news reporters that he could no longer tolerate the disruption. "If it takes a bloodbath, then let's get it over with," he said. The Pueblo Chieftain's front page weeks later - on April 28 - reported the shooting of seven protesters at Ohio State University by National Guard troops - one day before Nixon ordered American troops into Cambodia. Nineteen days later, the National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State students who were protesting the invasion. Four students were killed and eight others were injured. Young people were dying for other reasons elsewhere. Racial tensions were heightened by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and college demonstrations were becoming more militant while white parents of younger students became more vocal against forced integration of public schools. May 1970 brought the death of six black students at a Georgia rally and two at Jackson State in Mississippi. Women, too, had formed a cohesive chorus, demanding equal rights, equal pay and more respect in the home and on the job. The era also brought activism into the fledgling environmental and gay movements. Throughout the era, the inside pages of The Chieftain carried ongoing accounts of attempts by the United States, the United Nations and other countries to help in the Middle East as it teetered on the verge of war. Biafrans were starving by the thousands and there were no signs of peace in Nigeria's civil war. But local headlines trumpeted continued prosperity and plans for future growth, while uneasily describing growing tension between the city's Hispanics (Chicanos was the politically correct term then) and the city's leading businesses and institutions. The Chicano movement was taking hold. New Year's Day 1970 brought news of a settlement between the Board of Water Works and union employees threatening a strike. A few days later, the board announced its intent to join the city of Colorado Springs in seeking rights to excess Western Slope water from Ruedi Reservoir, part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. Construction on the dam at Pueblo Reservoir was behind schedule by nearly a year because of delays in building Boustead Tunnel through the Continental Divide near Leadville. CF&I was building a $40 million rail mill and had plans for other major projects that would follow. A record 5,400 students were registered for winter-quarter classes at Southern Colorado State College as it continued building a new Belmont campus. Massari Gym was under construction in 1970 and the next year brought a new president and completion of the administration building and the art and music building. Those projects contributed nearly $6 million to construction-value totals over two years. Harry T. Bowes replaced J. Victor Hopper in July 1971 and immediately began a reorganization that included cutting 15 faculty positions. He later would become the target of Chicano activists following the lead of Al Gurule, who in previous years had helped organize protests against Coors Brewing Co. and the District 60 school lunch program. As a founding member of local and statewide units of La Raza Unida, hailed as a third political party, Gurule ran for governor in 1970 and garnered more than 12,000 votes. His name was included in news of other protests around the country for years to come, including an account of his arrest while taking part in a California rally in support of farm workers and their embattled labor leaders. In 1972, a newly formed Chicano Unity Council demanded that SCSC hire a Chicano president and name Hispanics to fill at least one-third of all faculty positions and jobs at lower levels, too. Members of the council included Henry Roman, who also was president of the Pueblo Congress of Hispano Educators. Just more than 20 years later, Roman would take the helm of District 60 and work hand-in-hand with the university's second Hispanic president. Although the new decade saw many businesses and institutions expanding, new-home starts zoomed downward for several years, primarily because of Nixon's high-interest policies. Mortgage rates stood at about 8 percent through most of the era. Zoning administrator Matt Kochevar lamented in a Jan. 10, 1971, story that the only housing growth was in mobile home sales because they were "about the only thing the middle class man can afford." But that year also brought construction of several large apartment communities, including the trendy Kona Kai, Bonnymede and Belmont Square and Sunset Park complexes. In 1970, the Housing Authority received a $1.2 million grant to build Red Rocks Apartments, a public housing project in Eastwood Heights. An 80-room hotel adjacent to the Pueblo West Inn, completed in 1969, got under way in 1970. The homes going up in the planned community were being built mostly by out-of-town buyers from Michigan and the Midwest. Even if they weren't building new homes, Pueblo voters agreed to a $115 million bond issue that would finance construction of a new Centennial High and Fountain Elementary, a $4.5 million addition to Central, pools at all four high schools and numerous other improvements districtwide, including a major addition at Risley Junior High. In District 70, officials in Rye and Pueblo West found no cure for growing pains. Pueblo West officials offered to donate land, build an elementary school