History-Palooza: the Welch Ditch and the Golden Paper Mill

April 2, 2020

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020. City and County fire restrictions are also in place.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 3PM yesterday, there were 375 (up from 339) “confirmed, probable, suspected, or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 7 deaths (up from 6) and 85 (up from 74) are hospitalized. There are 34 known cases in Golden (up from 33).

In last night’s coronavirus update by the Mayor and the City Manager, they pointed out that on the County’s report, “Golden” includes all households with Golden mailing addresses, not just those within the City limits of Golden. This means that the 34 cases “in Golden” is out of a population of 60K, rather than just the within-City-limits population of 20K.

Virtual Golden

Recordings of Yesterday’s Video Events:
* Watch History Museum Director Nathan Rickie make pretzels
* Coronavirus Community Briefing with Mayor Weinberg and City Manager Jason Slowinski

Today’s Events:
8AM Zumba – online with the community center
9AM Virtual Step Class – online with the community center
12PM Paul Haseman will talk to us about the history of the WELCH DITCH
3PM Foothills at Home: Painting Trees with Janet Nunn

A Golden History Moment

Golden Paper Mill – from the 1893 Golden Globe Industrial Edition – Click to enlarge

Did you know that Golden had a paper mill for 30 years? The April 10, 1867 edition of the Colorado Transcript announced that “A large paper mill will be erected here at once, and will afford employment to a large number of males and females.

The Golden Paper Mill was erected on 9th Street at the same time two other mills were being built–the Rock Flour Mill and a saw mill. All three were powered by a flume of water diverted from Clear Creek. All were in operation by late 1867 or early 1868.

Excerpt from the 1873 Birdseye Map of Golden – Click to enlarge

The editor of the Transcript was delighted to have a paper mill in town. He occasionally chided his fellow newspaper owners when they ran short of paper, rejoicing in the fact that Golden had a paper mill, so he was able to get paper when they could not. On the other hand, the Golden Paper Mill seldom produced suitable stock for newspapers. It generally produced wrapping paper. When necessary, early Transcripts were printed on wrapping paper.

In 1869, the Paper Mill was sold to Mr. E. C. Wells, who upgraded the machinery and increased the capacity of the mill. He upgraded again in 1874, but ran into financial difficulties later that year, and the Mill was put up for auction. The country was in a depression at that time. Apparently he retained or recovered it, because he was the owner again and running for the State Senate in 1878. He must have won the election, because later Transcript articles referred to him as Senator Wells.

In 1878, the Mill was severely damaged in a flood, but rebuilt and expanded and was back in operation by the end of the year. It employed 15 men at that time. The machinery was powered by the diverted Clear Creek water, but they also had a large, coal-powered steam boiler to heat their bleaching vat and dry the paper. The boiler consumed about 2 tons of coal per day. The paper was made chiefly of rags and straw, occasionally of rope, with not a lot of wood content.

Excerpt from an 1882 Birdseye Map of Golden – Click to enlarge

The 1893 Golden Globe Industrial Edition stated that Senator Wells and his business partner were both in poor health and would be glad to find a purchaser. Apparently, none appeared. The country was again in a depression, which may have complicated the prospects for a sale.

In 1896, the Mill was again severely damaged by a flood, but again rebuilt. Later that year, the water in the flume froze, again forcing a shutdown. In the spring of 1898 the Mill was shut down due to low water in Clear Creek (and therefore, in the flume that powered the Mill).

Mr. Wells upgraded his machinery again in the spring of 1900 and afterwards was running two shifts of workers. In November of that year, the mill caught fire and was entirely destroyed. It was valued at $45,000 and only insured for $12,000. It was never rebuilt. The Transcript placed some blame on the superintendent of our water works. The fireplugs were so rusty that the firemen had trouble opening them, and the rust in the lines was so thick they had very low water pressure.

In 1901, an eastern company bought the property, intending to build a “concentrator” (smelter) there. Apparently (fortunately) the plan didn’t go through and the property was for sale again not long after. Mr. Wells died in Golden in 1914. In addition to his 30 years ownership of the Golden Paper Mill, he served two terms in the state legislature, several terms on Golden City Council, and one term on the Board of Trustees for the School of Mines. He is buried in the Golden Cemetery.

Many thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and many thanks to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!

Preview of April’s (Virtual) Events

April 1, 2020

Golden Eye Candy – Pink Morning by Jesse CrockClick to enlarge

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 3PM yesterday, there were 339 (up from 297) “confirmed, probable, suspected, or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 6 deaths (up from 5) and 74 (up from 52) are hospitalized. There are 33 known cases in Golden (up from 27).

The City and County have imposed fire restrictions. This isn’t because conditions are particularly hazardous; it’s to make it less likely that our fire fighters would be called upon to expose themselves to the virus. Learn more….

Preview of April Events

Spring in Parfet Park – Click to enlarge.

As regular readers know, I normally post a preview of events on the first of the month. The Goldentoday calendar has many events listed for the second half of the month, but for now, I won’t include them in this preview. If we’re given the all-clear to leave the house, I’ll list a preview at that time. In the meantime, this is the much smaller set of events that we can count on for the first half of the month.

