This Week in Colorado History: Progress and professors

The Golden of the late 1880s experienced a time of optimistic prosperity, stemming at least in part from the increase in railroads in the area. “The Colorado Transcript” of September 21, 1887 excitedly reported that, “The new Denver and Golden Circle railway is getting into working shape and position.” The railway would run trains on two hour intervals from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. With unfailing optimism, the paper suggested this would double property values, bring new, wealthy residents, create an impressive resort town, and “develop the mineral riches of the foot hills as tributary to Denver.” In addition to the account of this regional railroad, the September 21 issue of the paper carried two other stories on railroad construction.

Aside from the railroad progress, the electrical company also favored Golden in September, 1887. The lighting plant was headed to Golden due to losing its contract in Georgetown. The Georgetown town council had taken bids from both the electric and gas companies for their lighting and chose the gas company. Though the contract was supposed to be given to the lowest bidder, the contract was given to the more expensive gas company due to concerns about the reliability of electricity. “The Colorado Transcript” felt damages from Georgetown to the electrical company were not out of the realm of possibility. However, the paper also felt that the plant’s relocation to Golden was “an assured fact;” Georgetown’s loss was Golden’s gain.

Closer to home, the Colorado School of Mines anticipated relatively full enrollment in the fall of 1887 with a higher than average percentage of out of state students. “The Colorado Transcript” did not approve of “the apathy manifested by the number of young men in our state who neglect the free gift of scientific instruction.” Considering this perspective might help those cursing their GPA. Also pertaining to Mines, the last of Professor Arthur Lakes’ (as in Arthur Lakes Library) letters from Devonshire had arrived in Golden. The professor himself departed England September 4, 1887.



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