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Turning Back the Pages


30 years ago – June 16, 1989

It looks like it will be up to the city fathers to determine just how loud and how often the whistle on the Black Hawk Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad’s steam locomotive will blow. Presented with the signatures of 123 petitioners asking that noise, air pollution, and safety be improved at the tourist train, Central City’s Board of Aldermen agreed to research city state, and federal regulations applying to operation of the railroad and to issue a decision on what’s acceptable and what’s not.Although the railroad’s attorney, Dennis Brian, stated that the operation is bound by federal regulation to blast the steam whistle as often as it does, preliminary investigation indicates that neither the Federal Railroad Administration nor the Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction over the amusement attraction. Although there has been no final word on who is responsible for regulating the train, it appears at this time that the responsibility will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the city council. “We are here tonight not to attempt to close down the operation of the train,” said Christopher Haworth, speaking on behalf of the petitioners at the June 7 meeting of the council, but to ask that the railroad “become a considerate and respectful part of this community.” The petition said that fire hazards be remedied immediately, passenger safety hazards be corrected, and the decibel level of the whistle be lowered and that the number of blasts be cut in half, and that the railroad clean up the air pollution it creates. Emotions ran high at the public meeting, with some citizen airing concerns about fire safety, pointing out that in one day seven brush fires were started along the tracks by cinders from the locomotive’s smokestack. The thick black smoke that issues from the stack covers the interiors of their homes with soot, said others. The piercing whistle that sounds about every 10 minutes when the train is running disturbs the sleep of young and old alike, it was reported. Responding to the complaints, train operator Court Hammond said that new firefighting equipment, including a flat car with a water tank attached to the back of the train, has been installed since the day of the seven fires. A water sprayer attached directly to the stack has practically eliminated the fire hazard, he added, and he is currently seeking additional firefighting equipment. Steam engines create a considerable amount of black smoke, Hammond acknowledged, but in order to improve the air quality, he said he would have to invest $80,000 in a boiler suitable for use with an oil fired engine. Not only is the price tag of conversion to oil prohibitive, he said, oil burning engines also make for a less efficient use of fuel. Noise reduction isn’t so difficult a task. A lower toned whistle could be purchased, Hammond said, although he added that the railroad has already used three different whistles in an attempt to satisfy the community, and nothing has yet been deemed satisfactory. Calling the railroad an economic boon, Eileen Pfeifer stood up for the train. Not only does it bring additional visitors to town, increasing the business of every merchant in town, she said, as a family attraction it enhances the image of Central City and provides a competitive draw against Georgetown. No decisions were made during the meeting pending research of applicable ordinances and regulations. “The city council doesn’t want to create a double layer of bureaucracy,” said City Clerk Jack Hidahl on Monday, “but it does want to respond appropriately to the concerns of the citizens.”

Died: Frances Belle Schneider, formerly of Gilpin County, died June 8, 1989, in Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. At the time of her death she was a resident of Idaho Springs. She was 79 years old. Schneider was born in Nevadaville on June 13, 1909, to Frank and Jennie Hollo Sparks. She married Clarence N. Schneider on May 2, 1932. He preceded her in death on June 29, 1968. Also preceding her death were her parents; two sisters, Grace and Vaughn; and her half-brother, Dell Brown. Schneider, who resided in Idaho Springs for 68 years, retired as a teacher with the Clear Creek School District in 1959. She was a member of the Idaho Springs Order of Eastern Star and the Dumont Mormon Church. Services were held on June 10, 2989, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Dumont. Norm Woods and Bob Jones officiated. She was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Lakewood. Schneider is survived by her daughter, Shirley Thoennes of Idaho Springs; and two grandchildren: Gregg Thoennes of Idaho Springs and Adele Coldagelli of Frisco, Colorado.

