This Week in Colorado History: Mysterious Luggage

Colorado governmental agencies were busy with a variety of issues this week in 1903. According to “The Colorado Transcript,” the State Land Board concluded their investigation of Las Animas sheep rancher P. H. Sweetman’s unauthorized use of state land. The state had received numerous complaints that Sweetman was using 2,160 acres that he did not own. He complied with the state’s request that he lease the land if he was going to use it and agreed to pay the state $4,108 annually.

The State Board of Child and Animal Protection, a rather broad agency, published a report of its activities from October. The organization had investigated seven cases, prosecuted three, and issued warnings for several others. Two girls and two boys were sent to the state home, while two more girls were given to private homes.

In an early consideration of flu season, the State Board of Health sent circular letters to state school boards requesting that “great care should be taken at this time in regard to contagious diseases.” The Board of Health requested teachers to ensure that students were vaccinated and that sick students and faculty remain at home. The letters also urged school boards to pass regulations on these health related issues.

Mayor Wright of Denver sent his Commissioner of Supplies and Superintendent of Street Cleaning to Omaha and St. Louis to investigate less dusty, more effective street sweepers. They returned with news “that in St. Louis a patent street flushing machine is utilized with substantial success.” It involved water being forcibly applied to the street so that “dust and debris is washed out of the crevices.”

Humane Society Agent Tuft created a controversy when he accused butcher Wolf Heller of using inhumane methods of killing cattle. He “swore out a warrant in the County Court for the arrest of Heller on the charge of cruelty to animals.” Heller was a kosher butcher, and a local rabbi found the charges absurd. As Rabbi Friedman said, “I don’t believe any cruelty has been practiced… I hardly think any Jew would object to having such a thing investigated to the bottom.”

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