Recurring Online Events:
Monday – Friday – Live workouts with Community Center Instructors
Saturdays – Golden History Museum Collection Highlight (online)
Sundays – Meet the History Park Residents
Virtual Worship with Various Golden Churches
Mondays – Lecture Mondays with the Golden History Museum
Tuesdays – Golden History with Barb Warden, presented by Golden United

10AM What’s Baking in the Kitchen, hosted by the History Museum’s Nathan Richie
6PM Coronavirus Community Briefing with Mayor Weinberg and City Manager Jason Slowinski
12PM Paul Haseman with discuss the Welch Ditch (hosted by Golden United)
3PM Foothills at Home: Painting Trees with Janet Nunn
10AM Virtual Coffee with Councilors Trout and Brown
School of Mines Museum presents Mystery Mineral Monday
Full Moon
Golden City Council Candidate Forum – Stacey Fowler or Bill Fisher? Presented by Leadership Golden
12PM Frank Blaha will discuss the 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Golden (hosted by Golden United)
3:30-5PM Consultants release first draft of proposed building/zoning standards changes to the review team (online meeting)
4-6PM review team provides comments on the consultants’ suggestions regarding rewrite of our building/zoning standards (online meeting)

Golden Business News

WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY of this week, Miners Saloon, Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse, and Bella Colibri are offering a single-stop location to pick up fresh, cooked meals that you can take home and heat up. Between the three restaurants, they’re offering quite a variety of meal choices. You can also buy wine by the bottle–14 Hands Cabernet or Chardonnay for $13 or any bottle at 50% off. Cocktails-to-go will be available Thursday-Sunday. See the menu.

Pick up at the Old Capitol Grill entrance, 12th and Washington (map). Curbside service is available, or they will deliver within 5 miles of downtown Golden. Please order by 2:30PM for pick up between 4 and 6PM. (You may also order for future days.) To order, text or call 720-289-4859.

A Golden History Moment

I’ve now done two Golden History Talks for the Virtually Golden series sponsored by Golden United. Each talk is 15-20 minutes long, followed by some Q&A. To listen to the talks click these links:

Talk #1 – 1859-1869: The Gold Rush, the Civil War, and Avoiding Extinction

Talk #2 – 1870-1900: The Railroad, the Industrial Revolution, and Acquiring Polish

History in the Making
As this stay-at-home order continues, the streets of Golden have become almost eerily quiet. Golden photographer/videographer Patrick Klein has begun documenting “unpeopled” Golden. These photos will be even more interesting 100 years from now than they are today.

Downtown Golden, 3PM Tuesday – Click to enlarge.

Lions Park Playground – Click to enlarge.

Playground Closed – Click to enlarge.

April 17th, Hoop Skirts, and Meyer Hardware

March 31, 2020
Golden Eye Candy – Morning Ride Through Town – Click to enlarge

Many thanks to our March sponsors. If you find this daily email valuable, please consider sponsoring us for the month of April.

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 4:30PM yesterday, there were 297 (up from 245) “confirmed, probable, suspected, or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 5 deaths and 52 (up from 43) are hospitalized. There are 27 known cases in Golden (up from 21).

One of the frustrating parts about this shut-down is having no idea how long it will last. This is far from definitive, but healthdata.org has released a set of projections of when the epidemic will peak in different parts of the country. It’s based on many factors, including when our stay-at-home order was issued, when the schools were closed, and when non-essential services were closed. The peak date for Colorado is projected to be April 17th.

Source: healthdata.org. See the full projection at their site.

The first page you see will be the national projection. To see Colorado, use the pull-down menu at the top and select “Colorado.”

I am seeing some pretty good coronavirus memes on Facebook. This has been my favorite so far:

I actually own a hoop skirt, and I’m seriously considering wearing it to Safeway.

Golden Business News

Those of us who live here have always known that Meyer Hardware is essential to our happiness and well-being. Now the government has made it official: hardware stores are classified as an “essential business,” and thus are open during the shut-down order.

Do you have a list of tasks you’ve been planning to do when you had the time? If you’re sheltering in place maybe now is the time. Meyer’s can sell you what you need to accomplish your fixing, painting, and organizing tasks. If you want to can some food, they have Mason jars. If you’ve been thinking of starting a garden, they can sell you seeds and gardening tools.

Business Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm,  Sun 10am-3pm

Meyer Hardware  |  1103 Arapahoe  |  303-279-3393  |  Map

Virtual Golden

Yesterday’s Videos
Nathan Richie – How Denver stole the capital away from Golden.

Barb Warden – Golden from 1859-1870.

Today’s Videos
8AM and 9AM The Golden Community Center is offering fitness classes via Zoom.

12PM Today – Golden History with Barb Warden
I will give another talk about Golden History today. This time I’ll begin in 1870, with the arrival of the Colorado Central Railroad. This is your chance to learn about our heavy industry period. Picture Golden filled with smelters, brick factories, and belching smokestacks! Join us at noon, using this link.

Golden History Moment

I’m excited! The Golden History Museum has a very interesting collection of historic photos. Until now, I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at them, because the images available online were so small that I couldn’t see much detail. Last week, they changed a setting in their software, and suddenly all the images are twice as big. When you have some time, check out their online collection. You’ll make some interesting discoveries!