Turning Back the Pages

30 years ago – May 22, 1987

Engine #71 had its boiler fired up for the first time in 50 years on May 15. The steam test proved to be successful, much to the delight of many people in attendance. Gray-black smoke poured from the pipe and the whistle sounded. At a formal demonstration on May 16, Engine #71 rolled down the track under its own power. Members of the Gilpin County Historical Society as well as locals and non-locals were present at the event. Court Hammond, president of the Black Hawk-Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad Company, received a lot of praise for his time and effort in restoring the historic train.

There will be another museum located within the City of Central. A Special Use Permit for a museum at the Thomas-Billings house, located within a residential district, was granted by the Central City Council on Tuesday. Despite opposition to the proposal by William C. Russell, Jr., and his attorney, Albert Dawkins, the council unanimously agreed to grant the permit. Jack Hidahl, city clerk and administrator, read aloud three pages of recommendations submitted by the city’s planning commission. The recommendations were presented to the council. Six of the seven members the Planning Commission voted to recommend the Special Use Permit. They were Chairman Rand Anderson and members diBenedetto, Schmalz, Macri, Hidahl, and Tom Robb. Jim Helbig was out of state at the time of the meeting. The recommendations included conditions and stipulations that were drawn up by the City Attorney Jerald Dewitt upon request of the planning commission. Dawkins, representing Russell as an adjacent property owner to the Thomas-Billings house, asked to speak before the council took action on the permit. He presented a certified letter mailed to Russell from the planning commission members as well as a published notice announcing the public hearing. Dawkins noted that the certified letter and the legal notice fell short of the proper and legal date deadlines. He pointed out that the city council did not have enough time to consider the application prior to the public hearing. According to Dawkins, two of the city aldermen, present at the meeting, had not seen the recommendations before the meeting began The two aldermen were Allen and Paul, said Dawkins. Dawkins questioned the speed that the planning commission members and council members were pursuing in granting the Special Use Permit. He said, “There may be bias and prejudice toward the former mayor,” referring to Russell. Dawkins said that the proposed parking area for a museum does not comply with the city ordinance. Inventory of personal property remaining within the house had not been completed. Adjacent property values will decrease, said Dawkins. Russell addressed the council, “I vehemently opposed this.” he said. He continued that his house, located on the east side of the Thomas-Billings house, is only 102 and a half inches away at the farthest point from the proposed museum. According to Russell, the house on the west side, owned by the Central City Opera Association, is 25 feet away at the closest point. Mike Leslie, one of the people who have a contract to purchase the house, contingent upon the permit, read a letter from Carol Wise of Georgetown. She lives adjacent to the Hummel House Museum. She wrote that the museum was no problem in her neighborhood and felt it is a “historical asset to our community.” Leslie also read a letter from R. Davis of the Blue Spruce Realty Company in Georgetown. According to Davis’ letter, the close proximity of the Hummer Museum had no effect on residential evaluation. After further discussion, the Special Use Permit was unanimously approved contingent upon an application by the Leslies’ before the Board of Adjustment for a parking variance. The Leslies’ had applied for the variance before the meeting was held.

60 years ago – May 31, 1957

Central City Nuggets

By A.F. Mayham: Judging by the kind of weather that has been dished up lately, it is plainly visible that the weatherman doesn’t listen very often to the radio. To be a good weatherman, he should be able to spread out the deluge in relation to requirements. When one section has had enough moisture for a given period he should move the precipitation on to other spots where it is needed and put a period where a sufficiency has already fallen. He may be a believer, as some others are, that if you know anything you get taxed for the accoutrement, so what’s the use of knowing all the answers if no one asks the questions at the most auspicious time? Uncle Ed agrees with the lecturer Norman Peale, that one should be able to relax most of the time and let things take their course as the weatherman does, and not wait to retire until two hours after bedtime. Ed usually retires when feeling enervated, by going to what he terms one more Capistrano—another swallow. The sooner he retires for the evening, the sooner he can make a comeback.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Petro, Jr., and family are moving to Thornton, Colorado, this week, to make their home.

The swallows, apparently a few from the migration to Capistrano, again appeared here last week. For the past ten years they have made Central City their home until the first of August, when they wend their skyward way to their warmer habitat. They seem to be most unhappy this year as suitable places for nesting cannot be found on leggings and copings of the Teller House, and apparently, in disgust, they wing their way to a new home.

Mrs. William Russell Jr. was called to Brookfield, IL last week due to the serious illness of her mother. We sincerely hope the illness was of short duration.

Funeral services were held at Mount Vernon, Wash., last week for Mrs. Grace E. Bunney, a former resident of Central City, and interment in Crown Hill Cemetery, in Denver. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Grace Wagnar, and a son, Robert Bunney, both of Mount Vernon; seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Black Hawk Gold Dust

Mr. and Mrs. Marlin Belcher left Sunday for a vacation in Los Angeles, Calif. They were accompanied by Mrs. Belcher’s mother and aunt and expect to be gone about two weeks.

The Chas. Robins received news by telephone Saturday that they are grandparents again. A son named Scott James was born May 25th to Mr. and Mrs. James Hamlin of Poughkeepsie, NY.

Mrs. Lettie Gray was hosting a gala party at her home Saturday evening at which twelve pinochle players were present.

