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Turning Back the Pages


30 years ago – July 28, 1989
Angelo diBenedetto has been actively concerned with mining safety issues for over 40 years. Walking through his art studio, one is immediately struck by a disturbing painting titled Man’s Inhumanity to Man. Vaguely reminiscent to this untutored eye of Guernica (diBenedetto says the influence is more Brazilian), the picture is a haunting vignette of a mine rescue operation carried out in Vidalia in 1947. He was driving back to Central City that year when he heard of an explosion in a coal mine that had recently been declared the safest in the state. He detoured 40 miles to observe part of the rescue attempts. He was so moved by what he saw that when he arrived home, he sketched a scene which hecompleted painting in 1950. Senator Mike Mansfield of Wyoming used to borrow the panting to display during election campaigns. To emphasize the still present dangers, diBenedetto tells of a conversation he had recently with an employee of the telephone company. The man was taking pictures in the York Gulch area when he saw a herd of deer. When he tried to follow them, he walked up a slight incline of earth and found himself on the lip of a mine shaft. He was terrified. In a county with 14,000 open mine shafts, by state estimates, this is not an unusual occurrence. DiBenedetto would like to see measures taken to alert people, especially visitors in the area, to the situation. He would like to have signs posted around the county stating “You are now in mining country. Beware of open shafts.” In such a sign oriented culture, he says, we are negligent in not posting the warnings. Most immediately, diBenedetto would like to see community effort directed toward indexing and posting mine shafts so that people are aware of their locations. Eventually he would like to see every shaft in the county marked, fenced, or capped, but he feels that a more reasonable immediate goal would be to locate every open shaft within Central City limits and post it with a danger warning. It’s a tremendous undertaking, he admits, but says that with the cooperation of the citizenry, it can be done.
Although the U.S. Forest Service planned to issue a decision on the fate of four cabins currently trespassing on Forest Service land in the historic townsite of Apex, the decision has been postponed to at least late August. USFS employee Larry Gash, who was in charge of assessing the Apex situation, has been transferred from the Idaho Springs office to Fort Collins, and must now coordinate the Apex work with his new duties, explained District Ranger Larry Lindner. Gash will remain on the Apex project. Lindner said that, although owners of the four cabins in question were last year to show cause by July 31 of this year as to why they should not be required to remove the cabins from the National Forest, no action will be taken until a final decision is reached by the Forest Supervisor after Gash’s environmental assessment is completed. None of the cabins will have to be removed before that time, Lindner said, and once the assessment is completed, the decision could be to allow them to remain. Comments from the cabin owners, as well as the general public, continue to filter in to the Forest Service, Lindner said. These comments are being considered in the analysis process and are welcome, he added.
Robert Hawley of Black Hawk joined the Colorado Youth Corps for the summer of 1989. As a Corps member, Robert will work on a crew of six youths from all over the state. He will work on projects in Golden Gate Canyon State Park with the Colorado State Park Service. Among the projects are construction of nature trails, fences, and campsites. Now in its second year, the Colorado Youth Corps is sponsored by Jefferson County Employment and Training Services at the Governor’s Job Training Office. It brings together 42 boys and girls, ages 16 to 21, who are housed at Camp Wilma near Idaho Springs, for a summer of living and working together in Colorado’s state and national forests. Service to community and youth development is the basic goal of the program, which also includes academic enrichment and wilderness adventure as part of its challenge to participants.
A memorial for Ja and Imogene Steckdaub will be held at Bald Mountain Cemetery on Saturday, July 29, at 10 a.m. Mrs. Steckdaub died February 12, 1989. Her husband preceded her in death on October 22, 1988. Born September 10, 1899, in Boone City, Missouri, Mrs. Steckdaub was a resident of Gilpin County for over 50 years. She died at University Park Care Center in Pueblo. Mr. Steckdaub was born November 5, 1915, in Woodlandville, Missouri. He died at Lutheran Hospice in Wheat Ridge. Survivors include a daughter and son in law, Diane and Thomas Livingston of Pueblo; granddaughter Deltah Gurgle of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and great-grandchildren, Autumn Bates and J.T. Bates.