and lease it to the district, but the offer died on the table. In 1971, District 70 would hold a groundbreaking for a $714,000 elementary school in Avondale and $825,000 in improvements and additions to other schools, including Rye Elementary. The Pueblo Chamber of Commerce in 1971 moved from offices at the Colorado Building into a $90,000 building on Santa Fe Ave. Next door the following year, ground was broken on the long-awaited Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center and beginning stages of engineering or construction were in progress for Pueblo Boulevard, Colorado 47 to U.S. 50, as well as widening U.S. 50 to four lanes from the St. Charles Mesa to Vineland. Public Service Co. also was planning its $54 million Comanche Power Plant. The year also brought the grand opening of the federal Department of Transportation Test Center near the ordnance depot, with a ceremony that featured its first test train as well as scores of state and federal dignitaries. As Americans witnessed the trials of Lt. William Calley, Charles Manson and the Chicago Seven, judicial history in Pueblo also was in the making. Joseph E. Losavio, a young prosecutor in the district attorney's office, was named Pueblo's first chief public defender, along with fellow deputies Randall Jorgensen and Darol Biddle, in a statewide system established late in 1969. The day before Losavio was sworn into office, Raymond "Cornbread" Baca was arrested in a local shooting and became Losavio's first client. The two would face each other years later as defendant and prosecutor, but Losavio challenged the local courts for access to arrest records in the shooting that he had been denied, even though The Chieftain and Pueblo Star-Journal reporters had seen them. Losavio later became one of Pueblo's most controversial district attorneys. The dawn of the 1970s was a time of conflict and division that united some groups and gave birth to many new ones. The era brought the deaths of legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, The Doors' Jim Morrison and vocalist Janis Joplin to drug overdoses. Louis Armstrong and Gypsy Rose Lee died, too. And Frank Sinatra announced he was calling it quits. In the midst of lingering celebration over landing the first man on the moon, NASA nearly lost the crew of Apollo 13 en route to another moon mission. The astronauts returned to earth in the lunar module aboard the malfunctioning Apollo craft. Apollo 15 astronauts put their rover on the moon's surface, though, and took the whole world along for the ride. They Made a Difference - Kathy Farley and Pat Kelly - Pat Kelly and Kathy Farley have been involved in hundreds of civic, government and political causes and projects dating back to the 1950s. But their names will always be linked together as the powerhouses behind Pueblo's Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. As influential members of the Pueblo Arts Council, the two secured a $759,000 federal grant in the late 1960s and persuaded county commissioners to match that amount. They organized the center's first board of trustees, with Farley as chairwoman, and oversaw the design and construction of the center throughout 1970 and 1971. It opened in 1972. In the interim, Kelly was elected to City Council and continued service on numerous state and local boards - many of them concerned with beautification and conservation of neighborhoods and resources. While on council, she was credited with establishing a housing rehabilitation loan program. Those efforts led to her interest in the national Neighborhood Housing Program, and convinced NHS officials to contribute $50,000 to the loan program before finally establishing an operation here. She also was involved with economic development and several women's groups. Farley's other activities included politics, which would lead her to a post on the 30-member National Democratic Party and election as a county commissioner. She was the first female president of the Pueblo City-County Board of Health, a founding member of the Women's Forum of Colorado, a governmental appointee to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and a volunteer or financial donor, through her family's foundation, to a wide range of projects and organizations. Kelly and Farley served together for many years on the Pueblo Conservancy District. They both refused to accept director's fees or pay for leadership posts. They continue working for Pueblo today in numerous capacities. Most notably, Kelly, 75, is a leader in the development of the Historic Arkansas River Project, and Farley, 62, is the executive director of the Southern Colorado Community Foundation. 1970 - January 25: Charles Manson and three female co-defendants are convicted in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others. March: Pueblo TV Power began stringing overhead lines for cable television service to Pueblo's North Side. March: Pueblo Chamber of Commerce moves into new building on Santa Fe Avenue. April 10: Apollo 13 astronauts launch into space, bound for a third moon landing. An oxygen leak forces them instead to return to Earth six days later in their lunar module. April 28: Seven die in rioting at Ohio State University. September: Puebloan Al Gurule, 26, is certified as a gubernatorial candidate representing La Raza Unida party. He receives 12,296 votes in the November election. 