W. J. Skidmore Among the Rockies, 1902

The Skidmore Standard’s “Punkin Editor,” W. J. Skidmore, enjoyed traveling and especially enjoyed writing about his travels. He provided the following travelogue in the August 19, 1902 edition:

Among the Rockies.
Other Colorado Points and Denver.
By Our Punkin Editor.

The Missouri Press Association met in Kansas City the 23 and 24 of last month. No doubt the Standard readers are aware of the fact, or perhaps have forgotten it by this time. However that matters but little as the principal object of this article will treat in as digressive a manner as possible of the impressions — real or fancied — captured mostly on the Press excursion, from guides, guide books or othe rsources of unlimited information.

While in Kansas City Mr. — no, guess we’d better call him Col. as most good fellows like to be called that — so Col. Commercial Club hitched up a lot of tallyhos, carriages, coaches, barouches -and- well anything they could hitch to, and took us a drive out on the Boulevard. It is not completed yet but we were driven over about fifteen miles of it.

Each rig was furnished with a guide — or at least the rig we were in had one — to tell us what we didn’t know. Our guide was a very nice young fellow as he didn’t persist in telling us things we didn’t want to know. A swamp angel — we do not want our readers to think that a swamp angel looks anything like the picture of a common ordinary angel, because he don’t, leastwise this one don’t — from southeast Missouri was in our rig. He was quite a talker, but he miscalculated the distance around the town and he got so dry he could hardly talk. And he wanted water to drink. Yes, real genuine water. On passing a gas main, way out in the suburbs, he asked the guide if he — the guide — could unlock that thing and let him have a drink of water. Finally we came to a stand where a little girl had three or four bottles of soda pop out in the sunshine to warm and I think he bought her whole stock. That made him talk easier for a while. In returning to the business part of the city we came to a fountain and he wanted the whole crowd to stop and drink at his expense. He said it was the most water he had seen for two hours. He intended to go with the excursion to Colorado, but he said if the scarcity of water increased as one went further west, like it had since he left home, he never could live out there at all. So he didn’t go.

Golly! but we were the whole business on that drive. We attracted more attention than half a dozen circus parades. The street gamin on seeing our badges, hollowed, “Hay there fellow, what’s on you?” He hay’d and we haw’d and passed on.

After the association had closed its business, most of the delegates with their wife or sweetheart or some other man’s wife or fellow’s best girl, hied them away to other Colorado points and Denver.

We left Kansas City about 7 p.m. over the Santa Fe route. Starting at that time of day we did not get to see much of Kansas before dark and unless one got up early they would not see much of that state in the morning. We stopped at La Junta, Colo., for breakfast. The writer remembers stopping at this place for dinner way back in the 80’s. It was a very desolate looking place at that time. Now it is quite a nice little town of perhaps 3,000 people and lots of good farming country surrounding.


The next place of any importance is Rocky Ford, which as far as I have seen, is in, I believe, the garden spot of Colorado. There is a factory here for making sugar from sugar beets. There is another factory north of here about 12 or 15 miles. One of the factories belongs to that sticky fingered octopustical — I am not so much in politics any more, so I am not sure that word is up to date in political parlance, but will let it go at that — sugar trust, and the other one belongs to the trust that is trying to bust the sugar trust, but which is which I don’t know.

It wasn’t long after we got out of the sugar business until we reached Pueblo. This is quite a little city of perhaps 40,000 population. It is quite a manufacturing place and has several large smelters for the reduction of ore and has one among the largest steel plants of the world, where not only native ore is made into steel, but most all kinds of heavy steel products are made. We didn’t stop here but a few minutes and then we pulled out in a northerly direction toward Colorado Springs where we arrived at 12 o’clock, noon. As there was nothing particular to see in Colorado Springs the party went to Manitou, about 5 or 6 miles distant and really at the base of the mountains.

A trip through the Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie was arranged for, but the man who agreed to take us had hard work to get teams enough to take the whole party. Before all had got conveyances the man who was furnishing the rigs said he didn’t know whether he could get enough to take all of us, so the writer and his better half started down the street to find some way to go anyhow. We found a rig and after we got in the driver wanted to get a load, so who should he find but Col. White and his wife, who had waited to see everybody else off, and were then hunting a way to go.

We were the last to start and the first to return. We broke the record, on time, through the Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie. It was Col. White’s seeing Europe in 5 days sort of a gait. But our guide was good and he never insisted on stretching our imagination to the ripping point, but just kept a-driving. To keep on schedule time we did not have long to see around at Manitou, but most everyone had a good time while there. There are many places of interest to tourists near around Manitou.

Our cars had been left at Colorado Springs and as night came on the newspaper people came in a few at a time, tired from the half-day’s hustling sight-seeing. We were taken on to Denver the next morning, arriving there at about 7 o’clock.