Tourism trumped egg hatchery |

Tourism trumped egg hatchery

Willa SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyThis pre-1900 photograph shows the south side of the Grand (Colorado) River looking east from Glenwood Springs. Dotted along this southern bank were numerous hot springs, all of which were seen as a business opportunity for an unnamed Philadelphia man proposing a poultry incubation plant in this area in 1904. His vision never became a reality. In the foreground of this photograph is one of Glenwoods early vapor caves.

Hot mineral waters. For thousands of years, man has believed in the curative powers of waters produced from boiling springs deep within the earth. This belief carried forward with the formal development of the Glenwood Hot Springs in 1888. The waters were believed to be an amazing cure for a wide array of illnesses.However, a Philadelphia capitalist saw another use for the hot waters. The man, unnamed in the Avalanche Echo of Dec. 8, 1904, saw the local hot springs waters not for their medical uses, but instead as an opportunity for industry. The mysterious Philadelphia capitalist wanted to harness the waters for use as incubation heat to hatch the eggs of thousands of chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.The world renowned hot springs would not be part of the plan. Instead, the numerous small undeveloped hot springs located on the south side of the Colorado River near the railroad tunnel just east of town were proposed for the venture. The plant would consist of 25 incubators. Within these incubators, zinc-lined apartments were to be filled with running hot springs water cooled from 127 degrees Fahrenheit to temperatures ranging from 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Incubator drawers, each holding about 200 eggs, would be set inside of the water-filled compartments. The visionary Philadelphia capitalist predicted the possible production of 5,000 to 6,000 hatched eggs each month, depending upon egg availability.The Avalanche Echo newspaper, a proud booster of agriculture, wrote a glowing review of the proposal and placed the article on the front page of its Dec. 8, 1904, edition. After all, business was welcomed in Glenwood Springs. However, a poultry-producing business at the gateway to Glenwood Springs seemed to be at opposition to the town’s tourist amenities. It had taken over a decade for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to construct its newly opened depot at the riverfront location. This depot was specifically designed to blend with the architecture of the pool and the Hotel Colorado, providing a unified gateway to Glenwood Springs. A poultry plant, no matter how beautifully designed, would negate in a blink of an eye the town’s health resort image.The Philadelphian’s poultry scheme, thankfully, never materialized, and the beautiful architecture of the depot, pool complex and Hotel Colorado continued to be the first things witnessed by visitors to Glenwood Springs.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.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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