This Week in Colorado History February 7- February 13: Fire!

Golden experienced some dangerous drama Saturday, February 3, 1883, as reported by The Colorado Transcript later in the week. A cigar store owned by A.G. Ahlstrom caught fire at 10:30 that night “and for a while threatened to result in an extensive conflagration, but by the promptness of the department and several citizens” was limited to the original store building. The containment of the fire must be attributed in part to the weather conditions that night. The temperature was -28 degrees Fahrenheit with no wind and a thick layer of snow covered the roves of the adjoining buildings. This was fortunate for the firemen as, though the fire hydrant and hose functioned effectively, the hose froze as soon as water was put through it.  The Transcript reported that, “The fire is supposed to have originated from a defective flue.”  The building was very seriously damaged, which was unfortunate as it was one of the oldest in town at the time, constructed in 1859.  Luckily for the owner of the store, the contents were insured for $1200, and the damage was estimated at $1000.

The February 7, 1883 issue of The Colorado Transcript also reported on a western man who “claims to have seen heaven while in a trance.”  He explained that people in heaven actually eat condensed air and eat food only for fun.  The Transcript writer jokingly stated it must be interesting to see a recently fed angel looking like “a balloon on stilts” and that it would be “a good place to sell compound oxygenated bitters.”  The writer did congratulate this version of heaven on the lesser cost of food.
For those looking for a book to read, the Transcript had a recommendation.  The suggestion was “The Imperial Highway” published by the Western Book Company of Denver.  The paper, “without hesitation pronounce it a meritorious work,” and proceeded to praise it from the very title through all its pages.

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