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Irish citizens influenced early Glenwood Springs

Frontier Diary
Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyPatrick Carr came from Ireland in 1871 and settled in Glenwood Springs in about 1883, opening one of Glenwood Springs' first saloons.
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“Irish? In truth I would not want to be anything else. It is a state of mind as well as an actual country.” ” Edna O’Brien, Irish author

For Patrick Carr, the frontier town of Glenwood Springs offered opportunity and excitement. Born in Ireland in 1851, Carr had come to the United States as a 20-year-old man. He first settled in Taunton, Mass., taking up the blacksmith’s trade. He then mined lead in Missouri. Finally, in the early 1880s, he came to Leadville, where he sought his fortunes in the mines.

With the town of Glenwood Springs rising from the sagebrush along the Grand River, Carr saw the town needed saloons. With that knowledge, Patrick Carr in about 1883 established one of Glenwood Springs’ first saloons, located near the intersection of today’s Cooper Avenue and Seventh Street. From humble beginnings in a tent, Carr’s Pioneer Saloon quickly grew into a wood-framed structure.



Described as “a genial, whole-souled gentlemen”, Carr was a businessman who held his interests and those of the town as his own. Upon reaching financial security in 1888, he married Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of Iowa, and together the couple returned to Glenwood Springs.

Elizabeth Fitzpatrick’s parents also came from Ireland. Of her 12 siblings, a younger brother, Philip, decided to make Glenwood Springs his home.



Philip Fitzpatrick arrived in 1889, and immediately began to make a favorable impression. In 1891, at the age of 26, he was unanimously elected to the position of Glenwood Springs’ city marshal. Described as “thorough and conscientious in his work and a terror to law breakers,” he was re-elected to a second term of office in 1892. Of the criminals crossing his path, three men were sent to do time at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City, and one did time at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for forgery.

Marshal Fitzpatrick married Maggie Coughlan in Glenwood Springs in 1894, with the couple relocating to Victor shortly thereafter. The community was saddened to learn of his death there in 1900.

Patrick Carr continued to live in Glenwood Springs until about 1910 when he, his wife and only child moved to Denver. He pursued mining interests until his death in the 1930s.

“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. For more information, call 945-4448.


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