Frontier Diary |

Frontier Diary

Willa SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyEd S. Hughes, left, at his wholesale liquor distributorship at 824 Grand Ave. While having his beginnings in the bottling and making of aerated beverages, Hughes found his fortune in the distribution of liquor, making him one of the most politically powerful men in Glenwood Springs.

Born in New Jersey on April 10, 1857, Edwin S. Hughes came to Leadville in the early 1880s. While he drove a delivery wagon for soda water manufacturer Isaac Hougland, Hughes undoubtedly learned the craft of making and distributing beverages. In about 1884 Hughes relocated to Aspen, opening a bottling plant in conjunction with Charles Lang. By 1886, Hughes had settled in Glenwood Springs.Demand for Glenwood Hot Springs mineral water was growing. By 1887, Hughes had landed a contract to bottle this elixir known as “Yampah Water.” His business, the Glenwood Bottling Works, was highlighted in the Jan. 1, 1887, Aspen Daily Times newspaper as producing “all kinds of aerated drinks, such as ginger ale, cider, sarsaparilla, beer, etc.”Hughes’ business quickly grew. In 1894 he expanded his operation to include the wholesale distribution of liquor and beer. Of course this lucrative enterprise fueled the need for larger facilities. Hughes moved his operations to 824 Grand Ave. that same year.Alcohol consumption drove the local economy. No fewer than a dozen saloons existed in Glenwood Springs the year before Hughes’ distributorship opened. Hughes supplied liquor to a majority of these businesses. Additionally, he was the distributor to mining camps such as Cardiff and Spring Gulch.Business was good. Over time, the acquisition of land and buildings only added to his wealth. Financial success, of course, lead to political power. As the 20th century dawned, Hughes’ attempt to control the wholesale liquor market pitted distributor against distributor, and ultimately created an intense battle over the political control of Glenwood Springs.Hughes died in October 1915, just two months before prohibition became law in the state of Colorado. However, Hughes had amassed a fortune selling liquor. He left his heirs an estate valued at $196,808.”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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