Friday, May 6, 2011

The Fountain Herald - 1888 and 1903

Rocky Mountain News 6-7-1888
 Soon after the great explosion of 1888 and the destruction of the AT&SF depot, the D&RG was petitioned to build a depot in Fountain. 

Note that person requesting this was Mr. Reed, secretery of the Fountain Town and Improvement Company.  If he could secure a depot northeast of town, he would be better about to sell his new town lots there.  

The Fountain Herald 1888

Although the source of these news items is not known, it is likely that an issue from 1888 was reprinted in a later newspaper (after 1936) and comments added.


Residential lots and garden tracts in Warren and Hop- a Fountain addition, were being sold for $100-200 each by FJ Warren in the Ames Bldg.

The Fountain City Investment Company has 400 lots, which sell for $50-75, and several 2-5 acre tracts.  Business lots are $100-250.  Offered by JC Denny.

Curtis and Patton of Colorado Springs were advertising lots in the Hutchins Addition.  Joseph Patton is the agent, with an office in Fountain just west of the Santa Fe tracks on Missouri.

Mrs MT Mitchell was proprietress of the Mitchell House. Dr. JE Moore, surgeon, had his office there.  [The Mitchell House was along Illinois, between Race and Main, where the Aragon playground is today.]

AJ Benedict, post office store, stationery
TJ Benedict, postmaster
TK Cell, owner of the Pioneer Blacksmith Shop
RT Donnally, house and sign painting
Ariel W Green, tonsorial artist in the Ames block
HW Hutchins, owner Fountain Pioneer Store, genl merc.
WG Lewis, Eureka meat market
Rev H Lindsey, Baptist church, alternate Sabbaths
JT Logan, shoe and harness shop in the Ames bldg
Rev GA Loomis, Free Methodist Church, alternate Sabbaths
OS Loomis, hay and horses, corner of Iowa and Race
Frank B Ross, notary public
CF Smith, Fountain Lumber Yard

This article, which appeared in the Rocky Mountain News on Feb 4, 1888 suggests a number of new businesses coming to town, though it may have been a booster article influenced by all the real estate speculators!

FB Ross had a large new store completed.  The Weir Brothers of Denver were constructing cottages and two stores.  Collier and Treloar, also of Denver, would begin work on a hotel and houses on Iowa soon.  A creamery was planned and ET Hay plaaned to have the new Fountain Ware newspaper published within the week.  The Literary Society had 50 active members and met weekly!


Fountain was founded by Quakers in the 1870s.  The first church was Quaker and dates back to 1873.  The building was later used as a blacksmith shop before being destroyed in a fire.

Tom Owen may have been the first to settle in the Fountain district.  He told how he would leave his adobe house at night and hide along the Fountain creek in case the Indians raided his house.  His house stood about 3 miles south of Fountain and was destroyed in the Memorial day flood of 1935.  He came west from Providence, RI in 1858, proceeding west from Independence, MO by wagon.  He passed by the site of his future homestead en route to Denver, and the next year traded a team of oxen for the land.  Tom never married; he died in 1917. 

It was either Owen or Amos Terrell who was the first to build a house in the area.  Terrell had a frame and dirt house on the south edge of Fountain that was torn down after a flood.  It was a stagecoach station.  Mr. Terrell died in 1903 and Mrs. in 1906.  Mrs. Morris Askey, matron at the county farm, is their granddaughter and Anthony Bott their grandson.    
Mathias and Barbara Lock arrived soon after in 1860.  They also built a house south of Fountain.  They were from Quincy, IL and had been to Boulder and turned south.  He died in 1887 and she in 1915.  They went to Denver for provisions.  Their daughter Mrs. Spicer and grandchildren now live in Fountain.  HT Williams lived on the Lock Ranch in 1937 and is a descendant.  He said that there were two species of buffalo, the mountain and the prairie.  The last mountain buffalo was killed in Gillett Park in 1879.  The last plains buffalo was said to have been killed in 1873 by Hezekiah Bosworth and WW Perkins, both of Fountain.  They were on their way to the Perkins sheep ranch north of Crows Roost and were charged by a lone bull.

WF Roby and his son FF were prominent in development of the valley.  Henrietta Roby still lives on the Roby Ranch. 

Irene Benedict came west in a covered wagon.  

WG Riddock, formerly of Green Mt Falls, came to Fountain in the 1890s and was active in the irrigation ditch development.



There was a ranch house north of Fountain, with a windowed lookout on the roof. 

There remains as one wall of a cowshed at the Sweetland Ranch, a short distance north of Fountain, a part of an old fort in which Mrs. Hovena Spicer of Fountain took refuge during expected Indian attacks. 