60 years ago – June 26, 1959

Central City Nuggets:

Some 400 newspapermen and families were entertained by the Central City Festival at a reception and buffet dinner Sunday evening to meet the directors and artists of both “Die Fledermaus” and “The Ballad of Baby Doe.” The occasion was the annual press party, given out of a sense of love, loyalty and publicity. Dr. Emerson Buckley, musical director, Frank H. Ricketson, Jr., association president; Robert Selig, vice president and Robert W. Lucas, Denver Post managing editor all said their little speeches, after which followed beautiful arias by several members of the cast of both operas. It was a most gala afternoon and evening.

The Masonic Hall was filled to overflowing last Saturday afternoon and evening, when A.F. & A.M. Grand Officers, local members of the Order, and hundreds of members from surrounding states, gathered to make the annual pilgrimage to the Masonic Monument between this city and Black Hawk. The monument marks the site of the first Masonic meeting in 1859, a visit to pay homage to brother Masons who first established this meeting place. However, due to inclement weather, the elements not cooperating, the afternoon was spent renewing old friendships, greeting new brothers, and listening to a story of the history of Central Lodge No. 6, given by Mrs. Gertrude Gray. At the evening session, Mr. Leroy J. Williams was presented with a 50 year pin by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Colorado, Mr. Clifford Gobble. Pins were also presented to Hugo Kruse and Fritz J. Altvater last week, as they were unable to attend the services of Saturday.

Black Hawk Gold Dust:

Mrs. Robert E. Gleason left Saturday for San Francisco after a visit with her mother, Mrs. Hazel Rudolph.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mitchell spent Father’s Day Sunday in Denver with their daughter and family, the Warren Johnsons.

Milo Fisher is in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he is employed on a construction project.

Among those attending the reception for Vice President Nixon in Denver last Friday, were Mrs. Edith Carter and Mr Art Gallegos.

Miss Kathleen Neff, who works at a bank in Aurora, spent the weekend with her grandmother, Mrs. Perl Neff.

Mrs. Luella Fritz was in Denver Saturday to check with her doctor. On Monday she joined the Dallas Howards for a patio dinner in honor of little Becky’s first birthday. Miss Carol Kent returned to Black Hawk with Mrs. Fritz on Tuesday.

Died: Chris Brotherson, a former resident of the Mountain House District, died last week at his home in Saskatchewan, Canada, where he had lived since 1921.

90 years ago – June 21, 1929

Miss Nellie Vincent, who had been visiting relatives and friends at Fort Collins for several weeks, returned home on Wednesday of last week.

Mrs. Charles Trenoweth and daughter, Miss Laura, who have been residing at Englewood, Colorado, where the latter has been engaged in teaching in the public schools there, arrived in Central on Thursday of last week, to spend part of the summer vacation at the old home here.

Mr. T. H. Jenks, who has been operating the Coeur d’Alene Mine in this city, as well as mining property in Bland, New Mexico, arrived here on Saturday evening and has men at work on the local property. He has just returned from Los Angeles, California, where he helped to celebrate his mother’s 85th birthday, and reports that   Mrs. Jenks, who spent the winter with relatives in Paris, Illinois, is on her way to Colorado to spend the summer here.

Louis Dukes, wife and sons, came up from Denver Sunday morning to celebrate “Father’s Day” with Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Johnson, returning home that afternoon.

Miss Emzella Channing came up from Denver Saturday to spend Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. W.O. Ziege and family, returning that afternoon.

How to Make Apple Chutney, by Nellie Maxwell: Cover one pound of button onions with one cupful of water and eight ounces of salt. Let stand two days, renewing the water and salt once. Peel, core, and slice one pound of green, sour apples. Soak one pound of raisins, one pound of soft brown sugar, two ounces of fresh ginger, four ounces of chili peppers, one tablespoonful of crushed celery seed, and a clove of garlic in a pint of vinegar for eight hours. Now add the onions and put through a meat chopper. Add another pint of vinegar and cook with the apples until they are soft. Pack boiling hot in small jars and seal.

