Emma Abbott Gage.

Western wanderings and summer saunterings through picturesque Colorado online

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daily for fifty weeks out of the fifty-two and not
suffer any annoyance from mud or snow. Add to
this the fact that neither lights, brakes nor bells are
required and the agility of the non-rider in taking
care of himself can be appreciated.

Denver is also said to be the only city in the
country where the bicycle vote controls elections
on municipal issues.

We cannot vouch for the authenticity of this,
but we were told that a young lady, standing on
the veranda of her home on a popular thorough-
fare, in five minutes counted 900 wheels passing.
Most women here ride diamond frames, and noth-
ing is thought of it. Nearly all lady riders wear the
divided skirt

Denver boasts a woman superintendent of
schools. Her name is Emma M. Hery, and she


had been a teacher in Denver schools. Miss Hery
is 23 years old, of charming personality, being a
fine talker and a delightful writer. She is an active
member of the Denver Woman's Press Club, and
has done some fine writing, having taken prizes for
her short stories. When the bicycle craze first
struck Colorado, Miss Hery learned to ride, and
she was so delighted with the experience that she
at once wrote " A Love Story on Wheels." Miss
Hery is a staunch Democrat, and was elected on
the straight Democratic ticket by a plurality of
2,818. Her opponent, also a woman, had a strong

Visitors, that we should call " green " or " hay-
seeds " in the East, are here called " pilgrims " and
" tenderfeet." We fear the verdancy of our east-
ern innocence has long since classed us in this cate-
gory. It took the writer some little time to find
out what a burro is. We heard them talked of
quite a little before we realized a burro is only an-
other name for donkey, or " Colorado Canary
Birds " as they are called. They are very useful
in climbing the mountains, and must get their
name from the manner in which they burrow their
feet into the mountain pass or burro-trail, and thus
take a secure footing. They are safe climbers and
sure-footed. They know every inch of their


There are four leading newspapers in Denver.
Shades of get-in-the-push journalism, deliver us
from Annapolis' multiplicity, where there are a
half-dozen or more ! Denver's papers are The Re-
publican, The Rocky Mountain News, The Post and
The Times. All are progressive and up-to-date
newspapers, and each sells for five cents per copy.
Think of it five cents. That's making money,
isn't it? It nearly took our breath when we pur-
chased copies of the various newspapers, and were
asked a nickel for each. We indignantly walked
off, exclaiming something about our eastern
papers selling for a penny and being a great
deal better. One thing that struck us about
these Denver papers was that no advertisements
ever appear on the first page. We rather like
this idea, and agree with the western editor
who says " ads." on the first page spoil the appear-
ance of the paper. But for news, these western
papers are not equal to ours. So far as Maryland
is concerned, she might as well be wiped off the
map, for there is never any news in Denver papers
from Maryland. How we longed to see even a
weather report from " Maryland, My Maryland,"
but longed in vain. We took the liberty to tell a
newspaper man here that our Baltimore Sun, the
leading organ in newspaperdom in Maryland, con-
tained, not only local and State news, but news


from every part of the United States, even Denver;
and that Denver papers wanted to take lessons in
progressive journalism from our Baltimore Sun.

Women, in Denver, take as much interest in pol-
itics as men. Perhaps we should qualify this by
saying some women. As we stated in a previous
chapter, they are privileged to vote on all municipal
and State matters, and several of them are judges
of election.

We were not a little amused to see barouches
filled with ladies driving about the city, preparing
for their fall campaign. They had displayed a con-
spicuous cover on their horses, informing the pub-
lic they were for " Bryan and Free Silver." Great
interest was manifested in the fall election in Den-
ver, when a vote to buy its own water-plant was
taken. An ordinance has been passed by the city
council compelling the car company, The Denver
Tramway, to heat all of its cars during the winter

A young lady from the East visiting Denver de-
clared she was an A No. i cake-maker. Her hos-
tess gave her an opportunity to demonstrate her
ability in that line. The cake was a failure. Moral
Cake cannot be made in Denver as it is made in
Annapolis or Baltimore. Less butter and less
sugar are required here, because of the altitude,
which is one mile above sea-level, and which ma-
terially affects the baking.