Postmasters for Fountain

1864 Amos Terrell
1871 Edward H Gould
1873 Clayton Craft
1880 Henry Hutchins
1883 Elvina Hutchins
1886 Albert J Benedict had it in the back of the Crabb store and then later in the Terrell house.
1897 Grace Hutchins
1914  Loren Gore
1919 Nellie Pyles, widow of Thomas Benton Pyles
1924, 1928 Cora Northrup
1926 office was on Main St. next to Torbit's store
1936 Nellie King

The post office was in the Hutchins store until 1912 when Grace built a house on Missouri and operated it there.  In 1914 it moved to the Gore Store. 

Fountain Herald August 29, 1903

A copy of the front page of the Fountain Herald from this date was later reprinted in 1971.  This issue was placed in the time capsule in the school cornerstone when the building was constructed in 1903.  The school was demolished in 1971.  Further information of this can be found on the school page.

Historical of Fountain

About the year 1865 or 1866 the first house was built on low ground near Sand Creek, but a little later high water occasioned its removal to the site now occupied by the residence of WC Eastings.  About a year later Mr. Isaac Hutchin erected the house now occupied by our fellow townsman, Mr. GS Thompson, while a small building on the lots just south of this property accommodated Mr. Lincoln’s grocery store.

This little settlement was for convenience called Terrellville, in honor of Mr. Terrell who was the first postmaster of the place, and made periodical mail exchanges with the stage line plying past his door. The present post office building was the next to be erected, its lower floor being used as a storeroom and its upper story supplying the village with a public hall.

Other buildings spring up, and prospects of growth and prosperity were excellent until 1870, when the founding of Colorado Springs in such close proximity and with superior advantages, imposed a handicap hard to overcome.  However, existence was preserved, and one by one, a church, a school house, a second store building, a hotel and various residences were built.

In 1887 land speculators invaded the town, bought up considerable adjacent property, platted it into town lots and started a “boom”.  New buildings were erected, new business enterprises projected and the general outlook improved.  Then, like lightning’s stroke, fell the great catastrophe of our history.

At 3 am on May 14, 1888, three freight cars escaped from the trainmen in Colorado Springs switch yards and dashed down the heavy grade of the AT&SF railway, colliding with the north bound express drawn up beside the Fountain depot. [The article goes on to describe the 1888 wreck, and the laying of the cornerstone of the new school on August 29.]

[Editor’s notes: The 1903 article is valuable because of its age.  The facts given here by Ellington should be more accurate than items written about at a later time, although newspapers generally act as boosters, sometimes painting the improvements of a town a little too brightly.  Note that the writer makes no mention of Fountain being considered as the state capital. 

I think Ellington is describing the Terrell residences on Jimmy Camp Creek, known then as Sand Creek, and the Ark across Main Street from it.  From discussion about the oldest building in town, we know that the Ark was likely Requa and Craft’s store and post office in the 1870s before it was bought by Henry Hutchin in 1880.  Other articles suggest the Ark was initially a one-story adobe, later added onto. 

The small building south of the Hutchin/Thompson house is consistent with the building south of the Ark on Hutchin’s property.  This is a 2011 photo of the old structure just south of the Ark on S Main Street.  It may be made of adobe, and the county assessor places its age at about 1890. 
Ellington refers to this as Lincoln's store.  Did Andrew Lincoln operate the store before Requa & Craft, who were recorded there in 1874?  By 1892 Lincoln had moved to Seattle.  Was this always the store/ post office? 

The residences of Easting and Thompson are not known, but this could yield further support for this theory. 

In paragraph 2 we have a description of the 1903 post office location.  This does not match any known standing structures, and Woodmen Hall was not yet built.  Some say that Fountain’s Post Office was in Henry Hutchin’s home (the Ark) until 1912, when his daughter Grace Hutchin had the house on W Ohio built, with post office boxes in the front room.

The land speculators referred to in this article were the Fountain Town & Investment Company/ aka the Fountain City Investment Co.  From real estate transactions found online in old Gazette newspapers, it appears that the Reed Addition was platted in about 1887.  In an Apr 8, 1888 advertisement, 400 town lots and twelve 3-5 acre garden tracts were being offered for sale.

A clipping, attached to a WPA sheet, was found at the Pioneer Museum.  It mentions Mrs. Nellie Pyles, who with her husband published the Fountain Herald in 1921.  It also mentions the late V.Z. Reed, a Colorado Springs developer who helped lay out the Reed's addition on the east side of Fountain.  Few lots were sold or houses built. 

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