This Week in Colorado History: Land politics and Lincoln

Denver had a “wild and wooly west” relapse this week in 1889. Judge Rucker entered a saloon on Curtis Street and there found Col. John Arkins of the “Rocky Mountain News” drinking with several politicians, including a Senator-elect and a Chief-of-Police. Rucker then “walked up and slapped Col. John in the mouth,” reported “The Colorado Transcript.” He was immediately arrested, and the men reconciled the next day. Apparently, there was some sort of history between the two, dating to the fall of 1888.

Also in 1889, Jefferson County land speculators and anyone else looking to buy land were interested in the Board of Land Commissioner’s announcement that the school section near Sloan’s Lake was to be sold. The land was being offered in 40-acre tracts and, “The Colorado Transcript” reported, “already pools are being made in readiness to invest when the sale takes place.” The paper attributed this to the land’s “charming locality” and asserted it would be a relative bargain “at any price.”

Senator Wilson proposed a Sunday closing bill this week in 1889 which many supported and which would have “had the effect of closing many of the lowest groggeries all over the state.” “The Colorado Transcript did not support the bill based on evidence from failed prohibition laws in other states and was “glad our legislature are not inclined to give it a trial.”

On a slightly more national level, “The Colorado Transcript” lauded a new paper on Abraham Lincoln in honor of what would have been the sixteenth president’s eightieth birthday. Hon. E.E. Wood, formerly of the Illinois general assembly, published the paper which included “much original matter gleaned during the writer’s residence at the state capital.” The paper also included new photographs of Lincoln’s Springfield House, a Lincoln monument, and a recently discovered photograph of the deceased president himself.

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