This Week in Colorado History: Building Projects, Military Action, and Politics

Road work proceeded at a reasonably rapid pace this week in 1916. The West Colfax-South Golden highway was “going ahead at the rate of approximately 400 feet of cement surfacing per day,” reported “The Colorado Transcript.” The first link of the road was, weather permitting, supposed to be completed by the beginning of November. To meet this deadline, workers were busy seven days a week. The road was to be only the first bit of a longer road, which would help connect Golden to the rest of Colorado.

The Colorado National Guard was ordered to the Mexican border this week in 1916. About 249 men from Battery B of Denver and Battery C of Colorado Springs prepared to make the journey. Their goal was to “relieve 10,000 who will be returned to their homes.” Likely, this mission was necessitated by the actions of Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.

Large portions of the Standley Dam broke away this week in 1916 and the repairs were expected to be so expensive that it was uncertain they would be undertaken. The dam was at the time one of the largest earth dams in the world and had cost more than $1,000,000. “The Colorado Transcript” estimated that it would require “several hundred thousand dollars” worth of repairs before it could again hold the intended volume of water. As portions of the dam had essentially “disappeared,” the paper mused where they could have gone and whether it could be ensured that this would not happen again.

Guy E. Juchem commented in “The Colorado Transcript” this week in 1916 on the disadvantages of the primary system. “Obviously, it is the intention of the direct primary election law to give to the voters of the state the direct selection of candidates for public office,” said Juchem. However, he felt that “the law does not in any respect live up to its good intentions.” Juchem said that in no way did the primary system prevent organized political parties from corruption. Juchem also said that the only real outcome of a primary was animosity in the party ranks. He supported his argument by pointing out that in Jefferson County in 1912, 2213 votes were cast at the primaries, versus 4965 votes in the general election. In 1914, 2580 votes were cast at the primaries, versus 5177 votes in the general election.

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