This Week in Colorado History: Construction Zone

The sights, sounds, and minor annoyances of construction are familiar to modern day Mines students, but they are not the first generation to experience them. One hundred and ten years ago, Golden was excitedly experiencing much the same situation. “The Colorado Transcript” of April 3, 1901, commented, “Certainly [1901] has commenced in the most auspicious manner and if the contemplated improvements are carried out it will be the best year in her history.” The paper then went on to list the most recent building developments.

Nearly-completed facilities included the Geijsbeek Pottery Company and the Catholic Church. The Geijsbeek Pottery Compan,y as of the beginning of April, had almost finished their buildings and had begun making and selling pottery. According to the Transcript, about $17,000 was spent to build and equip the pottery company. “The Catholic church, built since the year opened, is a handsome and important addition to town,” opined the Transcript. The paper continued, “When the inside is finished [it] will compare favorably with any house of worship in the state outside of the larger cities.” The paper estimated the cost would be about $10,000.

Around the same time, Hon. W.S. Stratton, then president of the CSM board of trustees, donated $15,000 to the school to build a new assaying plant for CSM. It was to be “a long building of brick one story in height, containing sixteen assay furnaces for use by students.” Mines had also secured appropriations amounting to $25,000 for a new building whose nature had not yet been disclosed.

The monster smelting works, described as, “by far the greatest boon for Golden,” was also under construction. The buildings were to be made of brick and iron and were expected to cost about $50,000, not counting machinery for the smelting works. The Transcript confidently asserted, “The work is being done in a most substantial manner, ensuring the permanency of the enterprise, as the success of pyretic smelting is fully assured.”

Also recently constructed was a spur of the Colorado & Southern railroad. The spur stretched from the railroad company’s yards to Coors’ brewery and was most notable for the bridge constructed over Clear Creek.

Golden’s building boom of 1901 extended to private residences as well. The Transcript reported no fewer than ten new dwellings throughout the city. The town was apparently doing well one hundred and ten years ago.

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