This Week in Colorado History: Victory Liberty Loans

Residents of Golden were treated to an unusual sight 92 years ago this week, reported the May 1, 1919, issue of “The Colorado Transcript.” An actual tank returned from World War I trekked up Lookout Mountain to promote the Victory Liberty Loan initiative, a program involving private purchase of government bonds.

The tank crew was assisted by the Mines ROTC under the command of Major Dobson before being driven by its original crew up the mountain. The whole crew had been “in the thick of the fighting in France,” and several had awards, including one Croix de Guerre “awarded for exceptional bravery in the Argonne forest fighting.” The Croix de Guerre is a French and Belgian military award for acts of heroism in combat created during World War I and often awarded to soldiers of other nationalities fighting with the French or Belgians.

The tank itself spent three hours trekking up the mountain. When it arrived at the top, it fired a salute and its crew gave a short Victory Liberty Loan promotional speech. More festivities had been planned, but poor weather cut them short.

The tank appearance and other promotional efforts were apparently effective, as Golden raised a substantial sum in its Victory Loan drive. Originally a quota had been set at $22,700, but that was surpassed “in about ten hours after the drive started on Monday morning.” As of a bank deposit around noon that Tuesday, at least $26,100 had been raised and unofficial reports projected over $30,000 had actually been raised. The largest donation was from the Grand Lodge, I.O.O.F. by treasurer N. Koenig. The organization purchased $10,000 worth. Although this seems generous, it ought to be remembered that “The Victory notes appeal to every careful investor. There are both business and patriotic reasons for subscribing for them.”

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