60 years ago -August 7, 1959
Central City Nuggets:
Across the Crossroads, by A.F. Mayham: Sometimes, quite often, wonders never cease—Robert Couch, a young, handsome engineer, grad of Texas School of Mines, with three years of mining in Old Mexico behind him, expostulated about the wonderful veins of metallic bearing ores south of the border on Wednesday. The Mexican government, the antithesis of ours, aids and abets mining and the mining takes preference over all other forms of industry. Some of the veins are 60 meters wide, depth unknown, and the usual width is from 3 to 5 meters. Fourspar is one of the main metal bearing ones. Of course, they have lead, zinc, copper, silver and gold, most all of which is shipped out of the country, gold selling at $29 an ounce but more in certain channels. Mexican miners, he said, are among the best workers in the world: strong, both physically and sinewy. During the meeting a resolution was passed to try and round up all claim owners in the state into one big association with a competent leader in charge, and go after our congressmen about the mining situation in Colorado. A committee will be appointed to undertake the arduous task, well supplied with tear absorbing tissues and a bushel or two of good wishes. No one reported on the souvenir medal commemorating this year’s centennial, although the boss of the district who habituates Colorado Springs is supposed to have been the recipient of 10,000 of the things which carry a price of $3.50 apiece. No one has announced, as far as known, whether the silver used was imported, from stockpiles or from newly mined resources.
A new sidewalk is being laid in front of the ticket office in the Teller House. The sidewalk will be made of wooden planks in conformity with the rest of the walk as concrete was never used since this hostelry was erected. Apparently, this particular part of the walk needed replacing by the thousands of visitors purchasing tickets for the present play and the former operas.
Mr. and Mrs. George Parsons and daughter arrived Sunday from California to spend a vacation with Papa Cliff and family. George was born here and returns each year to view the scenes of his boyhood years.
Mention was made in last week’s paper o the futile hunt being made by law enforcement officers who were called to East Portal on the search for an apparent cadaver being interred in an old cabin in that vicinity. Information received by the officers were that two teenagers had perpetrated this hoax, which since has been found untrue. As a matter of fact, one of the young men walked in from Tolland, a distance of 12 miles, to vindicate himself, and we congratulate him for his attitude, and are glad to offer sincere apologies.
One of the worst and disastrous flash floods for many years past played havoc and considerable damage to Central City Sunday afternoon. The heavens poured rain from the clouds for over an hour, washing out roads in all parts of the city. The Thompson house on First High Street was flooded to a depth of several inches by water cascading from the street above, and Ye Olde Fashioned Eating House in the Masonic Building was filled to a depth of almost a foot with mud and rocks. A few of the business houses on Main Street received flooded basements, but no serious damage resulted. The flumes in the downtown area handled the deluge of water most satisfactorily, but the water coming down from Nevada Street flowed down Main Street, leaving two feet of sand, debris and rocks. The State Highway was at work early Monday morning, and by noon had the street well cleaned. As has been the case on numerous occasions, County Commissioner Martin Nelson of this district had the County equipment grading the carious stress and excellent work was done. They were helped by the Central City Water Commissioner, Joe Menegatti, and his crew, and as we go to press, the city is beginning to again look familiar.
Died: A very sad tragedy occurred last Saturday afternoon in the restroom of the Teller House, when Anthony B. Tenderer succumbed to a heart attack and died instantly. He and his wife and sister in law were on a tour from Philadelphia and stopped in Central City for a short visit. He visited the restroom and collapsed. Oxygen was administered and a pulmotor owned by the fire department and administered by Postmaster Max Robb was used for nearly an hour, but without success. He was 66 years of age. The body was taken to the Tomford Mortuary in Idaho Springs, and later sent by plane to his home in the East.
Black Hawk Gold Dust:
Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Hendricks and two children of Elkhorn, Nebraska, are house guests this week at the Ray Hendricks home. W.E. and Ray are brothers. On Sunday other guests of the Hendricks were Mr. and Mrs. George Enderly and son of Kansas City and Mr. and Mrs. Lee Fuchs and three sons of Indian Hills, Colorado.
Mrs. Louis Plank and daughter Mary Louise left Denver, by plane, Sunday night on a two week trip to Hawaii and a visit with a niece there whose husband is in the army.
Mrs. Mary Blake and Mrs. Martha Kennish attended the funeral Saturday in Idaho Springs of Lila Belle Basnett, who was killed in an auto accident last week. Mrs. Basnett was the daughter of Alice High Daugherty, formerly of Central City.
90 years ago -August 2, 1929
Mrs. E. L. Clark and daughter, Miss Evelyn of Trenton, Nebraska, arrived here Sunday evening, to spend some time in the mountains in relief from hay fever and the heat of the eastern states.
George Knifton, wife and daughter of Denver, accompanied by Mrs. Lizette Tomlinson-Freeman, and her three daughters of Pasadena, California, motored up from the valley Tuesday afternoon, on a visit to their old home in Black Hawk. The parents of Mrs. Freeman resided in Chase Gulch, just above the Bates Mine, while Mr. Knifton’s home was on the mountainside, near the Gregory Mine, where his father was employed back in the early ‘70s. This was Mrs. Freeman’s first visit to Gilpin County in over 40 years and she is well remembered by many present residents of our sister city.
