Showing posts with label Penrose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Penrose. Show all posts

June 02, 2021

100th Anniversary: The Southern Colorado Floods of 1921



A Pueblo telephone operator made
this sketch after she was able to return to work.
If you have spent any time in southern Colorado, you've heard about the floods of early June 1921. Pueblo's gets the most attention: there are markers on old downtown buildings showing how far the water rose, with special attention to the old second-story telephone exchange room, where the "telephone girls" stayed at their switchboards, relaying emergency messages, until the water rose around their ankles and they were evacuated by boats.

The video comes from this Rocky Mountain PBS page about the flood.

Pueblo gets the attention because of the loss of life and the the property damage. 

But it was only Pueblo that suffered. The community of Penrose in eastern Fremont County was ripped by a flood whose damage still lingers when the days of steady rain cause the collapse of the earthen Shaeffer Dam on Beaver Creek.

The Glendale Stage Station in Penrose was put out of business
in the flood of 1921 and finally burned by vandals in the 1970s.
Heavy rains fell in early June of 1921, and by June 4th, cracks were appearing in the Schaeffer Dam. An urgent message was sent via horseback to all the settlers along Beaver Creek. Everyone heeded the call and took their livestock and as many household goods as possible to higher ground. On the morning of the 5th, the dam gave way and torrents of water raced downstream. The floodwaters continued from Beaver Creek down the Arkansas River all the way to Pueblo, where horrible flooding occurred. The fertile topsoil was washed away and most families did not return to the homesteads. No lives were lost and all the livestock were saved, but this was the end of the thriving settlements along Beaver Creek.

I don't think anything like June 1921 was seen again until June 1965, when Cherry Creek, which flows from the south into Denver, flooded, washing out Interstate 25 at Castle Rock and flooding parts of central Denver, but without as much loss of life. Cherry Creek Reservoir was built to keep that from happening again, and now it is a popular recreation area.

If you have information on the floods in other non-urban areas, please comment.

June 08, 2005

The Trouble (or not) with Cormorants

Driving with M. up to Tom Hirt's hat shop in Penrose today to order a birthday-present Panama hat, I saw a cormorant fly overhead as we crossed the Arkansas River at Florence.

When I was a kid, I hardly ever saw one. The same DDT that weakened the eggs of bald eagles attacked these fish-eating birds. I once photographed several cormorants sitting on a half-submerged log somewhere in the Sand Hills of Nebraska and thought I was seeing an exotic species. Now they are an "environmental success story"--or not, depending who you ask.

Allegations that cormorants are hurting game fish populations are now common. It's turned into a predictable battle between angler-funded state agencies and animal-rightists.

In the UK, where everything to do with sport fishing and shooting is so much more complicated, expensive, and screwed up, we see similar conflicts. "Cormorant Busters," indeed.

I haven't heard so much anger over cormorants here in Colorado, but maybe I haven't been hanging around at the right bait shops. I am hoping to go back to Penrose this evening to try for crappie at this little irrigation impoundment, and I will look for cormorants.

Meanwhile, summer will be half gone before the hat is ready, but that is the price you pay for custom work.

UPDATE: Two cormorants (two more than I would have seen ten years ago), no crappie, too much wind, but success on bluegills and too-small-to-keep largemouth bass.