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1924 “We have a high school!” Custer County Peaks of the Past

(Information was gleaned mostly from copies of the Wet Mountain Tribune unless note otherwise, all from the first week in January)

140 Years Ago – 1884
From The Sierra Journal, Rosita 

Every smoker should try “Little Joker.” 

The Bullion output of Colorado for 1883 closely approximates $18,000,000. We still lead the world. 

Custer County increased her miner output for ’83 over the previous year over $150,000. With ordinary good luck this year she will double figures of last. 

Joe Chaffee has announced himself a candidate for Senator. Mr. Chaffee will relieve a vast burden of anxiety if he will state how much he proposes to put up. Also, will he render assistance to Horace in the gubernatorial line. 

The following was handed us by a gentleman from Chicago who spent several days in looking about our mines in which he voices the same sensible conclusion that has been arrived at by several intelligent mining men who have looked over our mines and carefully investigated the mineral resources of our great ore channels. He says:

Editor of Journal: I have been looking over a mineral belt in your district, from Humboldt northwesterly, including the East Leviathan, Leavenworth, Chieftain, Pioneer, Matchless, Silver Coin &c., &c,; and I cannot but conclude that each one and perhaps more in the same district and in your camp, are capable of producing ore in paying quantities if they were worked upon business principles by competent and intelligent managers. Suppose each of these properties were working 20 men only and they can be made to do that. I thought each mine was taking out ore sufficient to pay all expenses and such a margin as the property owners would be entitled to. It would give employment to from 150 to 200 men, and disburse in your place from $15,000 to $20,000 per month. How long would it be ere your camp would be resting upon a solid basis – would it not be wise for the owenrs of properties to offer capital such inducements as would secure such developments, thus restoring prosperity and adding growth and wealth to all around you. Signed – A Visitor.

100 years ago – 1924

Epochal Event Brings in year 1924 With Wave of Unalloyed Optimism Program given by student body a credit to themselves, the community, and more specially to the teachers in charge – indefatigable efforts of school board culminate in magnificent address of Dr. Bell

Tuesday, January 1, 1924, will long remain in the minds of our people a red-letter day in the annals of Custer County in general and of Westcliffe in particular. For that day marked the culmination, of the great initiatory movement, at least, of an event long anticipated and gloriously fulfilled – the completion of the high school building. In the dedicatory arrangements, which were surpassed only by the crowning achievement itself, were depicted results of efforts and deeds possible only in a community possessing the invaluable institution known as a high school. For upwards of forty years, to obtain a high school education in Custer County, when such advantages should have available, has been an impossibility. To obtain such an education necessitated attendance in a town outside the county, which in a deplorably large number of instances meant the removal of parents as well as children are the sort of citizens the community has need of and should by all means retain as residents, but who, becoming attached toother places, in all too numerous instances failed to return. Thus, the county lost not only the good people, themselves, but the students also, with their vastly increased value due to receiving a higher education.

We term the events of Tuesday epochal for the reason that in the future such removals will not occur, the parents will remain to uplift and bless the community, and the children with their increased ability and knowledge, will improve from generation-to-generation – all of which will redound to the credit of the high school.

The big ice house of the Gerrard Commission Company, under construction here and fast nearing completion was razed during the hard wind storm that prevailed during last Friday night and Saturday morning, entailing a loss and damage in labor of several hundred dollars. Having fresh in memory the calamity which befell the high school building a few weeks ago, Mr. Hill, the head carpenter at the ice house building, had exercised the greatest of care in bracing the structure, but all his pains proved of no avail, and the big 100 feet of frame work went down “kersmach” before the heavy gust, wrenching it from the foundation and breaking much of the lumber as though it was only matches. The wreck has been cleared and the work of the reconstruction is in progress.

Westcliffe and Custer County have another accomplishment than the high school in 1923 to be proud of and that is the establishment of a 24-hour electric service, the enterprise of the Custer County Electric Company, which was put through at a cost of about $20,000.

The ice harvest has been commenced.

William Kettle dropped down to Cañon on yesterday’s train.

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