One does not expect to find such fine stores and
business houses so far West as he sees here. Every-
thing that can be procured East may be purchased
here for almost the same money. We were par-
ticularly impressed with the elegant display in one
of the leading furniture houses here, that of Coop-
er, Powell and Shaw. The very latest and hand-
somest furniture of all kinds was displayed, the
" Dutch Marquetry " being the latest and most
unique in bed-room furniture. Prices compare
favorably with those of the East, although the
freight so far West is a big consideration. We had
the distinguished pleasure of sitting in a chair that
cost $150, and which had been sold to a Denver
lady, whose reception room it is to adorn. We re-
marked to the salesman that if it cost $150 to sit
down, we would prefer standing the rest of our
natural life.

There is something about these western people
that commends itself to one from the East, some-
thing that invites admiration. The Easterner's
pride is provincial. He sends out no invitations to
his fellow-countrymen to come and dwell within
his gates. The Westerner is different. He blows
his own horn, and wants the outside world to have
a finger in the pie he has made. He has long since
lived down the idea that " too many cooks spoil the
broth." " The East is a good place to be born,"


some one has said, " but the West is a better place
to grow." One seems to sprout here. There is
something in the climate or the altitude favorable
to expansion not of the imperialistic sort, how-
ever. Here the field is less circumscribed, and
more conducive to the sprouting tendency, which
is latent in those who, like the writer, have been
born into this vale of tears with an interrogation
point behind them.



Leaving- Denver, a night and day's ride over the
popular Rock Island route, brings one to the me-
tropolis of the mid-continent, Kansas City, a city
the growth of which is almost as astonishing as that
of the " Queen City of the Plains." While the
growth of Kansas City has also been " phenome-
nal," yet it has been healthy, natural and is now a
continuous growth.

During the first year of the war, business in
Kansas City was at a standstill, no money was in
circulation, and the municipality was paying its
debts in shin-plasters. As the government began
to issue paper money, a good deal of it was sent
here to pay the soldiers. This revived matters
somewhat, and during 1863 quite a number of wag-
ons were loaded for the Mexican trade.

In September, 1864, General Price made his cele-
brated raid through Missouri. He swept through


the counties on the south of the Missouri river,
driving all before him till he came to the crossing
of the Blue, about seven miles east of Kansas City.
Here, he was met and disastrously defeated by the
Kansas and Colorado troops under General Curtis,
when he fled south into Arkansas. This was
known as the battle of Westport. Had Price suc-
ceeded in forcing a passage to Kansas City, he
would have been met by the entire male population
of the town, behind fortifications which they had
thrown around the city in all directions.

In 1864, the latter part of the year, the railroad
fever was started by the opening of a railroad from
Kansas City to Lawrence, and, at the close of hos-
tilities, Kansas City was rapidly recovering her
ground. However, the panic of 1873 and the lo-
cust plague of Kansas City in 1874, hurt Kansas
City's trade to a great extent. But misfortunes are
often pioneers of fortune. The people of Kansas
City were compelled to buy wheat for consump-
tion in Iowa and Missouri; and the grain market
of Kansas City, then in its infancy, received a great
impetus by being made the handler of this wheat.

With the balance of the country, Kansas City, in
1876, began to progress with great strides, which
continued steadily up to the collapse of the "boom"
in 1887-88. Then the panic of 1893 came. The
people here were too anxious to get rich in a hurry,


and while many are striving to attain riches to-day,
yet they are taking time to enjoy the pleasures
of living, which one cannot buy with money.

Business here to-day is being done on a safe con-
servative basis, and the outlook is very bright.

Kansas City has a magnificent railroad system.
Twenty-two lines enter this great mart and trans-
portation centre, and more are seeking entrance.
Some cities have prospered by reason of their nat-
ural advantages, and some cities by reason of their
energy, but Kansas City owes her advancement to
both. Geographical position and transportation
facilities have all to do with the growth of a city,
and Kansas City is no exception. Here was the
great bend of the mighty Missouri river and the
mouth of the Kaw.

