A Missourian in Colorado

Skidmore had many friends in Colorado.  Former residents who had temporarily moved west to escape the heat of the summer and those who permanently relocated to start new lives were frequent correspondents and frequent hosts to family and friends who came for visits.  The Skidmore Standard shared a number of items from the Wray, Colorado Rattler, as several Skidmore families had moved to that area.

Other Colorado news came by way of letters home.  W. R. Joel wrote to friends back in Skidmore, and the Standard obliged by publishing his letter on page 1 of its September 28, 1900 edition:

A Missourian in Colorado

Canon City, Colo., Sept. 22, 1900
Editor Standard:
Much has been published in your paper during the few months just passed, about the “Centennial State,” but as I have not seen anything from this part of the state I will try and give the reader a vague idea of the greatest garden spot, and the most picturesque part of Colorado.

Canon City is located 161 miles southwest of Denver.  The Denver & Rio Grande R. R., the Santa Fe and a branch road to Cripple Creek are located here.  Canon City is one of the prettiest towns on the globe.  It has an altitude of 5,280 ft above sea level, the population is about 5,000, that is including both North and South Canon as the Arkansas river divides the town.

The town has a great variety of industries, the largest zinc, copper and lead smelter in the world is located here, the state Penitentiary, a pickling factory, a brick factory and a fire clay brick factory, the Cripple Creek district power house, and a city lighting plant.

The Cripple Creek power house is located here because both water and fuel are plentiful.  The current is conducted to Cripple Creek over wires where it is used for lighting purposes and for running machinery at the mines.

There has been but one rain here since the first of June and that fell a week ago last Sunday, but nevertheless this is a great fruit and vegetable country, one of the greatest in the state; everything is raised by irrigation.  Apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, and all kinds of small fruits and vegetables are raised in abundance.  The farms are small, ranging from __ to 20 acres in size, and from $100 to $1,000 price per acre, depending upon location ot irrigation ditch and improvements.

All kinds of business is well represented here, wages are only fair.  One will see more sickly, weak looking people here in a day than they will in Missouri in a month.

Everyone here seems to think that Colorado will elect a clean Republican ticket.

The mineral springs are a great attraction to hundreds of people every summer.

I am going on a trip next week to Wet Mountain Valley, through the Royal Gorge and a great many other places of interest, and in my poor way I will try and tell you about them all.

It takes one-third longer to cook potatoes here than it does in Missouri, and twice as long to cook beans.  One woman farther along on Current Creek cooked beans for three days and then they were not done.  At Almont, Colo., you can hold your hand in water that is boiling and not feel the effects of the heat; this is all due to the high altitude.  If you Missourians don’t believe this, just come out here and I’ll show you.

We have had two heavy frosts here since I have been here, and one suffers with the cold at night with an overcoat on.

I will close for this time, but will try and write again.

Yours truly,
W. R. Joel

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