Millie Phipps Goes to Colorado, 1905

Perhaps you’re traveling this summer and posting pictures to Instagram or updates on Facebook.  Maybe you’re old-fashioned, like we are, and you still like to send postcards.  Or, perhaps you’re like Millie Phipps, and you’ll send a letter to the editor of your home paper, like this one published in the September 21, 1905 Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri) on page 4:

My Trip to Colorado.

Mr. Editor:–

I left Mound City, September 4th, in company with Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Mann and two children, via St. Joseph for Denver.  We left St. Joseph at 12 o’clock and arrived at Denver at 3 p.m., Tuesday.

Our train was several hours late on account of being such a long one and so heavily loaded.  There were 13 coaches and all full, and some had to stand up nearly all the way.

The G. A. R. parade took place on Wednesday and we would have liked very much to have seen it but, we were informed that it was impossible to get lodging, for love or money so we took the train for Pueblo, which is about 115 miles south of Denver.  This is a very fine city, of about 65,000 population.  All the hotels and business houses are of stone or brick.  It is a very smoky city owing to the steel and iron smelteries.  It is the Pittsburg of the west.

Wednesday we went to Colorado Springs and took a street car for Colorado City, the old town, which was at one time the capital city. Here we found lodging and board as reasonable as could be found in Missouri.  We got furnished rooms for 50 cents per night for each, and breakfast 25 cents each except children which was only 15 cents.  There was plenty to eat and it was well cooked. I was very much surprised at finding meals so cheap as I was told before going that I would have to pay $1.00 per meal.

On Thursday we walked to the half way station on the Cog Road to Pike’s Peak.  The Peak has an altitude of 14, 147 feet which extends upward from Manitou, at its base, nearly two perpendicular miles.  For $5.00 tourists may ascend and descend the mountain via the famous Cog Road, which is nearly 9 miles long.  This road was completed in 1890 at a cost of nearly $1,000,000.  We were told that two women and three men died the week we were there, who had gone to the top on the cars.  The altitude is so high that a great many cannot stand the trip.  There is much beautiful scenery to be seen along this road.  Manitou is a city of 2,500, situated at the foot of the mountains.  There are found the famous soda and iron springs which together with the  scenery surrounding it has made it one of the most popular summer resorts of Colorado. It is called the Saratoga of the west.

On Friday we went to Cripple Creek which is claimed to be the greatest gold mining camp in the world.  It is a city of 10,000 population entirely surrounded by mountains.  The distance from Colorado Springs across the country is only 20 miles but owing to the winding of the road around the mountains in order to reach the city it is 45 miles long and runs through nine tunnels and sometimes between walls of solid rock which have been blasted out.  We were at one time at an altitude of 10,400 feet the road then went down and around the mountains and we were in full view of the whole city three times before reaching it.  Friday morning we visited the Seven Falls in South Cheyenne Canon.  This is a beautiful sight.  On the road to the Falls one walks part of the time between walls of solid rock which are so high he can hardly see to the top.  A mile or more above the Falls is the grave of Helen Hunt Jackson, one of America’s truest poets and most remarkable women.  Mrs. Jackson was always interested in the welfare of the Indians, and in 1883 was made a commissioner by the government to look into the condition of the Mission Indians of California.  AT her own request she was buried in the Rockies but on account of parties charging tourists to look at her grave, her husband had her body removed to Colorado Springs cemetery. She had lived most of the latter part of her life at Colorado Springs.

On Friday afternoon we hired a carriage with a guide and rode through the Garden of the Gods five miles northwest of Colorado Springs.  The Garden covers 700 acres.  There are many curious formations of rock to be seen there.  The first we came to was the Mushroom Garden which resembles mushrooms in color and formation.  Among others were the baggage room, wine cellar, elephant’s head, Dutch wedding, Jacob’s ladder, Cleveland and family, Roosevelt guarding the Philippines, McKinley’s head and many others.

A person needs to carry a good deal of imagination with him on a trip through the garden.  In this garden is the balance rock which rests its hundred tons of weight on a few feet of base.  We then drove to Glen Eyrie three and one half miles northwest of Colorado Springs contains Echo Rocks, Cathedral Rocks and Major Domo.  Glen Eyrie is the private grounds of Gen. Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs, who has built a fine castle at the foot of the Rockies, and is reached by a beautiful boulevard.  Mr. Palmer spends about one-half his time in Europe.

Sunday morning we boarded the train for the Queen City of the Plains, on arriving there we took a street car and went to the city park, which is very beautiful and contains 320 acres of lawn shrubbery, and water.  It is one and one-half miles northeast of the State Capitol.  Two lakes with boating facilities, deer, elk, buffalo, and antelope in Zoological garden, wild animals in cages, natural history museum and miles of drive ways for autos or horse vehicles.

We took the train at 2:30 p.m., and arrived home MOnday evening feeling that we were well paid for having taken the trip.

Millie C. Phipps.