The river turned north and the overland route
turned west at this point. It was the meeting and
parting place. The steamboats and the prairie-
schooners came together and separated here. All
around, 400 miles in every direction, was a country
marvelously prolific in every natural resource, and
a soil rich in every element necessary to the produc-
tion of everything grown in a warm and temperate
climate. Here was an immense alluvial valley 700
to 800 feet above the sea, 500 miles from the Great
Lakes, 1,000 miles from the Gulf, 1,500 miles from
the Atlantic and 2,500 miles from the Pacific.


Here was the converging point; the conditions
existed; Kansas City was evolved. The early his-
tory of Kansas City is full of interest. The city is
said to have been founded in 1821, when the Amer-
ican Fur Company established a supply depot here.
This was done on account of the city's location at
the junction of the two rivers. In these early days,
as now, navigable rivers were the highways of com-
merce. It is said, the time is not far distant when
the Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio rivers
will be the great highways of travel, the like of
which has not been seen in the world's history, and
Kansas City will take her place as one of the
world's capitals.

Some one has prophesied that with the opening
of the canal, joining the Gulf of Mexico to the Pa-
cific Ocean (a clear navigation at all seasons of the
year, barring ice, from Omaha to St. Louis, from
St. Paul to New Orleans, from Pittsburgh to Cairo),
Kansas City can make herself the world's granary.
Wheat, corn, pork and beef are what the world
(man and his domestic family) lives on, and Kansas
City will some day be the world's greatest market
for these staples. Kansas City gets its name from
the Kansas river, which flows into the Missouri at
this point, and the Kansas river gets its name from
the tribe of Indians of that name who lived in this
section. The Indian pronunciation of the name


was Kanzau, from which the abbreviation " Kaw "
comes. The French explorers wrote the word
" Kansas."

In 1825, the Indians surrendered their title to
the land on which Kansas City stands. The fol-
lowing year, Jackson county was formed with Inde-
pendence as the county seat. The many Indian
tribes that were sent by the government to the ter-
ritory west of Missouri made Kansas City their
trading point. This was a great support to the
town for many years. In 1832, the Mormons made
settlements at Independence and Westport Land-
ing (as Kansas City was then known), but a year
later, the citizens drove them out and they con-
tinued their march westward. In 1824, when trade
was established overland with Mexico, Kansas
City became headquarters for fitting out the wag-
ons. Freight was carried up the Missouri and un-
loaded here. The fine pasture around was also an
inducement to the freighters to feed the horses and
the oxen. This trade continued until the advent
of the railroads, which now do the same thing as
the wagons, carry Kansas City products and wares
throughout the entire West and Southwest.

In 1860, Kansas City had a population of 4,418;
to-day, its inhabitants number 250,000. In 1860,
Kansas City had but two newspapers, both week-
lies; to-day, it has four dailies the Journal, the



Times, the Star and the World and several week-
lies. No city has made greater strides under more
unfavorable circumstances than Kansas City. Like
most other cities, the outbreak of the Civil War in
1 86 1 was a severe blow, its people having already
had a taste of the coming strife in their border
wars. No enmity of man for man was ever keener
than that developed in Missouri and Kansas be-
tween the "Yankee" settlers from the East and
the slave-owners. Kansas City had its experi-
ence already in the free-soil controversy and
Kansas wars of John Brown, his sympathizers and
followers. The city had a majority of loyal Un-
ionists, but being in a hostile state, she was repeat-
edly visited by bands of " guerillas." Trade soon
forsook her for Leavenworth and Atchison, and
her population dwindled to one-half. The mayor,
to protect the citizens from the secessionists, was
obliged to organize a regiment of United States
volunteers, and from this time the city was a mili-
tary post until the close of the war.

Kansas City is 750 feet above sea-level, while
Denver is one mile above, and is therefore more
than seven times as high. Coming from Denver,
the difference in the altitude of the two cities is very

Kansas City is built upon hills, and it is difficult
for one to go a block without having to climb one


of these hills, or go down one in the most gingerly
fashion for fear one will lose his balance and topple
over. The tourist, coming from Denver, with its
level streets, wonders why progressive, enterpris-
ing Kansas City does not have a " shoot the chute "
arrangement on some of these steep grades, or a
hoisting machine, by which the more weighty of
God's creatures may be lifted up and down without
extraordinary effort, or excessive respiration.