Lightning struck and killed five head of cattle on the range in the Guy Hill District during a severe electrical storm there last Friday. Three steers belonging to Ernest Ramstetter were leaning against a wire fence when lightning hit the wire and killed them. Two head of cattle owned by Ernest Koch were struck and killed on the open range.

Federal officers captured another large whiskey still in Jefferson County last Saturday when they made a raid on a house in the 2700 block of Sheridan Boulevard where they found a 150 gallon still in operation and confiscated it, along with 8,000 gallons of mash and six gallons of the finished product. Three Italians, Tony Blanco, Mary Blanco, and Joe Blanco who were found at the place were placed under arrest and taken to the Denver jail. The prisoners were “hard boiled” and threatened the officers with all kinds of dire vengeance, stating that the fate of Joe Clark was nothing to what would befall the officers. It is said that this still has been operating for some time, its product finding ready market in the city of Denver.

120 years ago – June 23, 1899

James Rule, John Richards, Kid Bennett and others formed a party that left Thursday for a week’s outing in Middle Park.

Mrs. C.F. Barker and children are up from Denver visiting relatives and friends.

Mr. Arthur Millett, of Denver, came up the first of the week on a visit with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Millett, of the Teller House.

Miss Eliza Truan of this city, was the guest of the Misses Susie and Grace Bunney, in Golden, during the week.

Contractors Lamont & Ballard are making good headway on the foundation of the new court house. William Parenteau has been hired by the board of county commissioners to look after the interests of the county in the work being done.

A mining deed has been placed on record, conveying from the King Gold Mining Company to Edward W. Williams and Daniel J. McKay of this city the sum of $10,000, for the Golden Wedge claim, survey No. 306, in Lake Gulch.

The water in the California Mine, on Quartz Hill, has been lowered to the 1,500 foot level, and leasers are now working in the 1,400 foot level and others will soon be working in the 1,500 level.

Born: In Central City, June 21st, 1899, to the wife of Swan Jonson, a son.

Married, In Denver, June 17th, 1899, Rev. Houghton officiating, William J. Wells and Miss Mamie Sennett, both of Nevadaville.

Died: In Black Hawk, June 18th, 1899, Frank Hausberger, aged 40 years.

Died: Willis B. Askew, member of the grocery firm of Wagner & Askew of Russell Gulch, committed suicide in the warehouse adjoining the store on Tuesday afternoon, by shooting himself through the right temple with a .38 calibre revolver. The fact of the suicide was not learned until Mr. John R. Hughes opened the front door of the warehouse to get some water, when he discovered the body. Two letters were found on a table in the upper rooms of the store, written in a nervous style, one addressed to Mrs. Askew, and the other to Mr. Wagner. In the latter he said that poor health had made him tired of living, and he hoped that Mr. Wagner would do the best for his wife and children. A coroner’s jury was summoned, which brought in a verdict that, “Willis B. Askew came to his death from a pistol shot wound in the head, fired by his own hand.” Deceased was 37 years of age, had been postmaster for the past seven years, and left a wife, two daughters and a son; a sister, Mrs. S. Neissen, of Russell Gulch, and a brother in Waterloo, Iowa. The funeral took place Friday afternoon, internment in the Russell Gulch Cemetery.

151 years ago – June 25, 1869

Ex-Secretary Seward and party passed through Central on Saturday last, on a touring trip.

The banking firm of George T. Clark & Co. has sold out their business to Jerome B. Chaffee & Co.

Thursday’s issue said that “Roworth & Company paid a freight bill of $5,750 that day, for freight from the East.

Mr. Cheney had made a good run on ore from the Bobtail Mine, which yielded 28 ounces gold to the cord.

The ore from the Creighton Mine, being worked by Mr. Van Camp, was giving a net profit of $121 per cord.

Died: In this city, June 22nd, 1869, Clara F., daughter of H. Jacob and Mathilde M. Kruse, aged 4 years.

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