In 1859 the small settlement of El Dorado, at the eastern entrance to the pass through the mountains to the west, was renamed Colorado City by the founders, Melancthon Beach, Rufus Cable, Anthony Bott and George Bute. Colorado City became the first permanent town in the Pikes Peak region.
Early settlers included farmers, ranchers, freighters and outfitters for the people who were rushing to the western mine fields. By 1886 the Colorado Midland Railroad was one of the city’s largest employers, with it’s headquarter offices, terminals and repair yards in Colorado City.
A Glass Works was established in 1887 by Adolph Busch, Jerome Wheeler and General Adams. Bottles were made for the Manitou mineral water, liquor and wine by Bohemian glass blowers. Anheuser-Busch, Mayor Charles Stockbridge and others bottled beer in Colorado City at the turn of the century. When gold was discovered in 1891 at Cripple Creek, prosperity came to the city from the four gold ore reduction mills operating in Colorado City.
Because Colorado Springs was founded as a “dry” town, the sale of alcohol became a lucrative business in Colorado City and the town soon became famous for its many saloons and brothels. The hardworking residents were proud of their schools, Carnegie public library and churches and the desire to make their town more respectable led to the prohibition of liquor in 1914. The “wild west days” were destined to fade for Colorado City and in 1917, after a second vote, it was annexed by Colorado Springs.
For more history on Old Colorado City, download our book Remembering West Word, 25 Years of Historic Research and Remembrances. This book contains selected research by members that have appeared in our newsletter West Word over the past 25 years. Click here to download the document 25 Years of Historic Research and Remembrances.
Complete copies of all research by members is available to members at our History Center