Because of the steep grades throughout the city,
there are few electric cars, nearly all the lines being
cable. One of these cable-lines running over to
Union Depot, goes down what is called the "in-
cline " we should be inclined to call it perpendicu-
lar, for the steep grade, running over a trestle-work
as it does, reminds one of coming down Pike's
Peak. To the uninitiated, riding down the "in-
cline " for the first time is a thrilling experience,
and makes one's hair stand on ends like " quills
upon the fretful porcupine." There have been
accidents here, but not many, and the greatest care
is exercised by the car company to prevent them.

Kansas City, unlike the ancient metropolis,
Rome, is not built upon seven hills, but to the
writer it seemed to be built upon seventy times
seven. Because it is built upon hills, Kansas City
is a sort of rara avis. The occupants of its houses
can go to the street from most any floor. We


were not a little amused because of this peculiar fea-
ture. When visiting one of the public buildings,
we entered in the customary way, from the side-
walk. After " doing " the ground floor of the
building, we ascended the stairs and were shown
the sights on the second floor. As there was noth-
ing to be seen of interest above, we made our exit
at the rear of the second floor and were amazed to
find ourselves on the sidewalk without descending
any steps. Remarking on this, we were graciously
informed that nearly every floor of the buildings
in Kansas City was on a level with the street.
From personal experience in climbing, it did not
take us long to find this an apt illustration of its

The climate of Kansas City is not unlike that
of Maryland. In its normal state it is mild and
salubrious, but, like the little girl of legendary
lore, whose ungracious qualities we paraphrase,
when it is hot, it is very, very hot; and when it is
cold, it is horrid. August and September are the
warmest months here, but this year October had
her " innings." She wasn't going to be outrun
in the race with the mercury, and let her sisters,
August and September, outdo her, so she work-
ed herself up to fever heat and above it, and in
the middle of the month the mercury registered 94
degrees. " Do you often have this weather in Oc-


tober? " we asked one of the swear-by oldest inhab-
itants. " Oh, no/' was the quick response, " this
is altogether unusual, we haven't had a hot spell
like this in October for over 30 years." Evidently,
we were the " hoodoo," or maybe Kansas City was
extending us an unusually warm welcome; but we
preferred a cooler one, especially since we had left
Colorado in furs, and now had to fish out of the
bottom of our trunk a palm-leaf fan and organdies.
This is truly a great country where one can travel
from the temperature of one zone into the tem-
perature of another in the space of a night and
day. On the I7th of last October there was
snow on the ground in Kansas City, while on
the 1 7th of this October the temperature was
in the nineties. The winters here are unusually
mild. December is often as pleasant as May.
Driving is indulged in at Christmas the same as
any other time in the year as a pastime and a
pleasure, and poultry and stock can find outdoor
pasture nine months in the year. Kansas City, like
Annapolis, is a healthful place to live in. Her death-
rate is small compared with other cities of her size.
Kansas City's death-rate per thousand as compared
with that of some other cities is : Memphis, 24; New
Haven, 20; Baltimore, 19; Cambridge, 18; St.
Louis, 17; Hartford, 17; Reading, 14; Dayton, O.,
12; Kansas City, 10; Denver, 10.


To the geologist, Kansas City is extremely inter-
esting. Its vicinity is interlaid with what geolo-
gists term the upper coal measures. Although
these do not furnish coal, they furnish limestone
and sandstone for building purposes, and also
shales, fine clays and mineral paints. The city has
unlimited stone quarries, the veins of which are
from 1 6 to 18 feet thick. The bluff, or loess forma-
tion, has a thickness of some 80 feet; the clay from
it makes excellent brick.

Much of the limestone is hydraulic, and cement
is made from it. Kansas City has within itself all
the facilities for building houses. There is also
plenty of wood in the vicinity, and some one has
said there are groves and groves of from 30- to 50-
year trees, within 10 miles of Kansas City, that
would furnish all the interior finishings builders
would want. It is said, in this same territory wood
is given away. The Kansas City people don't burn
enough wood to make it an object of interest for
the country people to haul it to town.