1971 - February: Construction crews break ground on Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. March 31: Lt. William Calley convicted in My Lai massacre. Sentenced to life at hard labor by a military tribunal at Fort Benning, Ga. May: Federal, state and local dignitaries joined hundreds of Puebloans in a dedication ceremony at the Department of Transportation Test Track. June: Muhammad Ali cleared of draft-evasion charges four years after being stripped of world heavyweight title. July: Jazz great Louis Armstrong dies. September: Work begins on Pueblo Dam. September: Robert P. McCulloch, developer of Pueblo West, pays $10 million to relocate the London Bridge to Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Pueblo Chieftain 9-13-1999 Our Past Century, 1972 - 1973 - Ills Overshadow Major Developments - At times, Pueblo wasn't much to write home about in 1972. Unless you worked for the newspaper. Among the year's top stories: A police scandal that ushered in an era of special investigations into public corruption, organized crime and illegal drugs. A flat job market that prodded local leaders to board an airplane for Los Angeles - the city's first-ever job-creation junket. Continued unrest at Southern Colorado State College brought by a falling enrollment, faculty layoffs and civil rights protests among Hispanic students. The rest of the state also appeared in flux. Citing cost, environmental concerns and anti-growth sentiment, state voters soundly rejected Colorado's hosting of the 1976 Winter Olympics. The next year didn't go any smoother as the nation endured high inflation, Watergate and an energy crisis that hit Colorado particularly hard. Concern with inflation "far overshadows all other worries of the American people," pollster George Gallup said in a September 1973 study. All of the trouble seemed to overshadow other major events. At the national level, the same period brought the end of the Vietnam War and a historic visit to China by President Nixon. At the local level, the pouring of the Pueblo dam began, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center opened and a major water rights purchase quenched Pueblo's thirst. The city was designated the permanent home of the Government Printing Office, a move that would make Pueblo a household word across the nation. Voters approved a tax measure to build the Pueblo Ice Arena. Electronics czar and Pueblo native David Packard pledged $400,000 to help build a new YMCA, saying as a child he was a big fan of the old YMCA. (That same year, Packard gave $7.6 million to Colorado College in Colorado Springs, part of a $15 million gift over two years.) Elsewhere, the Colorado State Fair celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1972 with an opening day visit by Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigart. The men's basketball team at Southern Colorado State College, led by Cal Tatum was among the nation's top small college teams. And while job growth was nil, unemployment was low. Still, the city's mood was edgy. Startup pangs at Southern Colorado State College continued. Enrollment dropped, causing faculty layoffs. Someone tossed a stick of dynamite into the Orman campus student center late one night. The explosion broke windows and damaged the ceiling. A dropped cigarette caused fire and smoke damage to one floor of a dorm. The six-year-old school library at the Belmont campus was sinking. (By 1972, the state added support columns to keep the building - erected on clay soil that was prone to swell - from shifting; and began other repairs.) And a group of Hispanic students continued highly visible protests against faculty hiring practices, an absence of Hispanic artwork and Coors beer. The college wasn't the only venue for racial unrest. School District 60 came under criticism - and federal investigation - after a state study found only 7 percent of its teachers were Hispanic. Hispanic student enrollment was 38 percent. The private Pueblo Businessman's Club was cited for discrimination by the state Civil Rights Commission after admittedly refusing entry to a black man. A stalled Pueblo economy added more tension. Organized labor stepped up protests of pay and work conditions. At one point in the spring of 1972, workers from insulation maker Rockwool and carpenters across the state were on strike at the same time. The police scandal - one of many high-level corruption probes that would keep Pueblo grand juries busy through the 1970s - erupted in the summer of 1972. The probe targeted police burglaries, traffic ticket-fixing, fencing of stolen property, illegal wiretapping and abortion procurement. A separate probe took place into the police exam process. At the end of the year, voters elected a new district attorney, Joe Losavio, who pledged to launch additional probes into local corruption. "Pueblo . . . Haven't You Had Enough?" shouted one full-page newspaper ad run by Losavio. The ad reprinted stories on the mob, drugs and police scandal. Change also came to the police department. Police Chief Robert Mayber, criticized by some for lax control, followed through with his previously announced retirement plans. As a replacement, the city tabbed Bud Willoughby, a 42-year-old veteran of the Kansas City police department, who immediately launched a major reorganization. One of the