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Frontier Diary

Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyConstruction of the stone bathhouse at the hot springs pool was only one of the many improvements made in Glenwood Springs during 1888. The Ute Chief newspaper reported that the fame of the mineral waters had spread, and that more than 8,000 baths had been taken by patrons during a three-month period of that year. In addition, the hot mineral waters were credited with the town's low mortality rate, making Glenwood Springs a healthy community.
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On Jan. 1, 1889, the Ute Chief newspaper wished its readers a Happy New Year. The paper also looked back over the year past at the many accomplishments made by the residents of Glenwood Springs and of Garfield County. The review was positive.

Coal had been king in 1888. The drive to fill the energy needs of the population created a growing demand for miners. The Ute Chief predicted the workforce of this infant industry would grow from 300 men countywide to 5,000 within two years.

The 100 coke ovens at Cardiff operated around the clock, supplying a pure fuel for refining and smelting purposes. The payroll generated by the coking operations alone created a huge economic boost to the county.



Land surveys throughout Garfield County resulted in the formation of new townships and increased rural property values. Nine new schoolhouses were built countywide in 1888 to educate the children of these rural settlers. To connect these new settlements, old roads were repaired and new roads were constructed.

The Colorado Midland Railway worked to expand its line to New Castle. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was building to Rifle. The freight, passenger, and coal-transporting revenues generated would economically stimulate the county.



Electricity now lighted Glenwood Springs. A system supplying pure water to the town was completed. The new Hotel Barlow added lodging for visitors. Shade trees and graded streets dressed up the town’s appearance.

On July 4, 1888, the mammoth Hot Springs Pool officially opened to bathers. As the year drew to a close, the elegant stone bathhouse at the pool neared completion, boosting Glenwood Springs’ reputation as a handsome and healthful tourist destination.

The Ute Chief applauded the past accomplishments and predicted even greater improvements for the year ahead. But more importantly, readers were wished prosperity in the days to come.

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.


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