This Week in Colorado History: Faculty flub and city cleaning

Generally, the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines are a group of brilliant scientists and engineers, capable of explaining even the most complicated concepts. This week in 1913, one professor proved he was not such a genius, though. Electrical lab instructor Ralph Knowles “escaped death by a miracle, when 11,000 volts of electricity passed through his body,” reported “The Colorado Transcript.” Knowles had been in the Golden Illuminating Company transformer house pointing out parts of a mechanism to students. Unfortunately, he was using a lead pencil. “A great blue spark” jumped from the equipment and knocked Knowles unconscious. Although the students initially believed their professor was dead, he emerged with only a few burns on his hands and feet. This was not Knowles first brush with death; during the fall of 1912, he had almost blown himself up when “preparing to put in a shot with giant powder… using a nail.”

Also this week in 1913, the ladies of Golden met to discuss, “How to make Golden a more desirable place of residence.” They considered a variety of needs and possible options to improve the city. The first major event suggested was a “Clean Up-Day,” which was to consist of general city cleaning and trash clean-up. The group also suggested “that an ordinance be passed prohibiting the throwing of ashes or refuse of any kind in any alley, vacant lot, gutter, or stream.” Efforts to clean up Golden were not to be restricted to adults; the group appointed a member to ask if Golden students could be released from school early to “assist in raking city park.”

In Fort Lupton this week in 1913, prosperous farmer William Krasting attempted to murder his wife. She was, however, able to escape him, reach a telephone, and call for help. Mrs. Krasting believed her husband’s blindness was the only reason she was not killed. “The Colorado Transcript” attributed Krasting’s actions to sudden insanity.

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