The Harry Gallagher’s are back at their place at Mountain House after spending the winter in Concordia, Kansas.

Miss Irene Head and her sister, Mrs. Lucille Weston, who have a summer cabin at Skyline, were Sunday visitors at the James Robins.

Henry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milo Fisher, as in the City Wednesday for a tonsillectomy. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

90 years ago – May 27, 1927

Satisfactory progress is being made on the railroad bore of the Moffat Tunnel according to the engineering department of the tunnel commission. Tuesday’s work removed 33 feet of the rock separating the east and west headings of the railroad tunnel, the engineers reported. Only 262 feet of rock remain. Soft ground is slowing the work and requiring considerable timbering. Work of widening the tunnel to its full width has been completed for 3,594 feet. Two more Lewis girders will be installed about June 1st to speed the widening process considerably. Those in charge expect to have their tunnel ready for use sometime in July.

How to Make Prune Pie by Nellie Maxwell: Bake a pastry shell and fill with stewed prunes, adding a bit of lemon juice. Top with a merengue, using the white of eggs and two tablespoonful’s of sugar, and dot with quartered marshmallows. Brown lightly and serve. If one wishes to have a richer dessert, whipped cream sweetened and flavored or plain cream with the minced marshmallows stirred in may be used as a topping.

Died: Richard Pearse. Word was received in Denver last week of the death of Richard Pearse, at his home in London, at the age of 90 years. He was a graduate of the finest mining schools of the British Isles, and came to Colorado as a young man in the early 70s, locating near Empire, in Clear Creek County, where he had charge of the Swansea Smelter, which had been established there for the treatment of the silver ores of Clear Creek County. The smelter in Black Hawk constructed and operated by the Boston & Colorado Smelting Company, under the management of Professor N.P. Hill, which had been proven successful in treating the ores of Colorado, secured the services of Mr. Pearse, who moved over to Black Hawk with his family and took entire charge of the refining department of the smelter in 1876, separating the gold, silver, and copper from the copper matte produced in the smelter, which heretofore had to be shipped to Swansea, Wales, for separation, and in Fossett’s book on Colorado, is a picture of Mr. Pearse standing beside a stack of 30 silver bricks, weighing a ton and a quarter, and worth $45,000. The bricks were nearly 1,000 in fineness, and regular shipments were made from the express office in this city to the government mint in Philadelphia. The gold bricks were equally as pure, and were sent through the banks here to the mint. When the smelter moved to Argo near Denver, Mr. Pearse moved to Denver, and was one of the founders of the Denver Club, and was the British consulate for eleven years. He left for London, England, some twenty five years ago. His four sons are dead, and he has a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Arthur Pearse, residing in New York City.

Died: Mrs. Mergeline, wife of George H. Trevartha, died at the Denver home on Thursday, May 19th, 1927, and is survived by her husband and daughter, Miss Elizabeth. Funeral services were held on Sunday afternoon, interment in Riverside Cemetery.

Died: In Denver, at his residence, May 20th, 1927, Byron S. Lake, aged 90 years. Mr. Lake came to Colorado in 1862, crossing the plains by ox-team and located in Gilpin County, where he followed ranching and mining operations. He was one of the fortunate men who staked a claim on the Bobtail Mine when it was first discovered, from which he realized a nice competence. At the time of his death, he owned the Barnes Mine, on the easterly slope of Quartz Hill, on which considerable work has been done by different parties, and which is well equipped with shaft house and machinery for future operations. Of later years, he has been residing in Denver, and is survived by his daughter, Miss Lillian. Funeral services were held on Monday afternoon last from the residence, interment in Fairmont.

120 years ago – May 28, 1897

Senator Henry M. Teller completed his 67th year last Sunday, of which 21 years have been spent in public service as Secretary of the Interior and State Senator.

Sheriff Nicholls and Marshal Keleher returned from Denver on Saturday, where they had been summoned for the purpose of identifying several suspects who were arrested in that city, and who were supposed to have had something to do with the blowing up and robbing the safe of Mr. J.E. Melbourn, this city. Both officers identified the men as having been here the day prior to the safe robbery, but no checks were found in their possession, and they were held in Denver on more serious charges out of California.

Parties who are operating the Seattle Mine in Willis Gulch have erected a small shaft house and installed a small plant of machinery and have two shifts of miners at work in extending the east and west 160 foot levels, where stoping is being carried on in a crevice of mineral from two to three feet in thickness. The bins contain in the neighborhood of 50 tons of mineral worth from $80 to $90 per ton, which will be sent to the smelters next week.

At the Golden Treasure Mine in Nevadaville District, sinking operations are being carried on with three shifts of miners at a depth of 1,000 feet. Large bodies of ore have been opened in the east and west lower levels and the ore bins are filled waiting to be transported to the mills in Black Hawk. The property is being worked by Richard Mackey, under lease and bond, who has several mining operators interested with him in its operation.

Born: In Black Hawk, May 20th, 1897, to the wife of Wm. Rudolph, a daughter.

Born: In Nevadaville May 22nd, 1897, to the wife of Nicholas Semmens, a son.

Married: In Central City, May 22nd, 1897, at St. Mary’s Church, Rev. Father Rarer officiating, Mr. John Signs to Miss Annie Negri.

Died: In Nevadaville, May 26th, 1897, Joseph Mundy, aged 50 years.

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