Kansas City is of prehistoric interest. In the
masses of earth that have been hauled away from
the hills in building the city, all sorts of curious
relics have been found. Skeletons, one of which
was eight feet; and many of the bones found were
in masses of charcoal, tending to show that crema-
tion was practiced even in those early days. Axe-


heads, flint-heads, and portions of stone-houses
have been found in digging away these hills on
which Kansas City is built. To its first settlers,
the site of Kansas City presented a very rugged as-
pect. High bluffs, towering up from the river,
here and there seamed by deep ravines, certainly
appeared a very uninviting place, upon which to
build a city.

The early settlers, however, never dreamed that
their own town would extend farther than the level
ground beyond the river. This ground is not now
sufficient to accommodate the railroads, which
have formed a belt, encircling the entire city:
also Kansas City, Kansas, the city across the
river, the name of which was formerly Wyandotte.
Kansas City has now 22 railroad systems, with 58,-
225 miles of track. It has two more roads than
Chicago. The first railroad coming into Kansas
City was the Missouri Pacific. It commenced
building from St. Louis on July 4th, 1850, and
reached Kansas City in September, 1865.

Kansas City's railroads traverse 30 States and
Territories. 14 roads own their own terminals,
and there are 1,550 miles of switch-track in the city.
190 passenger-trains and 337 freight-trains arrive
and depart daily from Kansas City. Between 5,000
and 6,000 men are employed by the railroad here,
and an average of 118,000 tons of freight is hauled


Kansas City, being practically at the centre of
this great spider-web of tracks, has the real control
of the business originated there, and is the gateway
through which must pass all passenger and freight
business for this territory. The advantages afford-
ed by the shipping facility and passenger conveni-
ence can be appreciated thoroughly only by those
who realize the volume of trade of the southwest
section. Having more railroads than Chicago, and
the area covered by them being more extended, and
more largely and variedly productive than the area
penetrated by the Chicago lines, Kansas City's fu-
ture is not in doubt.

If she ever expects to catch up with Chicago,
however, she must, like her, get water-transporta-
tion. All great cities in the world's history have
been built where they could reach the outside world
by ships and steamers. There is no exception to
this rule, either in ancient or modern times. What
have the cities of Glasgow and Manchester done to
bring the ships of the world to them? What did
the State of New York do at Hell Gate, and New
Orleans with her levees? What is Russia doing to
connect her seas? Instances without limit can be
cited to show how important water-navigation is
considered to the successful commerce of a city.

Water-navigation is the handmaiden of railroad-
transportation. When we can navigate the Mis-


souri river, the western roads will not have to pay
that large tariff to the eastern lines in order to get
their consignments to the seaboard; the Missis-
sippi will not be the dividing line on the " long
haul," but will be the starting and ending point,
and the western roads will dictate tariffs to the
eastern. The West dictates in politics, and so it
will also in conveyance and transportation, which
are virtually making the price of food-products for
the world. Kansas City, as we have said, is built
upon hills. Coming from the East, we should be
tempted to call them mountains, had we not seen
those towers of Colorado, the Rockies; these of
Kansas City are, however, only bluffs.

The city has cut her streets through these bluffs,
leaving them 20 to 50 feet high, to be subsequently
lined with residences and gardens, which, when
completed in its entirety, will make the city pictur-
esque to a degree. This makes the city drainage
perfect, and there is hardly any necessity to flush
the sewers, although it is done. There was con-
siderable newspaper comment recently, during the
long spell of dry weather, about the necessity of
flushing the sewers, and arrangements had been
made by municipal authorities with the fire de-
partment to do the work. A good soaking rain
came, however, after a drought of six weeks, and
there was no need of flushing.


The public square of Kansas City is a relic of
border times, when towns were built as forts around
an open square for the purpose of defense. It is
also copied from the Mexican style of laying off

All that can be done is being done by Kansas
Cityans to make their city a good place to live in.
The days of a struggling new town, where all are

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Online LibraryEmma Abbott GageWestern wanderings and summer saunterings through picturesque Colorado → online text (page 8 of 14)