Mr. Fred McFarlane was up from Denver last week, on business matters and to visit with friends.
Died: Mrs. Mary King, a former well-known early resident of this city, died on Monday last at her home in Denver at the age of 73 years. Death followed a stroke of paralysis which had made her an invalid for three and one half years. She was born in Philadelphia, and came west in 1861 with her parents James and Sarah Daly, with an ox team outfit. The family settled in this city, where she married John L. King 45 years ago. Surviving her are two daughters, Mrs. P.H. Byrne, and Mrs. Alice King Metzer, a teacher in the Park Hill School, Denver; one sister Mrs. Mary Floyd, of Denver; and two brothers, P.F. Daly of Denver, and William Daly of Ouray, Colorado.
120 years ago – August 4, 1899
Mrs. Harley B. Morse and daughter Mrs. Carrie Brereton and master Page Brereton, are visiting old friends in this city, and are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Day. This was Mrs.. Morse’s first visit to Central City in nine years.
James Barbee was over from Idaho Springs on Sunday, on a visit with his mother.
James Ferrill, a miner working in the Fisk Mine, had a narrow escape on Saturday last from serious injury. While running mill dirt down a chute, he lost his balance and fell headlong into the cute and was buried up, but fortunately was able to save himself and suffered only a few bruises and scratches from his experience.
Bob Crissman, while working in the Mystery Mine in Russell Gulch, was struck by a falling rock Sunday afternoon, causing a bad cut over the right eye and injuries to his body, but no bones were broken.
The ore shipments for the month of July from Black Hawk Station of the Colorado & Southern Railroad, totaled 267 carloads, on 4,940 tons. For the same month of last year, the shipments were 4,464 tons, showing a gain for the same month of this year, of 476 tons.
A large piece of ore from the new strike in the Lombard Mine in the Yankee Hill section, owned by Dr. Abe Ashbaugh, which was sent in to him the first of the week, showed by assay to carry 6.20 ounces gold and 6.40 ounces silver, a total valet of $127.40 per ton.
The water in the West Nottaway Mine is down below the 400 foot level and excellent work is being done with the Snow sinking pump. A station will be cut at 300 feet and a Snow station pump will be installed at that point, and as soon as the mine is drained the company operating will sink the main shaft to greater depths.
Born: In Nevadaville, July 27th, 1899, to the wife of Henry Mayhew, a daughter.
Born: In Black Hawk, July 29th, 1899, to the wife of Arthur Beattie, a daughter.
Married: In Central City, at the M.E. Parsonage, Rev. J.F. Coffman officiating, Mr. John Terrill and Mrs. Susan Mitchell Barkle, both of Central City.
Died: At Perigo, July 30th, 1899, of pneumonia, H.H. Powell, aged 26 years.
Died: In Central City, August 1st, 1899, of miner’s consumption, Richard Orchard, aged 49 years.
Died: Julia, the 11 year old daughter of H.L. Roberts, of Idaho Springs, was drowned in Clear Creek last Saturday. She had been on an errand, and on returning home is supposed to have fallen from a bridge into the stream. Her body was found by her mother opposite the Baker saw mill. This makes the third child victim of Clear Creek this summer.
Died: Mrs. Henry N. Shannon died in the Homeopathic Hospital in Denver on Saturday. She came to Colorado in 1860, and as Miss Matilda Kelsey, taught the first school in Nevadaville, holding that position for a year until she married.
151 years ago – July 30, 1869
Allen B. Sorpis, of the Denver Mint branch arrived in Central Friday, on a visit with old friends.
Owen Feenan met with a serious accident in the Sparks Mine in Nevadaville on the first of the week, by being struck on the side and head by the empty bucket which fell from the top of the shaft.
Charley Briggs was showing some handsome specimens of ore from the Briggs Mine, which was covered with free gold, taken from a depth of 500 feet in the shaft.
Up to date, Mrs. Clark, the widow of the murdered marshal of Black Hawk, received through L.C. Snyder, the sum of $550, subscribed by the citizens of the county.
Honorable Hugh Butler and Joseph A. Thatcher left on Tuesday morning’s coach for California.
An attempt was made Sunday to assassinate Eugene Teats as he was walking down Eureka Street. As he passed by the foundry, an unknown man who had walked alongside him for a few steps, took him by the shoulder with one hand and with the other attempted to stab him in the side. The knife cut though the coat and vest, but was stopped from entering the flesh by a suspender button. The would-be assassin escaped.
Married: In Central City, at the residence of John W. Remine, Rev. G.H. Adams officiating, Mr. Columbus Nuckolls of Central City and Mrs. Annie C. Palmer, of Whitewater, Wisconsin.

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