keys to Willoughby's approach: A perpetual open-door policy that allowed any citizen to meet with him at virtually any time. Four years later, his success in Pueblo would propel Willoughby to get hired as police chief of Salt Lake City, a post he held until retirement in 1988. Among the many grand jury probes, another major case focused on high-level corruption within Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. Still another governmental probe targeted the Colorado State Hospital, where twice patients already implicated in murders escaped and killed again. The hospital also was reportedly the site of 46 escapes in 1972. One patient, Leo Romero of Pueblo, was already implicated in a 1955 killing, a 1970 killing of a fellow patient and the nearly fatal stabbing of his father when he escaped in 1972 and stabbed to death Verenia Martinez of Pueblo. Major crime kept coming into 1973. In December 1973, prominent civic leader Lew Rhoades - the namesake of the park that became the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk - was found clubbed to death. His murder remains unsolved. Later the same month, Pueblo policeman Thomas Hanson, 36, was shot to death when he unknowingly walked in on armed robbery at a Downtown convenience store. He was the first Pueblo officer killed in the line of duty since 1919. They Made a Difference - Paul Jones and Fred "Fritz" Gorsich - In 1973, the same year Fred Gorsich retired from the mom-and-pop grocery business, a young Puebloan sensed the changing trend in neighborhood stores and Loaf 'N Jug was born. Paul Jones' career as convenience store czar began in 1973 when he and partner Sam Sharp opened their first two Loaf 'N Jug stores, one in Fowler and one in Pueblo. Thirteen years later in 1986, when the partners sold their company to food giant Dillon Stores, their 50-store, multistate operation was considered a market leader for such perks as sit-down cafe areas and low milk prices. After the sale, Sharp remained with Dillon Stores while Jones split off to pursue other business ventures - including local radio stations - and also continue as a leader in Pueblo's economic development drive. With an entrepreneurial flash uncommon for Pueblo, Jones served as a member of the Urban Renewal Authority, a leader of the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. and served one term on Pueblo City Council in the mid-1980s. At times controversial, both in his personal and professional life, Jones later re-entered the convenience store business by opening three Road King stores. He recently disclosed plans to sell those stores to Dillon Stores. Upon his death in 1994, Fred Gorsich made headlines by bequeathing his then $3.7 million estate to Pueblo Community College - one of the city's biggest gifts and the seed for the college's model Gorsich Advanced Technology Center. Yet for the friendly grocer known as "Fritz," the real mark left behind was his old-fashioned neighborhood mercantile, which he reluctantly agreed to close in 1973 at age 62. For many years, the grocer at 1200 S. Santa Fe held its own in the face of mounting competition from supermarkets and convenience stores. However, unable to find a buyer, the aging Gorsich finally agreed to close. As his gift to PCC demonstrates, Gorsich wasn't opposed to advances - he just loved the role of neighborhood grocer. "I thought I didn't know anything else and I hated to close the business that had been my life," he said. Later, as the last surviving member of the family, the unmarried Gorsich opted to share his estate with the entire Pueblo community, and also send a message about the importance of education. Gorsich's family started Gorsich Mercantile in 1900. 1972 - January 11: CF&I Steel whistle blows for 100 seconds marking company's 100th year of operation. March 6: A group of 60 Pueblo businessmen flies to Los Angeles on city's first-ever job creation mission and meets with several prospects. June 19: The Pueblo Chieftain discloses a major investigation is under way into alleged corruption within the Pueblo police department. August 3: Electronics czar and Pueblo native David Packard announces $400,000 donation to YMCA building campaign, largest gift in city's history. August 5: State task force names two Puebloans as Colorado's top mob bosses; release 113-page report detailing mob history in state, Pueblo. August 26: Gov. John Love and Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigart open 100th anniversary celebration of Colorado State Fair. November 7: Colorado voters reject hosting of Winter Olympics in 1976. 1973: January 15: Pueblo water supply grows with purchase of Twin Lakes rights. January 27: U.S. involvement in Vietnam War formally ends; toll dating to 1961 includes 45,997 Americans killed, 303,640 wounded. April 25: First bucket of concrete poured at Pueblo Dam. May 17: U.S. Senate begins Watergate hearings. October 30: Blast at CF&I Steel leads to two deaths. November 7: Pueblo voters approve funding to build Pueblo Ice Arena. November 29: Democratic governor candidate Tom Farley, a Pueblo attorney and Colorado House minority leader, opens campaign headquarters in Denver. December 23: CF&I Steel discontinues open-hearth furnaces.
Our Past Century, Page 1
Our Past Century, Page 2
to the Pueblo County Index Page.
Please e-mail comments and suggestions to
|© Karen Mitchell |